The Sunday Times Wine Club won the UK Customer Satisfaction Award 2020 from the Institute of Customer Service. Additionally, the wine club won the 2021 International Wine Challenge as the best wine online retailer of the year. Apart from the awards, the Sunday Times Wine Club has received numerous positive reviews from its customers and employees.
The wine club is managed by Direct Wines Limited, an international independent wine merchant that operates other wine clubs for Natwest and British Airways. Direct Wines has specialized in delivering wine directly from the producers to the consumers, a business model that has trickled down to the Sunday Times Wine Club to provide wine enthusiasts with a world-class wine experience.
With over 50 years of experience in the wine industry, you can expect nothing short of excellence from this club. As compared to its competitors, the Sunday Times Wine Club is miles ahead when it comes to its delivery time and the wine collection.
In this article, we are going to look into the club’s memberships, club plans, and the wide variety in its wine collection arsenal. Moreover, we will help you know who the club is meant for and who should not join it depending on your budget, wine knowledge, preferences, needs, and degree of personalization.
What is Sunday Times Wine Club?
With an excellent five-star rating from Trustpilot and numerous awards in wines and customer service, the Sunday Times Wine Club has grown into a trustworthy multi-million-dollar wine merchant company. All of this is attributed to years of work since the 1960s when its traditions were started by Tony Laithwaite.
The Sunday Times Wine Club started dealing with vineyards from all over the world in 1969. Tony Laithwaite enjoyed the wine so much that he started sharing his experiences with his friends and family. He started his ventures in France to discover different wine varieties from all over the globe.
He valued close friendships with the wine producers to the extent of only doing businesses face to face. The face-to-face interactions strengthened the relationships by handshakes. This practice has enabled the Sunday Times Wine Club to provide its customers with the finest wines at the keenest prices. It has also helped them find producers and growers who have a genuine passion for wine which has led to many new exciting discoveries.
The club is always innovating by sending New World winemakers to Europe to find new wine trends and create new ideas. Moreover, they play a huge role in encouraging and supporting upcoming winemakers to help them make great wines for their customers. Sunday Times also makes its wines which you will find in their amazing club plans.
Sunday Times Wine Club Review
Sunday Times Wine Club’s Wine Collections and Regions of Production
50 + years of experience in the wine industry has created a huge portfolio for the wine club. They get their wines from all parts of the globe with their most popular countries being Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, and Spain just to mention a few.
These regions have different wine varieties that help in shaping their collections. Differences include the production processes and storage periods, and not to mention the types of grapes. Some of Sunday Times Wine club’s popular grapes include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Shiraz.
Other unpopular grapes include Syrah, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Gamay, Chenin Blanc, Syrah-based blend, Garnacha, Nebbiolo, Marsanne, Glera, Grenache, and Verdejo.
Their wine types are not limited to red, white, sparkling, and rosé wine. The club’s collection also stocks spirits and liqueurs, beer, fortified wine, and dessert wine. The club’s membership plans focus is shipping cases rather than single bottles.
With this in mind, they have a couple of mixed cases that can help you choose a good combo for your enjoyment. The mixed cases are mixed red, mixed white, red and white mixed, mixed sparkling, and mixed rosé cases.
What are Some of the Membership Benefits?
The major membership benefit is the 100% money-back guarantee. Having peace of mind that you won’t lose your money because of bad delivery or bad bottle is calming to any wine enthusiasts. Moreover, if you just do not want the case that has been delivered to you, then you can call the company and they will arrange for it to be picked up at your earliest convenience.
You also get digital tasting cards that will be sent to your email before your shipment arrives. These cards can also be found on the company’s website. The cards help you know more about the wines you will be drinking and include tasting notes to help you enjoy the experience more. You will also be advised on the contents of the next case so that you can choose to change your wine plan.
Additionally, you can choose a specific day to receive your next case. This is a great perk that isn’t offered by other competitors who have unchangeable scheduled days for their deliveries. To set your preferred date of delivery, all you need is to do is contact them, set the date, pay a small fee and you are set. You can opt-out of paying the extra charge by subscribing to the Unlimited plan or Wine Rewards.
Sunday Times Wine Club Plans
The club has an extensive library of wine plans that fit different wine tasters, Confreres, and vineyard partners. The extensive list below is one of the advantages that Sunday Times club has over other wine clubs like Eater Wine Club.
