Clubs usually make monthly deliveries that include the wine, tasting notes, profiles of the wineries, and discounts on reorders. There are three types:INTERNATIONAL
These clubs offer the broadest selection. For example, the new Kimpton Life Wine Society (www.kimptonlife.com/kl_wine.html) ships hard-to-find wines. Membership runs $50, $100, or $175 for two bottles a month. At the low end, Wine Odyssey, Wine.com's most popular club for beginners, is priced at $19.95 a month for two bottles.REGIONAL
These are best for enthusiasts who want to deepen their knowledge of a particular region. An Italian Wine Merchants membership, which includes six Spiegelau wine glasses and a 515-page book on Italian wines, ranges from $97 to $259 a month for three bottles (italianwinemerchant.com). The California Wine Club (cawineclub.com) offers exposure to California's boutique wineries for as little as $32.95 a month for two bottles.PROPRIETARY
Most of the blue-chip California vineyards have their own clubs, which ship limited-production wines that are not nationally distributed. Ridge Vineyard's Advanced Tasting Program, for example, serves up new single-vineyard reds such as syrah and zinfandel blends starting at about $65 for a two-bottle shipment (www.ridgewine.com/clubs).
One caveat: Some states prohibit wine shipments directly to consumers. But there are loopholes, so check with individual clubs on restrictions. By Jane Black