By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Dec 03, 2020 at 1:01 PM

Are you into wine? Or would you like to be into wine? If so, you might want to take note of two fun new wine club programs which have recently been put into place at Strange Town,  2101 N. Prospect Ave. on the East Side and Voyager, 422 E. Lincoln Ave. in Bay View.

Why a wine club?

Whether you’re an experienced wine lover who just wants to try something new or a wine novice who’s excited by the idea of exploring new territory, a monthly wine club offers up a convenient way to explore new, different wines.

Let’s face it, for most people, walking into a wine shop can be pretty overwhelming. And it incites any number of  questions: What’s good? How do I know it’s good? What’s the best value for my money?  

Pair that with the fact that leisurely perusing the aisles of a wine shop (or any shop) to find interesting new quaffs has become more complicated thanks to customer limits and concerns related to COVID-19.

So, the idea of turning your wine shopping over to someone who really knows their stuff, and who will curate a monthly collection of tasty things for you to take home is pretty appealing.

The fact that you will also come away from a wine club selection with way more information about the wine than you would just buying it the store is also a plus. Most clubs come with lots of great information about the featured wines, from stories about the purveyors and regions where the grapes were grown, the techniques used to make the wine, and the flavor profile  of the wine itself. Most also include tasting notes to reference as well as suggestions for food pairings to accompany  a particular bottle.

They make great gifts!

Because the holidays are approaching, it’s also fair to point out that a subscription to a wine club also makes a great gift. After all, there’s nothing better than a gift that continues to offer a delightful monthly surprise, even after the holidays have passed. 

These days, every single dollar you spend at a local bar or restaurant matters. So, whether you purchase a subscription for yourself or someone else, it’s an excellent way to offer ongoing support and income to a small business that could really use it. 

A variety of wine shops and wine bars around town offer wine club memberships (including Story Hill BKC, The Ruby TapThief Wine, Vino Third Ward and Bright Cellars).

But these two brand new ones are definitely worth checking out! 

Strange Town Natty Wine Club

Strange Town
2101 N. Prospect Ave., (414) 885-0404
strangetownmke.com

Strange Town has become well known in its circles for their beautiful selection of low-proof cocktails and amazing collection of natural wines. So, it’s a lovely thought to realize that there’s a  way to experience those same wines (plus new, interesting selections) in the comfort of your own home.

Strange Town’s new Natty Wine Club allows you to do just that. The program is set up with two levels: a six-bottle a month membership ($150 per month) or a full case membership ($300 per month). Guests can purchase a single subscription to try it out, but there are discounts available for auto-renewing subscriptions.

Each subscription comes with a hand-picked selection of seasonally appropriate wines, including a combination of Strange Town favorites and interesting (sometimes limited) finds. All wines are natural, many biodynamically grown and all produced with minimal intervention, allowing the grapes’ individual character to shine.

Each box of wine comes complete with a detailed description of each wine, tasting notes, suggested pairings and a recipe from Strange Town co-owner and chef Mia Le Tendre. 

The inaugural Natty Wine Club memberships are available to purchase now (with first pick-up on Jan. 2). Just call the restaurant, stop by during regular operating hours or email Mia at Mia@strangetownmke.com  Online ordering for the wine club is also coming soon at strangetownmke.com.

Voyager Explorer Club

Voyager
422 E Lincoln Ave., (414) 239-8254
voyagermke.com

Voyager is relatively new on the Bay View scene, but the wine and cocktail bar - turned wine and sundries shop has become known for its unusually delicious wines and personalized service. And both of those philosophies come into play with their Explorer Club Wine Subscription.

The program is set up with three levels: Gemini, offering two bottles per month ($50); Apollo, offering four bottles per month ($75); and Voyager, offering six bottles per month ($100). An optional cheese pairing subscription can also be added to any level for an additional $20. Subscriptions are auto-renewing (cancel at any time), with credit cards charged on the first of each month with pick-up at the shop on the 15th of the month.

Each subscription features detailed information about each of the wines, amusingly written tasting notes and pairing suggestions, all delivered monthly by email.

Better yet, a short subscriber survey allows you to provide notes about what you like, giving the Voyager staff valuable information to make your subscription even better. As subscribers grow, the program will also evolve, with greater potential for the inclusion of rare finds and additional perks.

Guests can sign up for a subscription at the shop or purchase a membership online.For questions or to purchase a subscription for gift giving, stop by the shop or send an email to info@voyager.com for additional information.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.