|Club Plans||Frequency||Prices per case|
|The Seasons’ Favorites||4 weeks||12 bottles for £107.88 / 6 bottles for £53.94|
|The Big Red Experience||8 weeks||£107.88|
|A Taste of Australia||8 weeks||£119.88|
|A Taste of Spain||8 weeks||£99.99|
|A Taste of Italy||8 weeks||£107.88|
|Sauvignon Blanc and Friends||8 weeks||£107.88|
|Merlot and Friends||8 weeks||£99.99|
|Pinot Grigio and Friends||8 weeks||£99.99|
|Shiraz and Friends||8 weeks||£107.88|
|Heroes Collection||12 weeks||Variable|
20% off normal bottle prices in the case
|Cellar Door Club||12 weeks||Variable|
20% off normal bottle prices in the case
|New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc||12 weeks||£129.99|
|Wine of the Season||12 weeks||Variable|
Minimum 10% off normal bottle prices in the case
|Le Chai Mixed||12 weeks||12 bottles for £134.99 / 6 bottles for £67.49|
|Le Chai Reds||12 weeks||12 bottles for £139.99 / 6 bottles for £69.99|
|Le Chai Whites||12 weeks||12 bottles for £129.99 / 6 bottles for £64.99|
|The Claret Collection||12 weeks||12 bottles for £149.99 / 6 bottles for £74.99|
|The Rioja Collection||12 weeks||12 bottles for £139.99 / 6 bottles for £69.99|
|The Classics Collection||12 weeks||£169.99|
|Discover Better||12 weeks||£139.99|
|The Hugh Johnson Collection||12 weeks||6 bottles £170 – variable|
|Annual and Biannual Release Memberships – Confrères and Vineyard Partners|
|Un Vent de Folie 100+||On vintage release||12 bottles for £156 / 6 bottles for £78|
|La Clariere (in wood)||On vintage release||12 bottles for £192 / 6 bottles for £96|
|La Clariere White (in wood)||On vintage release||12 bottles for £155.88 / 6 bottles for £77.94|
|Selvarossa||On vintage release||12 bottles for £180 / 6 bottles for £90|
|Colombe||On vintage release||12 bottles for £119.88 / 6 bottles for £59.94|
|Altos Pigeage (in wood)||On vintage release||12 bottles for £192 / 6 bottles for £96|
|Il Corto (in wood)||On vintage release||12 bottles for £192 / 6 bottles for £96|
|RedHeads Barossa Valley Shiraz||On vintage release||12 bottles for £180 / 6 bottles for £90|
|The Black Stump Premium Durif||On vintage release||12 bottles for £155.88 / 6 bottles for £77.94|
|Montjustin||On vintage release||12 bottles for £155.88 / 6 bottles for £77.94|
|Vierge Jurancon||On vintage release||12 bottles for £143.88 / 6 bottles for £71.94|
|Windsor Great Park||On vintage release||6 bottles for £174|
|Cabalie Origine||Twice per year – April and October||12 bottles for £143.88 / 6 bottles for £71.94|
|Savage Hommage||On vintage release||12 bottles for £215.88 / 6 bottles for £107.94|
|HJ Fabre GGG||On vintage release||12 bottles for £215.88 / 6 bottles for £107.94|
|Hunter’s Home Block||On vintage release||12 bottles for £179.88 / 6 bottles for £89.94|
|Lobo e Falcao Centenario||On vintage release||12 bottles for £143.88 / 6 bottles for £71.94|
|Vineyard Partners Sampler (3 bottles)||Twice per year – April and November||£45- £50 – variable Minimum 30% off normal bottle price|
|Whisky Circle (1 bottle)||12 weeks||£55-£86 – variable|
Minimum 10% off normal bottle price
|The Gin Club (2 bottles)||12 weeks||£65 – variable|
Minimum 10% off normal bottle price
You can gift your family and friends with a wine gift that can cost as little as £27.99 (Welcome Mixed Trio). The gift plans are professionally curated to provide an experience and not just a gift. They entail impressive wine products that are beautifully packaged and shipped promptly to the recipient’s address.
You have the option of gifting by the type of wine, by occasion (birthday, wedding, promotion, etc.), or by the case size. There are also gift sets that are put together by the company’s gifting experts. You will also find gift vouchers that can be a treat for your loved ones.
Sunday Times Wine Club’s popular gift options are:
- Wooden wine rack and New Zealand white gift – £20.00
- Portmeirion Swarovski Auris Carafe – £30.00
- Warner’s Gin Rainbow Gift set – £30.00
- With Love Chocolates and Wine Gift – £45.00
- World’s Best Dad Chocolates and Red Wine – £45.00
- Afternoon Tea with Prosecco – £39.99
- With love hamper with a duo of wines – £91.99
How to Cancel Membership?
As mentioned earlier, canceling is the only way you can stop receiving recurrent shipments since you cannot freeze or pause the membership. According to their FAQ page, cancellations can only be made by phone – 03330 148 149.
Make sure to cancel your club plan at least 9 days before the next scheduled delivery date. There is an option to do this from your Plan page on your online Wine Club account. However, it is recommended to do it by phone since there have been cases where online cancellations did not go through. This has led to a few complaints from customers who still got charged for plans they had already canceled online.
Is It Right For You?
Sunday Times Wine Club Real Customer Reviews
The reviews from verified customers have more praises for the wine club than disappointments. The delivery time is said to be impeccable and the wine curation is more than excellent for the average wine enthusiast.
