|A luscious Dublin Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon from American Wine Cellars Club, but this is one club I won't be joining.|
Editor's note: Today, I discuss a bad experience with one of those online wine clubs, and the newfound pleasure of shopping at Costco Wholesale after 5 p.m.
By VICTOR E. SASSON
Some of the best values in wine are found by accepting the introductory discount offers of clubs that send bottles right to your door.
For as little as about $5 a bottle, I have enjoyed delicious, drinkable wines from around the world, with no obligation to buy more at regular prices.
So, I gladly accepted an offer from United Airlines -- six bottles of California wine from the American Cellars Wine Club for $41.95, including shipping ($6.99 a bottle).
And my first two shipments also would earn frequent-flier miles.
But American Cellars Wine Club sent out my first shipment of six bottles and then, without notice, another six that cost me $127.26, according to my credit card statement ($21.21 a bottle).
Unlike other wine clubs, including those sponsored by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Zagat, I wasn't given the opportunity to turn down the wine or cancel my American Cellars membership.
What followed were a series of calls to customer service at American Cellars -- just one of the clubs operating under the banner of vinesse.com -- and exchanges of e-mails.
I didn't want to return the second six bottles at my expense, so I offered $41.95, what I paid for the first six, and my offer was accepted.
On Feb. 7, a credit of $85.31 showed up in my card account.
|Shopping at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack is a pleasure after 5 p.m., as it was on Friday, when only one other shopper was ahead of me in the checkout line, above. I bought salt-free raw almonds, organic baby spinach, fresh blueberries and more.|
I use another Costco item, whole peeled garlic cloves from the Christopher Ranch in California, when boiling skin-on sweet potatoes and Kabucha Squash to mash with extra-virgin olive oil, a little salt and Kirkland Signature Organic No-Seasoning.
Liquid egg whites
On Friday, I bought a six-pack of Kirkland Signature Egg Whites for $8.79 or about $1.47 for each 16-ounce carton.
That's about half of what you'd pay for liquid egg whites with coloring or with such additions as diced sweet peppers.
An 18-ounce package of fresh blueberries from Chile were $6.99 and pleasantly sweet. A 1-pound package of organic baby spinach was $4.29, up from $3.99.
A package of Rabbits -- hard, chewy organic granola bars with oats, seeds, nuts and dried fruit -- were $12.74 or about 85 cents each after an instant $4.25 discount.
The product is called 18 Rabbits, but contains only 15 bars.