The last two years have seen a rising demand for wine clubs in America. People across its cities have a newfound interest in all varieties of reds and whites, no longer just limited to the output from popular vineyards like Burgundy or Barossa Valley. Wine sales have also triumphed that of beer, a bold ascension given that the latter is the world’s most consumed beverage.
A thirst for experience and productive learning environments removed from snobbish sommeliers has lured many into signing up for such clubs, and the US’ oldest wine retailer recently responded by throwing its goblet into the ring. Acker, Merrall and Condit debuted a wine club last Thursday, with an annual cost that supersedes any option on the market right now.
The price: US$15,600 (S$22,000) a year for the wine club’s top tier membership. Dividing that by the 48 bottles entitled over its course gets you an average of S$325 (S$442) a bottle.
It’s a fee that may make one recoil in shock, but is not entirely surprising due to the establishment’s reputation. The Acker, Merrall and Condit store is an iconic landmark on the streets of Manhattan, having been there for 197 years. It is also an international authority on fine wines, and a leading wine auctioneer. The commanding name is inextricable from rare, collectible and expensive wines.
A concierge service is also included in the membership. Wine-related travel advice, assistance with wine lists prior to a restaurant reservation, gifting and cellar constitution services are some of the perks in the package. US$15,600 will also ensure that the bottles you receive are all selected by John Kapon, the chairman of Acker, Merrall and Condit.
In a press statement, Kapon said, “Members of Acker’s Wine Club Experience will enjoy not just wine each month or each quarter, but unrivalled access to the one of the deepest reserves of fine and rare wines in the country.”
We’ll let you be the judge as to whether that’s worth the splurge. Those on a less forgiving budget can opt for lower subscription tiers, of which the cheapest begins at US$1369 (S$1860) per annum.