Cellar Club 101: Join Up for Wine Discounts & Exclusive Experiences

Oregon's wine clubs
by Brooke Preston on Apr 12, 2012 in Wine
Cellar Club 101: Join Up for Wine Discounts & Exclusive Experiences

When it comes to wineries and vineyards, Western Oregon has an embarrassment of riches — around 200 within roughly an hour or less of Portland. Not only does our state produce some of the nation’s best Pinot Noir (and a number of other varietals), it also offers convenience and come-as-you-are approach that others can't match.

The region’s refreshingly unpretentious approach can be observed in any one of the dozens of open-to-the-public tasting and retail rooms, which feature sweeping views and even opportunities to chat up the winemakers themselves. For many locals, enough exploration will yield a few favorites.

Cellar clubs offer insider discounts, access and educational opportunities to members. An increasing number of young Portlanders are learning that the majority of these seemingly exclusive clubs actually offer an affordable and very accessible deep dive into the world of wine.

Among them are Portland residents Matt and Jen Herzer (both 36), who recently joined the cellar club of Willamette Valley Vineyards as they have evolved from dabblers to connoisseurs. Said Jen, “Our decision to join was really threefold. We love wine and wanted to try various varieties that you couldn't buy at the grocery store. We loved the fact that it was really affordable. We always get a red and a white. We love the free or reduced price events at the vineyard itself. We can even bring friends to the events and they get our rate!”  

Cellar club offerings vary by label, but nearly all are free to join; the only cost is the wine and shipping, usually offered to members at a substantial discount from retail pricing. Wine club selections are often signature, early or exclusive releases, and are usually accompanied by detailed tasting notes. Members also often enjoy perks like free events, free year-round tastings in the tasting room (many even extend this courtesy to guests of members), winemaker’s dinners, and/or other special considerations.

At Sokol Blosser in Dayton, Oregon, for instance, Cellar Club members receive shipments in April and October. A newsletter with tasting notes, recipes and insights from the winemaker is included. Waived tasting fees (for members and a limited number of their guests), invitations to exclusive events (including the annual Cellar Club Harvest Party--a regional favorite) and complimentary Winery tours are among the additional perks.

As if that were not enough, members enjoy a 20% discount on all discountable wine purchases, a 10% discount on all discountable apparel, gourmet food items & gifts, and the opportunity to purchase pre-releases, limited production wines and rare library selections. Given this, many find that the membership more than pays for itself in the long run.

We want to hear from you! Are you a member of any Oregon cellar clubs? Would you recommend them to friends? Why or why not? Leave us a comment here or on Facebook, or tweet at us with your ideas.

Here are a few recommended options well within a half-tank of Portland to get you started:

WillaKenzie

Sokol Blosser

Daedalus

Willamette Valley Vineyards

Ponzi

Duck Pond Cellars

Argyle

David Hill

Top photo via Ponzi; bottom photos via WillaKenzi


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