Testing Club W – Bringing Digital Preference Tools to the Wine Game?

TLDR – updated November 1st, 2016

Overall the delivery needs to be signed for, they send a lot of emails and texts and they rope you unwillingly into monthly subscriptions. They then force you to call in to cancel your order. You can ‘pause’ online, but you have to call in to cancel. Quite the inconvenient service. For me, it makes more sense to buy wine from the supermarket.

The long story –

While listening to the Joe Rogan podcast, I heard him talking about the innovative way that ClubW suggests wines.

Try to get wine delivered by ClubW (if you end up buying, you’ll get some sort of discount).

How it Works

Club W is offering a digital algorithm process for selecting the wine that is suited to be best for you. They make decisions based on your self reported food preferences. It’s a quick 5 question survey.

They ask things like:

  • How do you like your coffee?
  • How much do you like to salt food?
  • How much do you like citrus flavors?
  • How much do you like earthy flavors like mushrooms?
  • Do you like eating berries?
  • How adventurous are you with other food.

Club W will then suggest a collection of wines based on your responses.

My Order

My wine life as of today has been that I’m almost 100% indifferent as to what sort of fancy label or magic that is behind the brand. I perceive wine as a very fascinating marketing game where people make crazy pricing decisions based on an unfathomable array of different lifestyle beliefs, media influences and other factors.

I think about Jay-Z selling millions of bottles of sweet champagne at >$200 a bottle, while I personally can’t differentiate “two-buck-chuck” ($2 Charles Schaw red wine) from the expensive red wines.

  • 2014 Alma Libre® Red Blend
  • 2014 Alchymist Noir™ Red Blend
  • 2014 La Muleta® Garnacha
  • 2014 Nouvelle Ère Bordeaux Blend


Club W is to wine what Pandora is to music?

Pandora is amazing. You enter one song that you love and they feed you a limitless collection of music that mimics that song. With a quick thumbs up or thumbs down, you can start to craft the music that is sent to you. It’s magic.

Could this be done for wine?

Well… maybe Club W is working on that. They aren’t going for this angle in their marketing… I just ordered… so time will tell.

These bottles all cost a little more than what I can get regularly good wines for. So for this to be good enough for me to suggest to people, the wine will have to be significantly better than the less-expensive red wine I can grab at Trader Joe’s for a few dollars.

Update October 3rd, 2016

From Alice at (Club W)

Hi Ian,

Happy Sunday 🙂

I received your message via sms. I apologize that you missed your package and since the delivery contains wines, Law states a person aged 21+ must sign to receive it.

It will be reattempt delivered to you on Tue 10/04/2016 by end of day.

Another option is, you can hold it in a FedEx location for pick up. The nearest FedEx location based on your shipping address…



Club W Concierge

This is a bit of a bummer. Because I’m never around the place, the signing for packages is a big pain for me. I guess it’s the law though so I can’t hold it against Club W…. but now I’m going to have to go pick it up at the post office which is already more of a hassle than just buying it at a local grocery store. I’ll keep you updated as progress develops.

can grab at Trader Joe’s for a few dollars.

Update November 1st, 2016

Not cool. Apparently they roped me into a monthly service that I never asked for. So I woke up yesterday morning to learn that I had additional bottles being delivered.

So I’m short another $50 for wine I don’t especially want. That isn’t a big deal, the bigger problem is that I can expect about 20 emails and texts from Winc as they fail to deliver wine because I’m not waiting at home for it to be delivered.

Those things are a minor inconvenience, but they top off the insult by forcing me to call in to cancel my account. I have to sit on hold for 5 minutes before I get on the phone with a person who informs me that they can’t turn the order around.

Overall the delivery needs to be signed for, they send a lot of emails and texts and they rope you unwillingly into monthly subscriptions. For me, it makes more sense to buy wine from the supermarket.

TransferWise Review – International Money Transfer Case Study from USD to AUD

TransferWise Review - From USD to AUD

Get your First Transfer Free

The banks are out to get us. I’m seeking ways to fight back. International money transfers are one of the banks little secrets. TransferWise says they can save us. So I tried them. Here is a TransferWise review.

TransferWise Review
Click This Image for a Free Transfer

Planet Money did a great piece on the invisible financial pipes that move money. This was part of their “t-shirt project.” In it, they talk about the Automated Clearing House (ACH) and what it took to move money from their Kickstarter (e.g. Amazon) to their Chase Bank account. Note: Listen to that podcast. It’s excellent.

In Australia, the banks just offer free money transfers. That’s right. It’s free in Australia with bank apps on your phone. Apps like Cash and Venmo are making it easier in America. Transferwise is the only place doing it internationally right now that I know of.

We’re moving money to Australia this month. We’re going to be testing TransferWise.com to see if we can save ourselves some fees.

TLDR – It’s great. Click here to transfer your first bit of $ for free.

