One of the things I love about making this website, is that I get to learn a lot about wine. Moreover, I get the privilege of getting to know some really smart wine experts.
Etty Lewenzstain is one of those experts.
Her business is Plonk Wine Club, where she acts as a virtual “personal wine sommelier” and educator for her members. (See our current review of the Plonk Wine Club here.)
Over the last couple of years, Eric, Tricia and I have come to learn a lot about the wine business — specifically, the business of Wine Clubs. We’ve learned that there are the “big brand guys” (like WSJ and Forbes), and other clubs that have their niche like Gold Medal Wine Club, CA Wine Club, the “Original Wine of the Month Club” and tons of others. But how does a small, service-oriented boutique wine club, like Plonk Wine Club get noticed in this industry? How can Etty Lewensztain get exposed to those of us who want to take a wine tasting adventure with her? It must be difficult!
This wine club reminds me a ton of my local wine store, Simply Wine (in Northville, MI) — it rocks. The owners of Simply Wine, Laura and Maria, are amazing; their staff is awesome; the store is gorgeous, and their wine? Deelish. (Every so often, they hold cool wine tasting events that highlight a particular vineyard, brand or distributor. I love those events!) And, they have a great wine of the month club. At the beginning of every month, I get an email with information about the wines that I can pick up at the store and enjoy that month. They’re always excellent wines, at an excellent value.
But they don’t ship out of state.
Enter: Plonk Wine Club, and Etty Lewensztain.
She is a sommelier, trained chef and has an amazing talent for selecting hard to find, “off the beaten path” wines that she makes available to her club members. It’s like I’ve found my own expert in California who selects the best wines that I always love.
…and she ships out of state! (Check our “which wine clubs ship to my state?” page to see if you can get Plonk Wine Club delivered to you!)
Every month, I walk in to my beloved Simply Wine local wine store to pick up my monthly wine club wines. At that time, I get a brief rundown of the wine selections, the region and some general tasting notes. (Very important to know in the event I decide to pick up extra bottles immediately!)
But Etty from Plonk doesn’t have that luxury. I don’t fly out to her store in California at the beginning of each month to learn about the wines she’s selected for me. I don’t get to see her face to face where she can give me an indication of the flavors I’ll experience with the wines I’m getting from her each month. Instead, she records personal videos, highlighting the flavors of the wines and giving us information about the wines we’re about to receive. It’s really cool (and helpful) to learn about the wines in video format from such a talented, smart (and beautiful) wine expert!
With my local wine store, that’s where things end. I learn a bit about the wine, and leave. Normally, that’s all I really need.
…but not with Plonk. She may provide a “small town / personalized wine selection feeling service”, but she doesn’t stop there.
She’s partnered with the top “Foodie” website (Food52) and Artisan Cheese Website to give cheese and recipe suggestions that pair with the wines selected each month. She’s kind of creating a top-notch ecosystem around her wine selections with these partnerships! (You can print off the recipes, with step-by-step instructions and get a discount when buying the artisan cheeses.)
I’m going to work on a full review of her wine club options soon, but wanted to share my thoughts about them in a less formal setting, here, in this blog post.
I really do love her wine club and think it’s a great option for a wine lover, or any wine enthusiast who wants to really dig in and get exposed to really great “hidden gems” that no other wine club delivers.
In the past, she only offered one club. It was the 4 bottle club. (Most other wine clubs offer 2 bottle clubs and an option for a quarterly case of wine.) 4 bottles each month was (and still is) rather unique.
But, as demand for multiple bottles of her selections grew, she expanded her offering to include an option for a case club. However, unlike other “case clubs” that just send 12 random wines (hoping you’ll like a few of them), Plonk’s case club gives you three bottles of the 4 wines selected within the 4 bottle club. (This way, you get to enjoy a few bottles of her selections. Great for dinner parties where you’ll open a couple bottles at a time and want everyone drinking the same thing.)
And, Plonk has “given in” to the demands of gift givers who want the high quality of Plonk Wine Club, but only have budget to send 2 bottles, instead of 4. Thus, she’s begun offering a 2 bottle club, too.
Plonk’s wine clubs are not cheap. The point is not to find the “cheapest” wines. Instead, she finds the BEST wines that are of GREAT VALUE.
As a result, you’ll spend a little more with her wine clubs than with the big brand, big marketer clubs. (You won’t spend a lot more, just a little more.)
Her wine clubs all come with FREE SHIPPING and are sent at the beginning of each month. If you don’t select the basic monthly delivery (where you pay for your wine shipment each month until cancelled), you can select 3, 6, or 12 months options (pre-paid).
You can also select All Red Wine, All White Wine or a Mix – both Red & White Wine. Many wine clubs don’t offer all White as an option. (That doesn’t matter to me, personally, as I always prefer the All Red Wine selections.)
Pricing is simple.
2 Bottle Club: $49.99 (FREE SHIPPING)
4 Bottle Club (her original club): $89.99 (FREE SHIPPING)
12 Bottle Case Club: $249.99 (FREE SHIPPING)
(NOTE: California residents must add tax.)
Check out Plonk’s Wine Club. I highly recommend Etty Lewensztain’s wine selections, her Food52 recipe pairing ideas and artisan cheese recommendations.
I love the “concierge service” feeling I get with this club and the education she provides. Personally, I wouldn’t consider only getting a 2 bottle club, when she selects 4 amazing bottles per month. But, I won’t judge you if you do.
Latest posts by Todd Farmer (see all)
- Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sulfites (But Were Afraid to Ask) - October 21, 2014
- Don’t Mess with Texas – It’s Texas Wine Month! - September 30, 2014
- Whole Foods Launches National Wine Club (Is It Right For You?) - September 10, 2014