However, there are a few dissatisfactions from the customers which largely entail the cost of the membership. It should be noted that as much as the price was unfavorable to others, a lot of customers think Sunday Times Wine Club’s plans are of terrific value for your money.
Here is what some users had to say:
“Great selection of quality reds, and a special 15-year-old bottle with four lovely Dartington Wine Glasses well packaged and delivered in just two days to my door. I thoroughly recommend the Sunday Times Wine Club.”
“Excellent service always good quality wines. Pedro who is my wine advisor is exceptional with his knowledge of wine and is enjoyable to talk to about various wines etc.”
“Delivered the day after I ordered and the delivery guy climbed over all the hedge trimmings as we were mid-way through cutting the hedge to put the box in the porch.”
“Very prompt and efficient. Hadn’t expected to receive my order quite so quickly.”
“Some interesting wines and offers. You do have to be careful and pick and choose your way through. Deliveries are always swift. It’s easy to use but not the greatest value. Get what you pay for I guess…”
Who Should Join the Club?
Sunday Times Wine Club has so much to offer to its customers starting from its huge wine collection to amazing innovations and experiences. You will not get a lot of discounts with this club but you are ensured that you will get your money’s worth.
When you visit the site for the first time and sign up for their special welcome offer, you will get to save over £100. This is more than half the price of some of their plans. The welcome offer also includes four Darlington Crystal glasses and quick delivery of fewer than three days directly to your door. To put this into perspective, you will get your first purchase at just £5.42 per bottle.
In addition, the welcome discount comes with an extra gift which is a free bottle of Ca’Bolani Prosecco Frizzante Edizione Limitata. It should be noted that only one welcome discount is allowed per one household. This means that you cannot receive the introductory offer several times if your delivery address is the same or related to a prior purchase. The club has the right to reject such orders.
The entry offer will put you in a group of 23,000 plus customers who enjoy guaranteed and risk-free deliveries every other 12 weeks. The huge clientele is a positive sign for anyone who is looking for a reliable wine club with a proven track record and following.
The wine collection is tasted by wine experts and sommeliers every year with over 40,000 wines being tasted per annum. The tasting is thorough and well done since only 800 wines are cut to give you the crème de la crème taste and experience.
You will also get free delivery when you purchase 24+ bottles. Otherwise, you will pay a small fee for the 100% money-back guarantee delivery which began back in 1973. The money-back-guarantee has become so famous that it won the company multiple awards for providing one of the best customer services in the market.
The cost of the membership will depend on which plan you choose to go with. For example, the Season’s Favorites plan currently retails at £107.88 exclusive of the delivery fee which is £7.99. Typical prices will vary from as low as £80 to a whooping £180 per case.
Who Should Not Join?
There are a lot of other alternatives to the Sunday Times Wine Club which we will talk about later on in this article. The alternatives provide cheaper membership plans that are favorable to the average wine enthusiast who wants to save a buck on their wine interests.
The cheapest plan that Sunday Times Wine club offers goes for £80 but it comes in a case of 12. You can get a single bottle for as low as £6 in other wine clubs without the need for a discount. You will save a buck or two but you will also miss out on the care package.
The wine club is specialized in providing cases instead of single bottles or a plan of two or three bottles like most wine clubs. From a glance, the Sunday Times caters to exclusive clients who want stocks for a long period, i.e., 12 weeks instead of monthly shipments. However, you have the option of changing the shipment plan to four or eight weeks depending on your preference.
You will also miss out on specialized and personalized curations which make sure you get the wines that fit your taste. Other clubs have the option of letting you change your wine collection by sharing your input so that experts can curate the perfect collection for you.
Sunday Times, despite its many plans, does not offer personalization. Instead, you are given the option of changing your preferences in your online account on their website. Your preferences will show what you want in your future cases and what you do not. This is great but will limit the variety of new wines you could be testing from the personalization and curation of experts who introduce you to new tastes.
Another downside to the Sunday Times club that will make you not join is the fact that you cannot freeze or pause the wine plan. The club only gives you the option of delaying, changing, or canceling the plan.
There are a lot of alternatives to the Sunday Times Wine Club but very few of them have a huge collection like them. Your pick will depend on your budget and degree of personalization.
Naked Wines is another wine enthusiasts’ favorite club that offers cheap plans for as low as £20 per month. Nevertheless, they have frequent freebies from time to time that isn’t limited to first-time offers alone. Another cheap option is Winc Monthly wine Club that starts at just $39 per month for three bottles of wine.
Eater Wine club is also affordable but stands out due to their expert sommeliers who curate the best of the best wines for their subscribers. Eater provides a unique experience where you get to be surprised at new wines each month.
The Sunday Times Wine Club is nothing short of amazing due to its wide wine collection. They have extensive gift options for every occasion and their alcohol library is not limited to wine alone. You can get beer and whiskey at the same convenience and packages as the wine. All in all, 50+ years in the wine industry has given this wine club an edge over its competitors, a feat that is hard to rival.