Wine clubs are trying to ditch their serious reputation.
A bevy of new wine clubs aim to make participation more entertaining than just receiving a few bottles in the mail—using personality quizzes, interactive videos and sports-tournament-like brackets to tease out preferences and teach members about wine in the process. But with the wrong picks, they can still be a budget drain.
"Most wine clubs are based on a model that launched in the '80s. They all send everyone the same wine … red or white isn't enough of a choice," said Jay Sung, CEO of Lot18, which in May introduced the wine club Tasting Room.
Tasting Room uses a $10 starter kit of six mini bottles—four red and two white—to determine members' taste profile and decide which wines to send in the first $85 kit. Rating those wines refines the selection for future shipments, which cost $149 plus shipping, he said.