I came across Victoria Daskal, founder, and director of the Mummy Wine Club, at the Chiswick Book Festival in September. She gave a fascinating talk/tasting centred on Hemingway’s novel, A Moveable Feast. As I am on a journey to discover more about the world of wine, I was equally fascinated by the idea of a wine club. Could this be the perfect way to learn more about wine? So I got in touch with Victoria to find out more about what she does and the benefits of joining a group like hers.
Victoria grew up in Boston. In 2006 she moved to the south of France, helped out at a rosé winery, and did the OIV MSc in International Wine Management. This programme involved visiting around 45 different wine regions in 11 months. She moved to London to work with Jancis Robinson MW. Then she became a fine wine sales advisor for Laithwaites, and did wine video production for Slurp. Meanwhile, she completed the WSET Diploma and started teaching on the side. She spent six years as managing editor of The World of Fine Wine. She’s also studying the Master of Wine programme. If anyone can give me advice on wine clubs and what they are all about she can.
What was the inspiration behind Mummy Wine Club? Was this ignited by the lockdown?
Actually, Mummy Wine Club was founded in August 2018 when I had my second baby. I knew a few mums in the area who loved wine, food, travel, etc. I thought I could create something where they can explore their interests and still bring the baby.
Every week I offered casual wine courses from home where mums could bring their baby and learn about wine regions from Europe to South America. It wasn’t about drinking. It was about learning the different grape varieties, regions, history, tasting technique, and wine and food pairing.
Pretty quickly the babies grew up and couldn’t tag along to the tastings, so the Mummy Wine Club events evolved into themed dinners and wine masterclasses in the weekends and evenings.
In 2020, Mummy Wine Club made another pivot with the launch of a monthly wine subscription club. The idea had been brewing since last year, but lockdown made it a priority.
So is this a club just for mums?
No, it really is for anyone who loves good wine and wants to be introduced to new producers, regions, and varieties through a curated monthly wine box.
What do you think are the benefits of being part of a wine club?
You sign up in order to be introduced to new wines that have been selected by an expert. It’s a chance to find wines you wouldn’t normally be able to get in the supermarket. The wines are delivered to your door and I send food pairings and a recipe to try for each wine.
We offer wine tastings for all levels. The atmosphere is very warm and welcoming, more like a supper club with a wine topic to discuss, rather than an overly technical class. Since June 2020 we have also been offering virtual tastings which are proving great fun.
I offer a free virtual wine tasting with the club every month. I also include a free virtual tasting for subscribers to go over the wines in their box each month, and sometimes invite a special guest from one of the wineries to join us on the call. That’s the beauty of going virtual now!
What kind of wines you might find in the subscription club?
Each month there is a theme that connects the wines – whether it’s a region, a variety, a mood, or something even more unexpected that they have in common.
All of the wines tend to be from smaller—usually family—producers that are working in organic or sustainable ways. I’m really interested in indigenous varieties and lesser-known regions with interesting backstories so that’s what I look to include in my selections.
Above all though, they have to be delicious and inspiring, not something you’d come across in the supermarket. The wines retail at around £18-£30 a bottle.
Membership seems quite expensive. Should it put me off joining?
There are some cheaper wine clubs run by brands like Naked or Laithwaites but I am not trying to compete with them. I want to offer something really special. My favorite wines and producers that I’ve come to love from over 12 years in the industry.
There is an option for a bi-monthly case. This means you pay £47.50 per month and receive the wines every other month. I’m a big believer in the idea of drinking less but drinking better. If you drink one bottle per week then make it something really good. Also, I do recognise that some of my subscribers still pick up a bottle or two with their weekly shop for weekday drinking and then use the bottles in the cases for more special meals.
If I join, am I locked into a subscription?
There is no tie in with Mummy Wine Club You can cancel or pause your box at any time.
So why join a wine club? You get to try new wines and to buy them at great prices. I love all the added perks as well, the virtual tastings and recipes in Victoria’s club sound brilliant. I think wine club membership seems like a great, original Christmas present idea. It’s a gift to last all year and hopefully share with friends. It’s definitely going on my list.
Why not give membership to a wine lover you know alongside one of our Wine Record books to record their tasting notes.