Friday, March 23, 2007

What's in Your WineQ?

I read about WineQ some time ago, the new wine club based on the Netflix model, and cruised by their site but it was early days and though the concept was intriguing, I filed it away like Scarlett O'Hara to think about on another day. Recently, though, a bunch of us have jumped on board, including Winehiker who generated quite the blog-buzz last week with his post about joining up. So I wanted to add my kudos to Joshua Zader and Marshall Sontag, the brains behind the operation, and report that my wine arrived just when they said it would, complete in snazzy box with WineQ sticker, and in perfect condition.

What made me take the plunge? Well, when I saw that Twisted Oak and Escafeld (two wineries I feel I know because I follow their blogs) had joined the ranks of WineQ, that was all this blogger needed to sign up. And I'm really glad I did. Now that I've signed up and have received my first shipment, I'm happy to report that not only does the club represent excellent QPR, it also provides great customer service (and no, they didn't know I was a blogger when I started emailing questions). Joshua himself wrote back in approximately 1o minutes with the answers about how and if I could pause shipments during the hot summers.

WineQ has a small stable of wonderful artisanal wineries from California right now, but the list is growing each month and they are very open to suggestions of who they should approach about joining. They even have a blog to keep you up to date on the latest news, complete with profiles of new wineries as they are added. Wineries you can already put in your Q, in addition to Escafeld and Twisted Oak, include Ceja, Smith-Wooton, Lava Cap, Sapid, Deerfield Ranch, and Rust Ridge. When I was at the Family Winemakers tasting this week, I made a point to taste some of these wines and I can report that every one I tasted was a winner, and represented good value. Not sure about wines you've never heard of? There are customer reviews for most wines, and more are entered every week as new members like me pop their corks and take a few sips.

If you've ever been in a wine club where you've received wines you don't want when you don't want them--sound familiar?--this is the one wine club out there where you get exactly what you want, when you want it. Want nothing but whites? Don't put anything in your queue that's red! Want boutique cabs and pinots? They have them. Only want wines under $20? That's easy, too. Don't want wine next month because you'll be in the Bahamas? Just pause your shipments. Need 3 bottles one month and one the next? Okay. The site is intuitive and easy to use, allowing you to find wines that you like and drag and drop them into an ordered list for regular shipments at intervals you define. Or, you can turn this feature off and have complete control over when wine gets sent to you. And it's dead easy to make changes.

Even more than including great wines, WineQ represents excellent QPR. Why? Because for $4.95 a month in membership fees, you get unlimited free ground shipping for any order that totals more than $35. You won't find yourself in the unenviable position of Wannabe Wino when you do the math and realize that you've spent $1300 in wine shipping over the past year. Free ground shipping for $4.95 a month works great for California, but if you live farther away from these wineries, you should know that members get deep discounts on 2/3-day shipping (just $5 per shipment) and overnight shipping (just $10 per shipment).

My first shipment contained 3 lovely bottles of Escafeld Vineyards wine, and will be followed up next month by three lovely bottles of Twisted Oak wine. I figured Friday was a perfect time to post my reactions to WineQ, since over the weekend you might have the time to sit down and browse through their site. And if you're a member, feel free to let us know what's in your Q.


Anonymous said...

Yours is a better write-up than mine, Doc! Marsh and Josh are gonna love you. As for me, I look forward to your reviews of those Escafelds. (And I look forward to receiving mine next Monday.)

winedeb said...

Hi Dr. Deb's - I am winedeb in Key West. I just started blogging about wine and gardening (more about wine actually) a few weeks ago. I am sorta doing the same thing as I like to taste and talk about cheap wines. I have been enjoying your site and looking for other wine bloggers to fill up my reading portion of the day. As the temps in Key West are usually "warm" I do alot of white wine because it can be chilled and enjoyed. I am going to put you in my favorite links. Please visit my site and any comments would be greatly appreicated, as I am a newbie to blogging, but definately not new to wine. I was in one wine club down here, but with the weather so hot, the wine was too hot when it arrived here. So I stick to wine shops and load up when I make it to the mainland. Please visit me at debskeywestwineandgardening

Sonadora said...

I'm still reeling from the shock of the cost of my shipping! Ack! I will joining up with WineQ when we get back from CA. It definitely looks like a good set-up to me.

Dr. Debs said...

Hi everybody! First, thanks to Josh for proving how honest my coverage was by coming by and clarifying some of the points I made. I read the fine print and it looks like even when membership and shipping goes up it is still a steal of a deal. Welcome, Winedeb--always good to have more of us blogging, and I stopped by your site. It's great, and has lots of my favorite wines, so I'll definitely be swinging back there. Sonadora, could it be WineQ will help you resolve the dual pressures of new home and love of wine?? And Winehiker, my post has far less joie de vivre (your department) and far more bottom line thinking (my department)! But you are terribly kind to say so, and maybe we should schedule an Escafeld tasting day?

Anonymous said...

Hi Dr. Debs--what a beautiful photo! I'm so thrilled that you included Escafeld in your first WineQ order! These wines are on the MCVGA tour at the moment, so if any of your readers in the Sacramento area want to taste, they can do so on Thursday, March 29th from 6:00pm – 9:00pm at the Hyatt Regency. As for me I've been hit with the flu, so I may be offline for a few more days--back on track soon though!

Dr. Debs said...

Welcome, Elsbeth. Forget the picture--what beautiful wine :). Thanks for the heads up about the tasting in Sacramento. If I were still in that area I'd be sure to attend. But a private tasting of your wines next week will have to do me instead.