Wine clubs predate the Internet by decades and the first wine merchants in the UK began procuring wines from around the world for their customers more than two centuries ago.
The UK’s wine subscription trend was pioneered in 1969 by wine merchant Tony Laithwaite, who would meet his customers under railway arches in central London, handing over bottles from the back of his van.
Tony and his wife Barbara went on to launch the highly successful Sunday Times Wine Club in 1973, delivering crates of wine directly to customers all over the UK and became one the country’s biggest wine merchants with their subscription services.
Laithwaites and the Sunday Times Wine Club (as well as Virgin Wines) have recently become part of the massive conglomerate Direct Wines Ltd., which today delivers wines to more than a million subscribers.
For that reason we’ve not included those mega wine merchants in our list of the best wine subscription boxes and clubs for 2021. Instead we want to focus on letting you know about the lesser-known wine merchants offering a more personal service to their subscribers.
Another significant difference between the large wine merchants and smaller independent traders is that the large organizations rely mainly on agents to supply them with their wines, whereas the smaller or more exclusive wine clubs usually bring you wines directly from the producers, making them much cheaper.
Best wine subscription boxes and clubs in the UK
- Averys of Bristol
- The Wine Society
- Wanderlust Wine
- Ourglass Wine Discovery Club
- The Grape Reserve
- Naked Wines Fine Wine Club
- Savage Wines
- Corney & Barrow
Averys of Bristol
Best wine subscription directly from world class estates
To ensure you get wine deliveries from people that really know their grape varieties you can’t go wrong with a wine subscription from Averys of Bristol; one of the UK’s most historic wine merchants.
This multi-generational family run wine merchant was first established more than 220 years ago in 1793; buying wine from agents until the 1920s, when Ronald Avery began visiting wine estates to meet the winemakers and taste the wines himself.
His son, John Avery, continued to fill their wine cellars in Bristol with imports from Australia, California and New Zealand, which you can sample with quarterly deliveries of 12-bottle crates from the Averys Signature Wine Collection.
With each subscription box you’ll get tasting notes and a free bonus wine suited to your tastes. Delivery is free for orders over £200.
The Wine Society
Best variety of wine subscription plans
The Wine Society is a stalwart among British wine lovers, selling a vast variety of wines from all over the world to England’s aficionados since 1874.
They pride themselves on providing honestly priced wines from their selection of more than 1,300 brands, which you can work your way through with what we consider the ‘best variety of wine subscription plans’.
You’ll have to pay extra to have small orders delivered but you get free delivery for orders of 12 or more bottles or if the total is over £75.
Best organic wine subscription box
A subscription with Wanderlust Wine makes it easy to indulge in as many organic, sustainable and artisanal wines as you like every two months.
Membership choices include Silver, Gold or Platinum wine subscriptions to have between 4 and 10 bottles of wine delivered to your door every two months, which you can pay for bimonthly, every six months or annually.
Wanderlust Wine specialises in sourcing wines from small, exclusive producers. They want you to really get to know the wines and their producers so they also send subscribers complimentary tickets to tasting events, where you can meet the producers and taste their wines.
Ourglass Wine Discovery Club
Best wine subscription for personal preferences
Choosing from the vast range of more than 1,500 different wines available through Ourglass would be a daunting task if it weren’t for their focus on helping you choose the wines that are just right for your taste and budget so they get our vote as the ‘best wine subscription for personal preferences’.
You can choose from three pricing tiers for monthly subscriptions. Get three bottles for £40, three to five bottles for £80, or three to six bottles for £120 per month.
The £40 per month subscription for your first three bottles is an easy way to begin that’s also easy on your wallet with selected wines which are cheap but still guaranteed to be sourced from independent producers.
With each subscription box you get tasting notes and guides to help you appreciate the wines as you progress to higher quality (and more expensive) vintages.
The Grape Reserve
Best simple wine subscription
Ordering your wine subscription from The Grape Reserve couldn’t be easier so we’ve awarded them our ‘best simple wine subscription’.
For a flat rate of £34 for two bottles of plonk including free delivery you simply check the box for either two reds, two whites or one of each. You get tasting notes and recipes too in each subscription box.
If two bottles a month isn’t enough to satiate your thirst for vino you can go for the 4-bottle wine subscription for just over £61, which gives you two bottles each of red and white wines.
Naked Wines Fine Wine Club
Best affordable fine wines subscription
Naked Wines supplies its 300,000 club members with exclusive wines not found on supermarket shelves. Rated ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot, Naked Wines has etched out a unique niche among wine subscription services by inviting customers to become ‘Angel Members’ by investing £20 per month to get discounts of up to 33% on subscription boxes.
Their Fine Wine Club is the best affordable fine wines subscription we’ve found with quarterly deliveries of 6 bottles of premium wines delivered to your door under £100 per box, which works out to be under £17 a bottle.
They offer a plethora of other subscription options with big discounts for angel members including cases of seasonal reds or whites plus various mixed cases.
You get tasting notes too and exclusive access to virtual tastings with the launch of each new case.
Best wine subscription with flexible options
Savage Wines makes it easy for you to choose the amount of wine you want to have delivered and the frequency of your deliveries.
You can choose to have 2, 3, 6 or 12 bottles of wine delivered every month, every three months, six months or 12 months so as far as we’re concerned this is the best wine subscription with flexible options.
Another feel-good factor with Savage Wines subscriptions is their focus on sourcing wines for you from independent family run vineyards. The wine boxes are delivered in a briefcase with a handle, which also includes a wine map, tasting notes and food pairing suggestions.
You can also tune into a podcast talking you through each wine.
Corney & Barrow
Best wine subscription for beginners and connoisseurs alike
Corney & Barrow is another of the UK’s original wine merchants. Their more than 240 years’ worth of experience gives them stalwart status among wine aficionados with deep pockets but they also offer introductory deals for those of you beginning your journey into the world of wines on a shoestring budget.
Subscribe for bi-monthly deliveries of either the Adventurer Case for £160 per case or the Explorer Case (£240). Each case contains six bottles hand picked by the Corney & Barrow team. The Adventurer Case includes classics and emerging wines. The pricier Explorer Case comprises fine wines from the world’s best producers.
Wine subscriptions and clubs: The verdict
If you are unrehearsed in the subtle differences between a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Chardonnay or a Pinot Noir then your best bet is starting off with a wine subscription at the cheap end of the scale that gives you a broad selection of various wines along with tasting notes and information about each wine so you can gradually build your knowledge and preferences. Then you’ll be able to order more expensive wine subscription boxes with confidence.
In this regard Savage Wines gives you the most flexible options, allowing you to set up a subscription for just two bottles a month to get you started.
If you’re looking for recommendations of other alcoholic drinks such as gins, cocktails and beers then have a read of our blog article on the best alcohol subscription boxes.