My husband and I have been members of the Ken Wright Cellars Wine Club for over eleven years. By wine club standards, that’s an extremely long time (18-36 months is typical). Also, Ken Wright Cellars is at least a 4 hour drive from our Seattle home. However, we don’t mind making that drive to Carlton, Oregon. Ken Wright and his team have made it worth our while by rewarding our membership in ways that no other winery has matched. Of course, let’s not forget the superb wine that drew us in from the start; membership keeps our home well supplied with our favorite Oregon Pinot Noir! So, let’s talk about the phenomenal Ken Wright Cellars Wine Club.
Ken Wright Cellars Wine Club Experience
At first we joined the wine club because it would pay off to receive discounts on the wine. We’ve long been big fans of Ken Wright’s fantastic wine, so when we first visited the winery we weren’t going to go home empty handed! The tasting room associate talked us into joining the club to save money on our purchase. However, we’ve stayed for the experience.
For example, with the exception of this year, Ken Wright Cellars hosts an annual wine club party for members each summer. The first year we joined, the party was hosted in a vineyard. We were hooked! For a while, the party moved to a different vineyard each year. Source matters to Ken, and so do the people behind the vines. As geeky details about the sites and soil were unearthed, I considered the Ken Wright Cellars events a valuable part of my wine education. Ken and his team have also explained care of the vines, clonal selection, and even falconry as a means of pest control in the vineyard. In recent years, the parties have been primarily at the winery and tasting room. The variety keeps it interesting.
Sure those discounts on wine purchases matter. Most wine clubs offer discounts, though. Do other wine clubs ever shuttle large groups of people to the vineyards? Or offer a vineyard tour via horse drawn carriage? Or maybe we should talk about which wine clubs are treating members to a seated dining experience. At wine club events, do the owners speak from the heart about their humble beginnings? Are people being celebrated? Ken Wright wowed us will all these things. The thing is, he doesn’t really need to. He’s a celebrity in his own right, having landed on the cover of Wine Spectator as well as having his 2012 Abbott Claim Vineyard Pinot Noir ranked first among Wine Enthusiast magazine’s Top 100 wines of 2014.
Although things are different this year due to the pandemic, it offers a chance to reflect on happy memories. Last year we drove down to Carlton Oregon for the Wine Club’s Ten Year Anniversary Party. Surprisingly, our membership was rewarded with a 3 liter bottle of Ken Wright Pinot Noir. For real!!! That is the equivalent of 4 bottles of wine. Plus, the bottle is custom etched. It’s by far the most memorable souvenir we’ve received from a winery. Will we tell everyone we know about it? Yes, we will. In fact, we’ll eventually have a big party and share it with our friends. Will we continue to be members of the Ken Wright Cellars Wine Club? Absolutely. It’s more important than ever to support small, family businesses.
So does it pay off when wineries differentiate themselves from others by continuing to surprise and delight their wine club members? We’re certainly extremely grateful for the memories, experiences, and wine we’ve enjoyed from Ken Wright Cellars. Are you a member of any wine clubs? I’d love to hear about your experience. Head on over to Twitter or Instagram and #letstalkaboutwine.
Want to learn more about Ken Wright Cellars and Oregon wines and wineries? Below are some resources.
Ken Wright Cellars Website
Pairing Pinot Noir with Food
Let’s Talk About Maysara Winery and Momtazi Vineyard