Do you bother with wine? It’s hard enough choosing a mid-week dinner without having to navigate the maze of the wine shelves. Most people just grab whatever happens to be conveniently to hand in the special offer section, and that’s if they bother with wine at all. Given that supermarkets often discount the most profitable bottles, rather than the most interesting or best value, it’s not necessarily a smart way of getting your wine fix. And who’s got the time to trek to Oddbins after a hard day’s work?
The Grape Club don’t just deliver wine to your door. They expertly hand-pick each bottle, saddle it with a sleeve describing how they chose it, and elaborating on the tasting notes. Four wines are dispatched to you each month for £45, including delivery. Formed by first cousins Ant and Louisa Symington, The Grape Club aims to improve the wine you drink while reducing the hassle of getting your hands on it. Complete with a comprehensive and active online blog, it’s as immersive a wine experience as you’re likely to find.
Wine isn’t just about the taste (or the alcohol, although that is a benefit). There’s a mystique to wine, a layer of storytelling which adds depth and intrigue to the dinner table. With so many varieties of grape that can be blended and changed in a huge number of ways, meandering your way through the geography of wine is a fascinating process for understanding different cultures.
The Grape Club’s tasting notes are great for illuminating some of the obscurer aspects of oenology. As well as all the key details, there’s a description of the wine’s particular story and heritage, followed by an explanation of what this means and what food partners it best. It’s a social thing – detect flavours together, pick favourites, and of course get a bit merry together.
It’s a great idea, and I’m surprised it hasn’t been attempted successfully before. The Grape Club send you a different selection of wines each month, so as time goes by, you can discover a world of variety as well as what you like best. There’s no chance of getting the same wines twice. And if a particular bottle does take your fancy, you can order it bespoke from the Club’s website.
My selection was well-balanced, intelligently selected and nicely presented. The pick of the bunch, a South African blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, had my almost-teetotal family swooning with pleasure – no mean feat, given that my Dad considers Coke Zero to be the ultimate accompaniment to any meal and my Mum swears by Schloer.
If you’re curious about wine, and have some spare cash with which to indulge your curiosity, The Grape Club provides an excellent service which will develop your love and hone your knowledge of vino.
For more information and to subscribe to the service, visit The Grape Club.