Founded in 1992, Gold Medal Wine Club operates five different wine club memberships and is one of the leading independent wine club providers in the United States. The Pinot Noir Series is a more premium membership they offer and showcases Pinot Noirs that have been produced in limited quantities by some of the best boutique wineries in California and around the world. As with their other wine club memberships, Gold Medal Wine Club uses a strict selection process to pick out the Pinot Noirs for their members. Most of the features wines will have received at least a 90-point rating from a national wine publication (ex. Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, Wine Spectator, Wine & Spirits, Wine Enthusiast, etc.), and some will have also been awarded a Gold Medal at a major wine competition (ex. the California State Fair Wine Competition, San Francisco International Wine Competition, Jerry Meade's International Wine Competition, etc.).
As a member of the Pinot Noir Series, you will choose between bimonthly shipments of 2 or 4 bottles of wine. Unless you purchase a set number of shipments as a gift membership, membership is ongoing until you cancel, which you can do at any time without incurring any cancellation fees. Included in each shipment will be Gold Medal Wine Club's Pinot Noir Press, a glossy newsletter that provides background on the featured wines, the wineries, winemakers and growing regions. The newsletter will also provide tasting notes for each wine, any accolades the wine has received, food pairing suggestions/recipes and information/discounts for reordering more bottles. If you purchase a gift membership, Gold Medal Wine Club will individually wrap each bottle with colored paper in a gift bag and place them into a gift box with a beautiful illustration of wine country on the outside. A free, customizable gift card is also included with your gift purchase.
You can purchase a bimonthly membership to the Pinot Noir Series by Gold Medal Wine Club online, and prices will vary depending on how many bottles you order and the quality of the bottles that particular month. Membership costs range from $69 - $89 for a 2-bottle shipment or $138 - $178 for a 4-bottle shipment (tax and shipping not included). Shipping costs will vary depending on the shipment's destination and whether it contains 2 or 4 bottles. As a reference, 2-bottle shipments will cost about $10.50 to ship within California and $11.50 - $13.00 to ship to other states.
We give the Pinot Noir Series by Gold Medal Wine Club an A- because we feel GMWC delivers a variety of high quality Pinot Noirs at great values. We also really like that GMWC publicly archives all of their previously featured wines online because we feel it shows pride and accountability when it comes to their selections. We deducted just a few points because the Pinot Noir Series is only available in a bimonthly membership and we also wish GMWC included Pinot Noirs from Oregon in their selections. With that said, we think the Pinot Noir Series is an excellent wine club, and we highly recommend it for anyone with a passion for Pinot.
Overall, Gold Medal Wine Club has received good reviews from customers online and from publications such as Bon Appetit, Food & Wine and the Wall Street Journal. In the interest of full disclosure, I just want to say that Gold Medal Wine Club provided us with a complimentary sample shipment of their Pinot Noir Series when we mentioned that we wanted to review the membership. While we appreciated the free wine, we made it clear to Gold Medal Wine Club that it would not guarantee them a more favorable review.
The main drawback that we came across with the Pinot Noir Series is that it only ships every other month. We understand that it might be tough to try to find an amazing, unique Pinot every month, but bimonthly shipments aren’t really ideal, especially if you are trying to educate yourself on the varietal or are considering purchasing membership as a stand-alone gift. Therefore, we would probably recommend purchasing 4-bottle shipments and/or combining the Pinot membership with another one of Gold Medal Wine Club's memberships (ex. the Platinum Series). On a side note, we also wish that Gold Medal Wine Club would include some Oregon Pinot Noirs in their domestic wine selections because we think there are some amazing wines coming out of the region that we’d like to learn more about.
With all of that said, yours truly has personally been a member of Gold Medal Wine Club's Platinum Series since 2011, and I am admittedly a big fan of the Club in general. I received our free shipment of Pinot Noir a few days before my husband and I were having friends over for dinner, and, since they both enjoy drinking really good wine, we decided to save the bottles and incorporate a little wine tasting into the evening. It was so much fun to taste the wines using the newsletter as a guide, but, most importantly, everyone really loved both of the bottles we tried. For me, the experience just confirmed (once again) Gold Medal Wine Club's ability to consistently deliver high quality, unique wines. We would highly recommend membership to the Pinot Noir Series to anyone who loves Pinot Noirs or anyone who wants to learn more about the varietal.
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