It’s rather more serious than the picture but joining a wine club is a great way to sample some excellent wines that you couldn’t afford yourself and enhance your knowledge and expertise at the same time. The annual membership cost typically ranges from $30 to $50 and in some cases, there is also an initiation fee. Some clubs focus on the wines from a particular country or region. Others are general purpose.
Each club offers a number of tastings per year, typically between seven and ten, and often has other social events such as multi course dinners at which a variety of wines are served. The usual format for a wine tasting is a sit-down event at tables of eight to ten people. Generally, there will be a particular theme. It could be a grape variety, it could be a country or region, or it could be a vertical tasting – wines from different years from the same producer.
Usually, proceedings start with a guest speaker who provides a brief introduction and then leads a post tasting discussion. Typically, eight wines are served, and you will be told beforehand what wines you are drinking but not necessarily which is which. Some clubs like to determine the relative popularity of the wines tasted via the collection and summarizing of each person’s individual ratings. Other clubs get feedback in a more informal fashion via a show of hands. See below for tasting clubs currently operating in Toronto: