A round up of some of the best wine subscriptions services in Kent, Surrey and Sussex
With bars, pubs and restaurants out of bounds for the foreseeable future, wine clubs have been seeing an influx in new members eager to get a selection of reds, whites, rosés and sparklings delivered direct to their door.
From a personal perspective, wine clubs were a great tool while I was studying my WSET courses as they introduced me to wines I wouldn’t normally buy at the supermarket. Among those I’ve signed up to in the past, enabling me to try all sorts of wines from around the world, often at discounted prices, are Virgin Wines, Laithwaites, Naked Wines and The Wine Society.
However, did you know that many of the vineyards right here in The Southern Quarter also run their own wine clubs? With food and drink businesses having to navigate a whole raft of changes in the industry recently, a number of independent wine stores and bars have also begun offering delivery services and benefits for wine members. Here are some that stand out.
Hush Heath Wine Club, Kent
This annual membership scheme has been going for some time and has a strong following. As a member of Hush Heath Wine Club you’ll benefit from exclusive offers, limited-edition wines, from the vineyard near Tonbridge in Kent. You’ll also get access to exclusive members-only tours of the estate to help you get better acquainted with where the wines come from and how they are produced, as well an invite to the annual grape harvest day each September. That’s on top of a 15% discount on all Hush Heath Estate products, hotels and pubs. Cost: £90 per year.
There’s no joining fee to become a member of Squerryes Wine Club, the only stipulation is that you commit to buy 12 bottles from the Westerham vineyard within a 12-month period. In return you’ll get a 15% discount on Squerreyes wines, as well as the opportunity to host private events and functions at Squerryes Court and invitations to exclusive event throughout the year including the annual garden party in summer and spectacular Vendage in October. You’ll also get first access to new releases and discounted tickets on events and experiences at the vineyard.
Albury Organic Vineyard, Surrey
Wine Club member events at this family-run biodynamic vineyard located in the heart of the Surrey Hills have been going for some time and are so warm and inviting to new members that you’ll soon feel part of the family!. Annual membership is £99.95 and includes a bottle of still and a bottle of sparkling wine, discounts on further wine purchases, the opportunity to join in harvest and the harvest wrap party, invites to other member events including a blending tasting and a family day, as well as discounts on produce at other local businesses including the Silent Pool Gin distillery next door. What’s the catch? Well, membership is limited to 100 people and is launched each April with existing members having priority to renew. However, there is also a Premier Cru membership, for £435 which includes the lease of 20 vines and a host of other enhanced benefits.
Here’s another FOC wine club but you do have to agree to sign up to a wine delivery service of two, four or six bottles of wine per month. You can skip a month or take a shipment holiday, as long as you’ve had delivery of at least 12 bottles within a 12-month period. Benefits include 10% discount on all wines, tour tickets and events, free entry to exclusive wine club member events, a virtual tasting once a month and a free corkscrew and bottle stopper! Prices start from £40 per month.
Oxney Organic, Sussex
Another one for lovers of Organic wine. Benefits of the Oxney Wine Club include 12 bottles of their top organic sparkling wines (three per quarter), 20% off wine purchases in the cellar door shop, free delivery on a case of 12 or more bottles, access to try and reserve limited release wines in the tasting room, 20% off hire of the tasting room and an open invitation to visit the vineyard and chat with the winemaker. The price depends on how you get your quarterly wines – £335 for wines to be delivered to you and £302 if you collect yourself from the vineyard.
Bolney Wine Estate, Sussex
There are two subscription options in the Grapevine Club, each give you a quarterly delivery; there’s the Treat Box at £19 per month (£228 per annum) which gives you a bottle of still and a bottle of sparkling wine four times a year, plus other sweet, savoury and alcoholic treats. Then there’s the Wine Box membership at £27 per month (£324 per annum), which includes two bottles of still and two bottles of sparkling per delivery, plus a wine accessory. Both options also give free delivery on internet orders, 10% off wine and other products, wine on your birthday and other unspecified “member promotions and offers”.