A Transferwise Review

A long time ago in a….

TransferWise came across my desk a long time ago in a paid advertisement on Facebook. I clicked through, but didn’t need to move money at the time. After bookmarking the page, I was excited for the opportunity when I would need to move a good amount of money internationally.

November 20th, 2015

Today was that day I found a need to move money from the USA to Australia.

The Transferwise steps were easy to follow. They have a pretty good UI on the surface, but it wasn’t perfect…

I noticed some strange glitches in their software. At one point, it seemed as if I saw someone else’s screen before it flashed back to my screen. Very strange and disconcerting when you’re moving large amounts of money. This happened a few times. It’s a glitchy user experience.

My International Money Transfer Situation

By the way, I’m moving about $4,300 USD from a CapitalOne account to a Commonwealth Bank account. To clarify, thats a United States savings account to an Australian checking account.

I was able to generate a code on the CapitalOne online banking login and use that code to authorize the transfer with the TransferWise.

To my dismay, I learned that the transfer will take 1-5 business days from CapitalOne to TransferWise. Also, my Australian bank will also require 2-3 business days for the money to clear in that account. So 3-8 days in total to move some digits across a line.

Ahhh the wonders of the modern financial system.

Anyways, I clicked transfer and the deal is in action.

As I go back to the site to check the status of the transfer, they have this cryptic page that doesn’t tell me information about fees. I’m unsure of the fee schedule. I can ascertain the conversion rate because they tell me the amount I’m transferring in USD and what we will receive in AUD:

  • $4,300 USD/$5,923 AUD = Which equals a rate of .725 AUD/USD
  • .72 AUD/USD is the mid-market rate as reported by Google

Testing Transferwise vs Midmarket Rate

So it looks great.

I’m in it now. I’ll wait 1-5 business days for CapitalOne to release the money to TransferWise. Then I’ll wait for however long it takes for the money to move through TransferWise to CommonWealth bank. Finally, I’ll wait 2-3 business days for CommonWealth to clear the funds on their end.

November 24th, 2015

Four days have passed.

The transfer has come through. It all cleared. Here is a screen shot of what I’m seeing via the dashboard of the Transferwise website:

Transferwise Screenshot for Case Study
I’ve blacked out my wife’s name. Nothing more.

Transferwise (as per the screenshot above) tells me that the transfer was completed for $5,923.79 AUD.

Commonwealth Bank Transaction Details


The amount shown in Commonwealth bank is $5,923.79 AUD.

The deal went through. They transferred what they said they would! Huzzah!

Deconstructing the International Money Transfer via TransferWise

This is the actual rate we experienced transferring from CapitalOne in the United States to the Commonwealth Bank in Australia:

$4,300 USD / $5,923.79 AUD = $.72588 USD/AUD

The mid-market exchange rate from Yahoo Finance saw a low of $0.7187 AUD/USD and a high of $0.7216 AUD/USD the day of the transfer. Here is a screenshot:

Transferwise review Mid-market rate vs actual transfer rate

So depending on the time of transfer, that $4,300 USD would have exchanged at a low of $5,983.03 AUD to a high of $5,958.98 AUD.

Here is a table describing the actual mid-market rate vs. realized exchange rate from the transfer:

The Day’s Price Point Mid-market rate at $4.3k USD Realized from Transfer Amount Unaccounted for in Transfer
When Market was Low  $5,983.03 AUD $6,023.25 AUD  $40.22 AUD
When Market was High  $5,958.98 AUD $6,023.25 AUD  $63.27 AUD

So the real cost of the money transfer was between $40-64 AUD (or $28-46 USD).

Free. Nope. Better than the banks? Good question.

November 24th, 2015 (Later that Night)

I received a receipt clearing some stuff up. This was my mistake. I get way too much Email and this was buried in the fray.

Here is a screenshot of it:

TransferWise Review - Final Receipt
I’ve blacked out my wife’s Email. Nothing more.


My guess is that the banks would offer a less attractive rate and also tag on a boatload of fees.

Transferwise did work. The ordering process was easier than going into the bank and talking to a teller. I will use it again next time I transfer money internationally.

Finally, they gave me a coupon code. If you want to use it, you could wire your first 3,000 GBP (roughly $4,500 USD) for free. If I had this code when I made the transfer, I would have actually realized the mid-market rate.

Here is the coupon code. Sure, this is an affiliate deal. You get your first transfer free if you use this link. Also, I get some money… I think. Or maybe just some free transfers. Either way, if you use this link, we both win. I did not write this article just to send you to TransferWise. I would have written ill of them if they sucked. Then I wouldn’t have put any links to send people to their service.

I wrote this article because I think international business needs to be cheaper, faster and more modern. Have a great time traveling dingo lover.

Updated November 20th, 2015 – Gold Coast, Australia