Wine Club Santa Ana
...The Wine Club

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If the name of this club is any indication, customers should be able to find quality and expertise at The Wine Club. With locations in Santa Ana, California, as well as in Santa Clara and San Francisco, this wine club serves a large portion of California in addition to shipping items to customers around the globe.

The club’s Web site is unique in one way, at least. Most quality sites have an “About Us” page that helps potential customers get acquainted with the company and its history. The Wine Club of Santa Ana does this as well, but with a twist.

Picture of The Wine Club website

The Wine Club website

The About Us page contains a detailed list of people – staff members and their various positions and duties within the company. To get details about a particular sector of the operation, a Web site visitor simply needs to call or email an individual.

Screenshot of the Abous Us page - contact a real person from the club.

It's very transparent and you can easily speak or mail with a real person (which I find a great plus). E-Mail addresses made irrecognizable for privacy reasons.

There is no lengthy history of the company or marketing story on this page. It would be interesting to hear some feedback about this particular part of the operation.

Judging from the reviews of the club and wine store, Santa Ana’s operation has been serving satisfied customers almost without exception. This reviews focus on the knowledgeable staff and the selection of wines that are often difficult to find. Happy customers have found everything from A $7 Zinfandel to a $37 bottle of 2005 Cakebread Chardonnay.

Various “shopping” pages are easy to follow. For example, the red wines page allows the visitor to browse by type. Categories include:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Pinot Noir
  • Merlot
  • Syrah
  • Grenache
  • Zinfandel
  • Nebbiolo
  • Sangiovese
  • and Other Red.

Browsing through the different types of wine is very easy.

Hierarchical browsing through the different types of wine - very easy and straightforward.

The white wine page offers browsing among

  • Chardonnay
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Riesling
  • Chenin Blanc
  • Viognier
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Semillon
  • Alvarinho
  • and Other White.

If you want to try wines from various countries won’t be disappointed here. The menu includes Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, California, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Other U.S. Of course potential customers can also browse by producer and by price.

"The Wine Club" is a bit different

The Wine Club Santa Ana is a bit different than some wine clubs. At least the Web site is. Many wine clubs feature their various “clubs” on the front page – such as a Premier club, or a Red Wine club or similar divisions among wines. There is no visible doorway to any clubs of this type on the site. Rather, this wine club seems to be more like a store and large Web-based supplier.

There are sources of information galore, however. The Merlot category under red wines shows the standard six or more rating services, such as Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate and so on. The wines featured currently are representative of the wide variety available from the Wine Club Santa Ana.

Prices range from $17 for Clos de Los Siete Red Blend 2007 with an 88 rating from Wine Spectator to Château Cheval Blanc Saint Emilion 2000 with a 98 rating from Wine Advocate and a 97 from Wine Enthusiast.

The brief but detailed descriptions of each wine are well presented and should be helpful to any visitor, experienced or novice.

Selections from staff members

One of the more interesting pages on the club’s Web site is the “Futures” page, where staff members suggest selected wines, along with the expert ratings.

Wine selections from staff.

You'll get recommendations from staff members in all price ranges.

Those who are thinking of traveling to the Santa Ana area might want to check the “Events” page at this Web site. It seems there is always something going on that will be of interest to wine lovers and culture hounds.

Spend some time with the “Wine Talk” page, which includes such article gems as Web Team Picks and one that looks closely at the love affair with Bordeaux. This article checks into the “richness and power” of a great varietal.

What about shipping procedures and costs?

One of the most important factors in working with and ordering from a distant wine supplier is shipping procedures and costs. Apparently The Wine Club of Santa Ana has put significant effort into covering the bases! This supplier devotes several pages to making sure the customer understands the details of ordering and shipping, and it’s not in fine print.

Visitors can select from a brief menu if they want to know about shipping to particular areas, how long it may take and how weather affects the shipping process. There should be few doubts about such issues as available inventory, as each is given sufficient space to get the details correct.

Screenshot of shipping policy.

I find that it's made easy to find what you are looking for.

The club apparently makes every effort to fill and ship orders within 48 hours. If there is an item on the shopping list that is out of stock, the company may choose to hold the full order if they expect to get the missing item on the shelves in a matter of days. The Wine Club will ship outside the 48 contiguous United States, but there will be additional shipping charges.

Since extreme temperatures can affect wine condition during shipping, the company offers a service for a nominal additional fee. Customers can request that their order be held until weather conditions are optimal for shipping. This can be crucial when very-hot temperatures could cause wine bottles to leak. Extreme cold might cause freezing, which will often alter the wine’s taste significantly.

The Wine Club of Santa Ana is, reportedly, a high-volume supplier, offering dozens of different wines with diverse price tags. There can be inventory issues, according to the Web site. Staff members note that they contact customers on a person-to-person basis via email to inform them of any inventory/out of stock issues.

What about the return procedure?

To quote the Web site, this wine club does not accept returns “unless the product is corked or flawed.” There are also limits on what the club can accept in return when wine is affected by weather conditions. This seems to be standard procedure for most wine clubs and suppliers who ship to various locations. Personal information and credit card information is securely protected, the site states.

In general, it seems The Wine Club of Santa Ana has covered all the bases in the exciting world of wine.

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