WOW stands for Woman-Owned Wineries, which is the foundational credo of Amy Bess Cook’s Sonoma-centric wine club. When you consider that only 10 percent of the lead winemakers in the thousands of California wineries are women, the absolute necessity of WOW’s rallying call sinks in. On the site you’ll find an invaluable directory of female-owned wineries and winemakers in the United States, plus details of the subscription service. You’ll also find an informative blog that spotlights the work of these female vintners and delves into the layered process of harvesting and producing a bottle of wine. Better yet, one dollar from every sale of WOW’s June shipment benefits the ACLU. Image courtesy of Kelly Puleio.
Disclaimer: Le Cru is pricey. It’s pricey because it’s a European-producer-based subscription service. To be specific, smaller European producers who don’t make the volume or perhaps have the resources to export to the States (making wine is expensive). A curated case of six bottles from say, Catalonia or Piedmont starts at $155, and shipping is free. If this sounds interesting, visit Le Cru’s excellent website, which has details on the various vintners it supports, along with approachable videos explaining the particulars of the regions it buys from.
Helen’s lore goes something like this: Sommelier Helen Johannesen started with a tiny, small-producer-forward wine store tucked in the back of Fairfax staple Jon & Vinny’s. Popularity exploded, a wine club was born, and a second location opened in Brentwood. If you’re not already a member of Helen’s Wine Club, now is a great time to join. We look forward to our delivery of limited production wines with handy tasting cards to help expand our palate every month. Otherwise, hop online; browse Johannesen’s smartly organized virtual store; edit your choices by price, country, wine type, style, or region; and get the corkscrew ready.
Getting into wine has a tick-the-box quality. Region: tick. Varietal: tick. Terroir: tick. But having someone walk you through those ticks makes delving into oenophilia doable. SommSelect offers three monthly clubs defined by theme (this one is the most affordable at $99 monthly and perfect for novices), SommSelect favorites, and guided blind tasting. For those who want to go deep, the sommelier concierge option tailors cases to your specific palate and budget (this is more suited to those who know their way around a wine cave). Lastly, Ian Cauble of Netflix’s Somm fame, is the maestro behind every bottle selection.