Back in the summer, the Wall Street Journal launched a wine club. the New York Times followed suit. And then so did USA Today and the Zagat Guides. Meanwhile Grant Achatz's Alinea launched an uber fancy esoteric club of its own, sending champange bottles and cork presenters as a welcome gift to members. And now the first NYC restaurant has jumped on the bandwagon. Meet the Le Bernardin Wine Club, or more accurately the "Avec Eric Perfect Pairings Wine Club" (see, it's a tie-in with the show!). Each month, members get 2 bottles, hand selected by LB's sommelier, that go along with recipes from the show. For those who actually want to get into this wine market, a quick primer on the new landscape:
Wine Club: Avec Eric Perfect Pairings Wine Club
The Sell: Each month, Eric and sommelier Aldo Sohm choose two bottles of wine for their members, which complement special recipes from the chef that are inspired by his new PBS series, Avec Eric. Members also gain access to monthly online videos of Eric and Aldo explaining each perfect pairing.
The Price: Ongoing membership costs $59 a month, and gift memberships are available at the following price points: 3 month: $219, 6 month: $429, 12 month: $849
Wine Club: Alinea: Oenophila
The Sell: Grant Achatz and his team choose true "insider" wines. The program is "designed to provide a window into the unique culinary journey" that the Alinea experience represents.
The Price: 24 bottles a year (6 every quarter) for $1,400. Or 40 (fancier) bottles a year for $3,400.
Wine Club: WSJ Wine
The Sell: The WSJ experts pick out a 12 bottle case to send out every three months. They claim to have access to small producers but their big sell is just that wine is delivered to your door.
The Price: $69.99 to join, every three months it's $139.99.
Wine Club: The New York Times Wine Club
The Sell: You choose either the "Times Sampler" which is 6 bottles (4 red 2 white) of good, everyday, drinking wine, or the "Times Reserve, which is 6 bottles (4 red, 2 white) or very good, special occasion/build your collection wine. You can choose to have either package delivered every month, every 2 months, or every three months.
The Price: Sampler is $90, Reserve is $180
Wine Club: Zagat Wine
The Sell: "Now choosing your wine is as easy as choosing your restaurant." You can elect to have as many or as few cases as you want and the "opportunity" to give feedback to guide future selections.
The Price: $69.99 introductory case of 12 with free gift (4 wine glasses by master glassmaker Luigi Bormioli), then every 3 months, another 12 bottle case is offered for $139.99.
Wine Club: USA TODAY Wine CLub
The Sell: 6 bottles triumphed by experts and chosen by the USA Today wine panel.
The Price: $69.99 every four months, but no obligation to keep it up.