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what you need to know

Is MVA a wine club?

MVA is the wine club that we have dreamed about.  However, while building MVA, we struggled to use the word "club". That's because MVA is a classic case of a venture born out of frustration. After benchmarking as many wine clubs as we could, we convinced ourselves that we could do it better, curated with total integrity.

From a structural point of view, we created 'Maison Vernhes' to be able to import the selected bottled cuvées directly from producers anywhere in the world so our curation wouldn't be limited to what is already imported. It also enables us to keep the price fair for such quality wines. We accepted that membership at the club would be capped because typically the wines we like have limited productions. All this has added a few layers of complexity to the typical wine club (although it must be said that some of them import large tanks of wine which are then blended and bottled domestically and that ... cannot be easy!)  Last but not least, we plan to involve members in the scouting. So we prefer to call MVA a wine alliance.

How do I become a member?

Memberships are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, and require a commitment to receiving 2, 4, or 6 consecutive collections. Each collection is a case of six carefully selected wines. A new collection is released every 2 months.  Members can opt to receive one or two cases of the 6 wines which constitute each collection. If you cannot access the current or next collection because they’re sold out, you can commit to collections further in the future, when we’re able to source more wine and, as a result, make more memberships available.

Is there a membership fee?

No. You pay only for the wines that you receive. In order to become a member, all you need to do is to commit to receiving at least 2 collections of wine from MVA. Each collection is a case of 6 different wine collaborations curated by Maison Vernhes. No collections are alike. A new collection is released every 2-3 months.  There is a discount if you commit to 4 collections instead of the minimum of 2 and a further discount if you commit to 6.

Is membership time based?

No membership is not time based. However, there is a relationship with time. For example, if you become a member by committing to receing two collections and these collections are released 2 months apart, you will effectively be a member between the moment you sign-up and the moment when you receive your second collections. These two moments will rarely be more than 3 months apart.  If you commit to 4 or 6 collections, the duration of your membership will increase accordingly.

What is the goal of our curation?

Have you ever found a wine that you loved and was affordable? How wonderful is that?  You started buying it regularly only to find that a couple of years later it had become two or even three times more expensive once the rest of the world caught up.

Our goal is to find these wines before they become expensive. Because we know they most likely will become more expensive, our quest must never end.  These wines must be on par with or better than many more expensive wines in terms of quality and personality. We are definitely not looking for wines that are ok for the price.

How are the collections curated?

Curation happens every 3 months at Maison Vernhes in Val d’Orcia, Tuscany, where the founders of MVA — known as the “Elders” — spend a week blind tasting over 50 pre-selected cuvées. For each blind tasting, we invite winemakers of formerly selected wines as well as chefs we admire. The curation process is at least 2 collections ahead of the latest collection being delivered.  A wine is selected only if it receives unanimous approval from the participants.  

So far, we've been fortunate that more than 6 wines have received unanimous approval by the end of each blind tasting week. This is a testatment to the pre-selection work and it enables us to conduct these blind tastings every 3 months rather than every 2 months. It gives us the necessary time to focus on the ongoing pre-selection, featuring winemakers from terroirs known to have the potential for great beauty.

Can I order individual bottles?

Yes, we set aside a few invividual bottles from each collection to ensure that members are able to reorder a few of their favorites, before the next collection arrives.  Click on an individual collection to see the individual bottles and order them.

Why artisanal wines?

First, we’ll explain why not “industry” wines. Some wine producers are more influenced by taste trends and market analysis than by improving the quality and individuality of their product. Instead of respecting the unique local conditions of their own vineyard, they’ll use additives in an attempt to match the perceived profile of a region. This is the wine industry at work, and we reject it.

Artisanal wines are less likely to take shortcuts or indulge in these unhealthy excesses. They better reflect the singular passions of their producers and the very soil from which they came. Not every artisanal wine is extraordinary, of course. That’s why we taste relentlessly, pursuing wines that are elegant, well constructed, and that genuinely express their terroir. Our dedication ensures you’ll have the best chance of discovering wines that inspire the emotions you’re seeking.

What is a collection, and how often are they released?

A collection is a curated set of 6 wine collaborations, delivered to members every 2 months. Once delivered to us, the wines within a collection are not reordered. In fact, they are typically no longer available at the winery. However, a few bottles from each collaboration are set aside from collection shipments for members to be able to reorder individual bottles of their favorite wines until the next collection arrives.  New vintages of cuvées selected in previous collections are not submitted for subsequent blind tasting curation. This is about discovery, rather than tracking vintages. We will also produce occasional, optional one-off collections based on a compelling theme.

Why is membership capped?

It is simply due to the nature of the wines that we pick for each collection. They come from small artisanal properties so their production is limited. It's hard to scale quality.

What is the price of a collection?

The price of a collection of 6 wine collaborations is $250 if you commit to receiving the minimum of 2 collections.

