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Wine club perks: Dining at the winery

Posted on: April 5th, 2012 by Tom Peiffer No Comments

One of the commonly overlooked benefits of a wine club membership is special winery events. Although many of these seem somewhat costly at first glance, they often include dinner plus multiple flights of very generous wine selections, making them quite a value. Consider this:  If you consumed the same selections at a restaurant, the total cost would run a lot more.

In fact, many wine lovers will reminisce about evenings at their favorite winery as one of those things in life that must be experienced to be fully appreciated. When recalling one of these gatherings, one wine drinker gladly rattled off each of the 8 different wine selections that were served. This also included refills and special requests. Now that’s a memorable evening!

If there’s one common theme to winery dining, it’s that these affairs are all about the wine, not so much the food. Although the cuisine is usually extraordinary, it still takes a back seat to the wine. And because many wineries keep a good stash of “library wines” from years gone by on hand, the feeling is even more special. They often serve tastes of premier vino from past vintages that are no longer available at bottle shops and only found in private cellars.

Joseph Phelps Vineyards recently hosted one of these dinners at their Napa Valley winery for $175 a person that included 5 entrée courses and 7 wines. They arranged the venue to move from the tasting room to the dining area; making it an interesting way to enjoy it all as evening fell on the spectacular Napa Valley countryside. By the time the final course was served, everyone had experienced a peek at classics from past years, sampled releases yet to come, and learned what winemaker expertise can do to make wines even better.

So if you get the chance, be sure to sign up for an evening at a winery, and enjoy what their people have to offer. Don’t want to do the trek to the coast?  Here are a few Arizona wineries with active clubs:

  1. Alcantara Vineyards
  2. Dos Cabezas WineWorks
  3. Welhelm Family Vineyards

As an added bonus, be sure to visit the ”Southeast Arizona Winegrowers Festival” in Elgin on April 14 & 15 and check out wineries from all over Arizona who will be running spot tastings both days.  If you like what you sample, join their wine clubs and get in on the fun.

Article by Tom Peiffer, Phoenix Wine Shopping Examiner at Examiner.com

View more of Tom’s articles on Examiner.com by visiting his writer’s page.

About the Author - Tom Peiffer

Tom has been an avid wine consumer and collector for over 20 years. This pastime has taken he and his family on many visits to wine growing regions, including Arizona. During these excursions, with the accompanying tastings and lectures, it became clear that there is no "magic bullet" wine. For each wine contains its own character, strong points, and weaknesses. Sharing these experiences to help anyone purchase locally available wines is his goal.

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