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Is American Cellars Wine Club a Scam?

American Cellars Wine ClubWe’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about American Cellars Wine Club and whether it is a scam. We haven’t personally reviewed their wine club ourselves and have made a decision not to based on our research. Even if we had a positive experience, it would not negate all of the negative reviews that we have found online. What have we found? Keep reading and we will share all of our research with you.

What is American Cellars Wine Club?

American Cellars Wine Club is the flagship wine club of the brand Vinesse. They have participated in a number of rewards and points clubs (like the Delta Frequent Flier program or the American Airlines program), so their name is fairly well-known across many shoppers. They offer both wine clubs as well as sales of wine by the bottle. Their website says that they are “one of the largest and most respected wine clubs in the country.” They are not the same as Cellars Wine Club, which we have reviewed often and positively in the last month.

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What Do Shoppers Say about American Cellars Wine Club?

I’ve been in the online shopping realm for a long time and know the difference between real reviews, spam, and paid placements. As far as the quality of the wine, I found this comment on Chow.com:

I just received 6 bottles via UPS, 3 reds and 3 whites, all 2008. The chard is comparable to 3 buck chuck, the cab has the body of a light burgundy, and the sangiovese is basically grape juice. The other 3 I will be giving to the relatives whose names I can’t quite remember.

As for their business practices, we found 14 complaints on Ripoffreport.com alone. They range from May 2009 to June 2012. Most of them revolve around credit card charges for allegedly unauthorized purchases, cancellations that were not processed,  and irregular shipping fees/schedules.

The Better Business Bureau in Santa Barbara gives them a B+. Their score was lowered because of 41 complaints filed against them, most notably “Advertising/Sales Issues” and “Problems with Product/Service”. The BBB didn’t lower their score considerably given all of those claims, so they must consider it to be an acceptable number of claims based on the volume of sales and the way that American Cellars Wine Club resolved the claims.

Other wine club review sites vary. Some flat out say that they will not recommend American Cellars Wine Club because they have heard so many complaints. Others still give them a positive review, but each of those that we found did include links that would give the reviewers a commission on purchases. (Disclosure: We do use affiliate links on our site but would never positively review a product we felt was bad just to make money. It’s not worth our reputation.)

Should You Buy From American Cellars Wine Club?

If you are ordering the club just to get the travel points or whatever rewards are being offered, set your quality expectations accordingly. Also be sure to read all of the fine print on the offer and watch your credit card carefully.

What if you are ordering it because you are truly looking for a great wine club?

Given the amount of negative feedback about American Cellars Wine Club online and the availability of other wine clubs that have virtually all positive reviews, we do not recommend American Cellars Wine Club at this time.

We suggest you consider Cellars Wine Club instead of American Cellars Wine Club.

If you are interested in a wine club for yourself or a as a gift, we invite you to take a look at our Top Red Wine Clubs, Top White Wine Clubs, and Top Mixed Wine Clubs. Most of our reviews include information such as shipping costs, how easy it was to cancel, the quality of the wine, and how the club compares to other clubs.

Have you had any experience with American Cellars Wine Club?

Although Tricia enjoys both red and white wine, she doesn't like anything too heavy or too sweet. Far from a wine snob, she's willing to try just about anything once (including wine in a bag, box, or can). One of her favorite days of them month is wine club delivery day and she is always looking for cute wine accessories.

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4 Comments
  1. I signed up upon getting an email from Vinesse promoting that they were working with American Airlines and would give me 2000 miles after the first month and 3000 miles after the second month.

    The first shipment arrived as promised and I did receive the 2000 miles for the first month. However, they double charged my credit card. When I called them to report this, they said I must have hit submit twice by accident when I signed up for the club. Maybe, but the only problem with this theory is that they only sent me one shipment of wine, not 2 shipments like they say I accidentally signed up for.

    It seemed like they just double charged me hoping I wasn’t checking my credit card statement and hoping I wouldn’t notice.

    They did refund the money for the double charge. Then I received the second month’s shipment. The shipping charge was very high so I decided to cancel my membership since it wasn’t worth paying $130 a month for 6 bottles of mediocre wine.

    They never gave me the 3000 bonus miles for the second month’s shipment of wine even though I received and paid for the wine. I have called several times and even though the representatives were polite and said they would look into it, they refused to give me the 3000 miles as promised for the second month.

    Finally, AA decided to reimburse me the miles from their end since they felt bad that a company they were affiliated with had cheated me.

    Do not order anything from this company as they will try to scam you, not reward you as promised, and send you overpriced and mediocre wine.

  2. I have had a great experience with American Cellars Wine Club. They have done what they said they were going to do. I have had 5 shipments of wine and enjoyed all but one bottle of wine.

  3. Hello, I recently move to Brasil and I would like to continuo purchasing my wine from you guys, what’s the possibilities of delivering here in Brazil?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Roger,

      We actually are not the wine club itself. We just review the clubs. You will need to contact them directly for subscription information.

      Tricia

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