If you commit to receiving 4 successive collections, the price per collection goes down to $230 per collection and $220 per collection if you commit to receing successive 6 collections.

These prices are excluding the shipping cost. We've negotiated a flat shipping fee of $20 per case of six bottles regardless of which state it's going to and $35 per case of 12 bottles.

Will the price of individual collections change over time?

After curating our first 3 collections, we’ve become confident that this is the lowest price we can maintain while consistently delivering on our promise of quality. Of course, there are market forces at work that are stronger than our curation which is why we recommend committing to more than 2 collections which secures their price over a longer period of time.

It’s difficult for independent, artisanal winemakers to scale the love and labor they put into each bottle.  Our enduring challenge is to discover unforgettable wines before their cost is driven up by hype. When we succeed, we may contribute to a wine’s rise in price and relative scarcity, but we’ll know its makers will have earned it.

Can a non-member buy a membership as a gift for a friend?
Absolutely. All you need to do is register and then click on ‘Gift’.
Are these wines “natural”?
In many cases, yes. But being natural doesn’t mean a wine is good. There are useful certifications (such as Demeter) that help producers communicate their approach to vine growing and winemaking. However, these certifications don’t account for taste, which is our priority. So while our values align with natural production and sustainable agriculture, we don’t allow labels to distract the unbiased judging that occurs during our blind tastings. Our focus stays solely on our senses and our emotional response.
Are these wines “bio” or “organic”?
Pretty much always, but again, we’re driven first and foremost by taste. As one of our selected winemakers puts it: “I don’t put a bio logo on my bottles because I don’t want it to be a commercial criteria for my wines. I want people to come back to my wines just because they love them.”
I don’t know wine very well. How will I know how to appreciate these?
Regardless of your expertise, all that matters is whether you like a wine, not whether you’re supposed to like it. Your taste is uniquely yours and, as you try more wines, that taste will evolve. Curiosity is the most important trait to get started. Then, as you enjoy more wines, your passion will grow and so will your knowledge. The MVA community is also here to help and share their expertise. After all, wine is all about sharing.
I know a lot about wine. What’s in it for me?
Discovery. The more you know about anything, the more you realize how little you actually know. Even the world’s foremost wine experts are in search of new wine experiences — and new knowledge. For everyone who truly appreciates wine, the eternal quest is to recapture the emotions you felt upon trying something you loved for the first time. Not everyone enjoys this exploration as much as we do, or has the time for it. That’s why it’s our mission to invite you along for the ride.
How do I invite friends to MVA?
Once you’re a member, you can invite up to 10 friends. For every invitee that becomes a member, you’ll receive an additional invitation, and they’ll receive free shipping on their first collection. If 3 or more of your invitees become members, you’ll receive a special bottle of champagne (not otherwise for sale). The two members with the most accepted invitations are invited to Maison Vernhes for the next blind tasting.
Will there be a MVA app?
Yes. The MVA app will be highly social, with features not available on the web. Members will be able to discover artisanal wine gems from around the world, share their opinions on wines selected by MVA, and connect with participating winemakers, chefs, sommeliers, and — of course — the Elders. Each member will have a simple profile with details about their taste in wines, and most importantly, will be able to suggest wines they think should be part of the selection process. If a member’s suggestion is included in a collection, they’ll be invited to the next blind tasting at Maison Vernhes.
Why the artwork on the labels?
We believe the winemakers we select are artists in their own right. To emphasize this belief, we pair each collection with a piece of visual art by an emerging artist, which becomes the background for all the labels included in the collection. Next year, MVA will launch an artist in residence program at Maison Vernhes in Val d’Orcia, giving the artists an opportunity to be inspired by this beautiful corner of Tuscany - like so many before them.
What’s your take on prestigious wines?
The only thing you know for sure is that you’re paying for the label. Some prestigious winemakers are trying as hard as ever, but others are resting on their laurels. Unlike in sports, they don’t have to compete for their title again the following year. When they fail to deliver, they get the benefit of the doubt, while up and coming winemakers have to patiently grind away.
I love big cabs and oaky chardonnays. Will you send me some?

Probably not. You don’t need MVA for big cabs and oaky chardonnays. Those two categories of wine are very well served in the US. In fact, most industrial wines have targeted those taste profiles and are prepared to use whatever additives necessary to replicate them. We reject that method of winemaking.

However, we do not reject power and oak. Power and concentration can be wonderful characteristics for wine, especially when combined with contradictory notions such as elegance and delicacy. And oak can be a welcome influence, but only when well integrated. If you can distinctly taste it, it hasn’t been.

When does my Membership become active?

The moment when you commit to receiving at least 2 collections, even if the first collection that you will receive is months away because collections shipping in the meantime are already allocated. Rather than creating a traditional waiting list, we implemented this version which gives you access to individual bottles before receiving your first collection.