Club Ball

A new wine merchant hosts a monthly party

Wine clubs are great for those who want to sit back and wait for bottles to arrive at their door with no questions asked–or answered. But they might disappoint if you're looking for more interaction than signing the delivery confirmation.

Clarendon's new Screwtop Wine Bar aims to fix those shortcomings with a program designed to turn wine clubbing into a more educational–and social–occasion.

The monthly dues ($40) include two bottles of wine wines. Owner Wendy Buckley focuses on esoteric varietals, lesser-known regions and smaller wineries. Recent deliveries included a sparkling wine from Moldova alongside a Rhône-style blend from Paso Robles, California. This month, Buckley distributed an Oregon Gewürztraminer.

Each delivery also comes with a food pairing. The norm is cheese–December was Clothbound Cheddar from Jasper Hill–but charcuterie and chocolate also make it into the mix. If you can avoid digging in as soon as you get your share, the complementary food and wine are great to keep on hand as an emergency party kit.

The shop also hosts a monthly pickup party, where participants can sample wines, mingle and collect their bounty. It's good to be a member of the club.

Screwtop Wine Bar, 1025 N. Fillmore St., Arlington; 703-888-0845 or screwtopwinebar.com