Vinfluence Wine Club Review: Great Juice With Heart
Vinfluence Wine Club Review
There are a lot of wine clubs out there for you to choose from, and more seem to be springing up every few months. Some send you wines they’ve had on their shelves for too long, some send you hard to find curated wines, some even ask you a few questions and magically know the exact type of wines you’ll “love”. What none of them seem to ever mention is charity. Enter the Vinfluence wine club. A wine club that not only delivers stunning small production, sustainable, family wines that are hand picked by the owner herself, but also give 20% of their proceeds to worthwhile charities. We sat down with sommelier and Vinfluence founder, Shannon Westfall, to discuss Vinfluence, the wines, the charities, and more.
The Vinfluence Wines
The wines you’ll receive from Vinfluence are most likely wines you haven’t heard of before, they are literally handpicked by the company’s CEO. Westfall’s focus has been on California wines (expanding to Washington and Oregon soon). In general, she looks for winemakers who are producing under five thousand cases a year, are using sustainable or organically grown grapes in their production, are low-intervention in the winery, and have an intriguing story to pair with their wines. Once Westfall narrows her list of potential candidates, she hits the road to taste, taste, taste, until she fines wines that impress her palate.
Westfall believes there is a sweet spot in the bottled wine world between $30 and $100 a bottle. Where you find great representations of grapes being made into high quality wines, by winemakers who really care about the wines they are producing. Her aim is to find those wines and bring them to you monthly, or quarterly. The Vinfluence wine club reflects that sweet spot by delivering 3 bottles monthly for $100 + $15 shipping or 6 bottles (2 of each) for $200 + $20 shipping.
The Vinfluence Charities
The Vinfluence goal, is not solely to make your mouth happy with the wine you get every month. They also want to be a good corporate citizen and help make your “feels” happy too. Vinfluence donates a full 20% of their proceeds to charity and currently champions three causes: fighting hunger, renewing the environment, and youth development. When you sign up, you’ll select the combination of charities your dollars will go to. That number was kept small on purpose, so more money could reach the charities and help make more of an impact.
The Vinfluence X Factors
Each shipment from Vinfluence comes straight from the wine producers themselves. No warehouses for storage before shipment, no middleman, it’s essentially a curated, Direct to Consumer (DtC) wine club. Along with the wines you’ll receive a booklet packed with information that includes a note from Westfall, bio of the featured winemaker for the month, as well as detailed notes of all the included wines. As a bonus there are recipes to pair with the wines and other “did you know” facts I found interesting. All enhanced by beautiful photographs that keep you coming back with every bottle you open. As an added bonus, Vinfluencers automatically receive a Wine Club Passport to any of the wineries that are included in a Vinfluence shipment. With the passport you get no cost tastings at the wineries the next time you visit them.
You’ve heard about the company, their philosophy, the charities, and some of the other factors that go into making Vinfluence a wine club to get to know. But the bottom line is, how are the wines? I received the February shipment featuring the wines from the Guthrie Family Winery out of Sonoma, CA. Of the 3 wines received, we are total production of 200 cases for both the Chardonnay and Petite Sirah, and 250 cases of the Red Blend. As I mentioned earlier, you won’t find these wines anywhere but the winery and Vinfluence.
2014 Chardonnay – Whole cluster pressed direct to barrel. Aged 10 months in 18% new French oak. Straw yellow going to clear at the rim. Nose of crisp green apples, lemon, with a little smokiness. Palate is crisp and refreshing with loads of lemony citrus goodness. A mild hint of oak adds depth without overdoing it. Finishes clean with lingering lemon notes. A great wine to pair with practically any seafood dish or salad.
2015 Chateau Guthrie Red Blend – Hand picked and 30% whole cluster fermented in 1 ton bins. Punched down by hand twice daily for 21 days of maceration on the skins. Violet, cherry, and raspberry come strong to the nose. A pleasing balance between tannin and acidity lend to the luscious and smooth drinking red. Warning, this bottle will go quick. 50% Mourvedre, 25% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 5% Petite Sirah.
2013 Archival Petite Sirah – Hand picked and barrel fermented in open top barrique barrels. Punched down daily and basket pressed, all by hand. Notes of leather, coco, black pepper, cooking spices, and dark fruits throw a fully loaded nose at you. Dark cherries and firm tannins greet your palate along with hints of leather and red raspberries. A wine that would go great with any red meat, especially the short ribs recipe included in the Vinfluence booklet.
Vinfluence is delivering small production wines from boutique wineries that you normally wouldn’t find without visiting the wineries themselves. If you long to travel California wine country seeking out gems along the road, this is a way to do it without the trip expense. All coming from a company that believes in giving back to the community while supporting family wineries.
If you’d like to hear more from Shannon about the Vinfluence wine club, check out the podcast episode she joined us for.