I have had people ask me though, who do know less than me, how we can afford to have memberships (we are not rich people ah, hem...we are not even close) and how they work. I've been asked often what they cost. I don't know about everywhere but I'll say what we have found and how we look at the wine membership.
First we have requirements:
- We try to limit our memberships to three for now. Though memberships don't cost, they have buying commitments that have to be considered.
- They have to be filled with perks. They have to have a good discount. I will tell more in the next few days what each one of ours does. What I really mean by perks though are events. Release parties are the biggest way to really get a deal out of your membership. We dropped one winery recently because there were NO events. Release parties are usually free or at minimal cost to the member. They have amazing food, usually music, and great ambiance. When you choose your winery, make sure you like it's location and atmosphere because those events in that setting will be your future get away.
- They have to have friendly staff. Every one of our memberships are a delight to visit. Sculpterra is our favorite for many reasons, I'll tell soon, but each one has friendly people behind the counter. Wine tasting, and wine in general is a social experience. Rick likes to hear the history of the places, as well as the details about the wines. You have to have people who seem interested to talk to you. I've been to some places that make you feel like you are bothering them and that is NOT cool with me! Or, they are snobs and seem to have you socially labeled the minute you come through the tasting room door. You should be able to come in your jeans or your fine attire and be treated the same. If you enjoy this winery, you are going to be seeing these people a lot, so make sure they are people you want to revisit and who seem to want to see you again too.
- The wine must be amazing! For our three membership's, we went down the tasting list and loved each wine more and more. That is not what we find at all places. Make sure you like it all because you will be getting all kinds of their wines at different times.
- For us it needs to be local. I know many people, including my boss, like memberships far away. We want to take full advantage of our memberships and be able to visit our wineries often. We have a home we are content with but we don't have a nice view, or a great yard etc so getting away has to be a usable benefit. I have to say though that at every pick up we meet people from hours away who drive to make the party and enjoy doing that.
So, let me just skip to telling you about our memberships and why we like each of them. I think you will see in the end that choosing a membership can be a great idea over all.
I first heard of Sculpterra from my boss. We do the taxes for the sculpture artist out there. He was telling me that I should head out there with Rick and check the place out. We loved it right away. The ambiance was nice for us getting away and still lovely for when we want to bring the kids. In fact, we tested them out right away and asked if we could have our Easter egg hunt there for our kids amidst the garden and they let us! That was so fun.
His Healing Hands. You can find a book about the ministry there in the tasting room. His son, Paul is the wine maker. A graduate of Cal Poly, he is an amazing hard worker and it's paying off!
Song Writer's At Play, the product of a local radio station THE CRUSH 92.5. We have enjoyed many Sunday afternoons there either with the kids or on our own. There are tables and we bring our food and buy a glass of wine. Through this venue I was introduced to one of my new favorite artist Sara Petite. It was really fun that she came again a few days after my birthday and played in the barrel room. Our all time favorite afternoon however was the Celtic themed line up. It was fantastic!
Over the next few days, I'll come back and tell you about our other two memberships.