Today Canada's major loyalty program, Aeroplan, announced a new wine club called the Reserva Wine Club. Exclusive to Aeroplan members, those who join will have "access" (i.e. you are "allowed" to purchase) to a specially selected mixed case of six bottles every two months. These wines will be chosen by an expert tasting panel and will not be available in Canadian stores otherwise. Members will also receive Tidings Magazine, get a joining bonus, and earn miles on their purchases.
At first glance I thought Opimian, The Wine Society of Canada (Canada's only wine club) might be dismayed at this turn of events. But the inclusion of Tidings Magazine and the logistics for picking up the wine reek of Opimian involvement...?
Regardless, the question comes to mind: Why join the Reserva Wine Club when you can join Opimian? The Opimian Select program offers mixed cases pre-selected for you, and you can order from their regular catalogue as well (I will discuss Opimian in greater detail at a future date, but this write-up may help). It would seem that the key differences are that the annual membership fee for Reserva is slightly lower and you collect Aeroplan miles on your purchases. Beyond that, it is impossible to say who has the better wines - both seem to have equally obscure providers.
So the wine club concept is coming to Canada in a splashier way vs. the rather low-key promotion of the Opimian Society. I have to think the growing interest in wine and the Aeroplan demographic will make Reserva a hit, but I am not sure how a mixed case of cheap wine sits with this blogger. From my perspective, if you are looking to randomly try pre-selected wines in this price range, this could be a way to get you out of your zone - and collect Aeroplan miles to boot. But for me, I don't need the help with the miles or getting out of my zone so I think I'll pass (for now...).
PS - for my friends outside of Canada a wine club not a novel concept, but because of various regulations up here (and a rather small domestic industry) the wine club concept remains an oddity. I'm hoping we see more of it.