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Mebutter

On-line wine buying clubs/services

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I'm Bill Daley, food and wine writer for the Chicago Tribune. I go be "Mebutter" on eGullet - not because I love butter so much but I am married to a Mary Elizabeth Butterworth and that was our first logon.

Anyway, I'm working on a story called 'palate for hire' and I'm wondering what kind of experience you've had with wine-buying clubs and services. Did they work? Did they disappoint? What questions should people ask before joining? What do you look for to ensure a good match between your personal taste and the wine procurer's? Any spectacular find? Any disasters?

Please let me know. I can be reached via eGullet, of course, or via the Chicago Tribune at 312-222-3141. My e-mail is wdaley@tribune.com and I check it frequently.

While I'd like to hear from anyone anywhere, I'm particularly interested in Chicagoans or people who live nearby in the suburbs.

All the best,

Bill Daley

Chicago Tribune


Bill Daley

Chicago Tribune

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I'm Bill Daley, food and wine writer for the Chicago Tribune. I go be "Mebutter" on eGullet - not because I love butter so much but I am married to a Mary Elizabeth Butterworth and that was our first logon.

Anyway, I'm working on a story called 'palate for hire' and I'm wondering what kind of experience you've had with wine-buying clubs and services. Did they work? Did they disappoint? What questions should people ask before joining? What do you look for to ensure a good match between your personal taste and the wine procurer's? Any spectacular find? Any disasters?

Please let me know. I can be reached via eGullet, of course, or via the Chicago Tribune at 312-222-3141. My e-mail is wdaley@tribune.com and I check it frequently.

While I'd like to hear from anyone anywhere, I'm particularly interested in Chicagoans or people who live nearby in the suburbs.

All the best,

Bill Daley

Chicago Tribune

Hi Bill,

I'm from the Boston area, not Chicago, but I did use one of the national wine clubs, the California Wine Club. I was a member for several years, and really enjoyed it. For a while, when times were very good, I had monthly deliveries of both the regular wine and their premier or special collection wines. The regular wines came 2 per month, and I think the other did as well. The regular wines were from mostly small California vineyards and would retail for under $20, usually in the $8-12 range. The special collection were a bit more expensive, anywhere from $30 to $100. I found their service excellent, and the selection very good, and each shipment also included a newsletter with background information on the wines and usually a recipe.

If you like California wines, it could be a good option for many.

Hope this helps.

Pam

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I'm a member of the Bonny Doon Vineyard wine club with the tongue-in-cheek name 'DEWN' or Distinctive Esoteric Wine Network (Bonny Doon wineclub info here). I joined when living in Milwaukee (no cracks about how Milwaukee is a suburb of Chicago, please) and have continued as a member since moving to Boston.

I have always liked Bonny Doon's wine and the spirit of their founder, Randall Graham. The club selects either two or three wines per shipment and they include a nice write-up of about each wine. The wines tend to be limited production or limited availability wines from various grape varietals.

The thing I like about this club is that, in general, it is wine that I would not be able to find at my local store. (The wines tend to be available at their website in the event that you want more bottles of one that you like.) The prices seem to always be at or slightly below $20 per bottle. Service, thus far, has been excellent.

One last thing, that I almost hate to admit. The bottle labels are fantastic. Beautiful artwork on the front and very simple description of name, grape varietals, and year on the back. My favorite labels are from Gary Taxali.

If you want more detailed information, feel free to PM me.


Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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