If you’re a casual wine drinker like me, shopping for a new bottle of wine to try can quickly get overwhelming. I’ve often wandered down a random aisle of reds only to exit bleary-eyed with a mystery vintage. And about half the time, it’s something that offends my palate. It’s sort of like Russian Roulette but with cabernet.
Considering the myriad of choices out there these days, joining a wine club to get good recommendations and save money just makes sense.
One of the most popular services out there is Winc Wine. Co-founded by sommelier Brian Smith, their mission is to make experiencing new wines easier and more pleasurable.
So how does the service work, and is it right for you?
We’ve put together a comprehensive review so you can determine if this wine subscription suits your taste.
Obviously, Winc isn’t the only wine subscription out there. So of all the wine clubs and wine subscriptions you can choose from, what makes it so special?
Most traditional clubs select vintages from different wineries and sell it to you as a middleman (which translates to higher prices).
Winc works with partners with wineries from around the world to craft their own vintages. This not only gives more control over the wine, but it allows them to sell it directly to you at a lower price.
In the end, their constant pursuit of great winemakers allows you to experience unique, quality wines and save money while doing it. Something we can all raise our glasses to.
To get started with a Winc wine subscription service, you first take a quick quiz that helps them to establish your palate profile and recommend wines for your first order. Questions include things like whether you like the taste of mushrooms and how you drink your coffee (if at all).
Based on this profile, they recommend four wines for you. You can decide to buy that month’s recommendations or peruse the site for other wines that interest you.
Winc’s wine selection includes the entire gamut from red, white, rosé, sparkling, eco-friendly and vegan (yeah, who knew that was a thing?).
All the wines on the site come with detailed tasting notes and reviews from other customers who have tried them.
Winc also encourages you to review all the wines that you try so that they can get to know your palate better and make recommendations that best suit you. And while their offers are always evolving, at the time of this review, they give a $10 credit after you rate your first 10 bottles.
There’s no membership fee to join the Winc Wine Club. But the monthly subscription costs will vary according to the wines you buy.
Prices range from about $13 per bottle and top out around $45 in general. You can choose from two different types of subscriptions: Featured and Select.
At the Featured level, the service recommends only the more economical bottles of wine. At the Select level, they include some more expensive ones. Again, there’s no fee for either subscription, and you can change your level at any time.
With either membership you select, you’ll get members-only pricing. Many of Wincs’s wines are sold at higher prices in hotels, restaurants, Whole Foods and fine wine stores.
Winc is able to offer you these lower prices because wineries can legally sell directly to consumers. This cuts out the costly middleman that drives prices up. It’s interesting to note here that many other wineries charge their customers’ full retail prices even when selling to them directly.
In other words, the prices you’re getting as a member of Winc do reflect a genuine discount that other wineries don’t always offer. So when it comes to delivering higher quality wines at lower prices, Winc lives up to its word.
Order at least four bottles of wine per month, and the shipping is free. Otherwise, there’s a $9 delivery fee.
If you decide not to curate your own shipment, Winc will automatically ship you the four recommended wines for that month.
And because you have to be at least 21 years old to be a member of Winc, someone over that age has to personally sign for your box of wine when it arrives.
More Price Details and Discounts
One nice feature with Winc Wine is that you can skip a month anytime by contacting customer service.
They also have a 100% satisfaction policy. If you don’t enjoy a particular bottle, let them know, and they will give you credit towards another one.
Deals and discounts do change, but you can usually get at least a $20 discount on your first box of wines. They also offer a $30 credit if you get a friend to join. And, as mentioned, they give you a $10 credit after reviewing your first ten bottles.
Having a party? Good news! Winc offers 10% off on orders of 12 bottles or more.
And for your wine-loving friends, it’s also nice to know they offer limited gift subscriptions.
All in all, there’s a lot to say “cheers” to.
Where Is Winc Available?
Unfortunately, Winc is not available in all parts of the U.S. If you live in one of the following states, they will not be able to deliver to you for now:
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
If you find that the Winc Wine Club doesn’t suit your taste, you can cancel anytime by live chat or by calling them directly.
A pretty package doesn’t always mean great tasting wine, but many customers comment on how beautifully designed the bottles are.
Another nice plus with Winc is that they send recipes that will pair well with each bottle. You can also go to their website for further suggestions for your culinary adventures.
Winc is committed to sustainable farming and is continually looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint.
Their shipping boxes are as compact as possible and made from 70% recyclable materials (and they are also 100% recyclable).
More on Sustainability
If you’re looking for a wine club that’s friendlier to the environment, Winc is a conscientious choice. Here are some ways that they reduce their ecological impact:
1. As mentioned, Winc is committed to sustainable farming. Because they produce most of their own wines, they have more control over farming and use sustainable practices whenever possible.
In cases where they don’t grow their own grapes, they choose farmers that share their values about the environment.
2. When it comes to transportation, Winc uses what is called a “flexitank.” Most standard shipping methods can transport about 12,000 bottles in one container.
In contrast, the flexitank can hold the equivalent of 32,000 bottles! By transporting in bulk, they are able to reduce emissions from transportation and, in turn, reduce their carbon footprint.
3. Winc no longer uses capsules on their bottles. That’s the little plastic or metal part that usually covers the cork and upper part of the bottle. According to Winc, those 3.5 million superfluous decorations a year add up to 75 football fields worth of non-recyclable plastic.
This goes to prove that what seems like a small change can go a long way towards helping the environment!
4. As mentioned, Winc’s shipping boxes are as compact as possible and made from 70% recyclable materials (and are also 100% recyclable). It’s also interesting to note that the pulp trays used to protect the bottles are compostable.
So drinking wine can make your garden grow!
5. Finally, 1% of the sales price from their Pacificana brand goes to 1% For the Planet. This non-profit organization funds various environmental projects around the world in order to take better care of our planet.
A Few Cons to the Service
While this popular wine club is very well-reviewed overall, there are a few drawbacks.
Because you have to be at least 21 years old to be a member of Winc, someone over that age has to personally sign for your order when it arrives. And although they do send out helpful texts regarding your shipment (including the morning of), this can be a little inconvenient (unless you don’t mind wine showing up to your workplace).
Size of Selection
While there’s plenty to choose from and Winc is always adding new wines, their catalog usually features around 50 wines give or take. But considering that the overall quality seems to be quite good, maybe that’s better than quantity?
A Bit About Winc Wine Brands
Winc Produces a wide variety of wines under different brand names. Here’s an overview of some of their popular labels.
Porter & Plot
This is one of Winc’s premium, high-end brands and includes wines from California’s top vineyards.
This brand is billed as “curious varietals from unfamiliar places” and features top-quality grapes from well-respected vineyards. One example is their Spanish Alberiño, a grape that’s rare to California and has a popular 4.2-star rating (out of 5).
Cherries and Rainbows
This wine is specially crafted for the environmentally conscious drinker. Cherries and Rainbows is organic, biodynamic, vegan friendly and has no added sulfur.
This is Winc’s leading eco-friendly wine. As mentioned, 1% of the sales go to fund the non-profit organization 1% For the Planet.
The Wines under this environmentally conscious brand are grown with no pesticides and are also low sugar, low carb, low sulfite and vegan friendly.
A Word About the Summer Water Societé
Their highly drinkable rosé is so popular that it sells out quickly every single year. And to get your hands on a bottle of anything under this brand, you now have to sign up for a membership called the “Summer Water Societé.”
This limited-time membership only runs four months a year - May, June, July and August. It’s an entirely separate membership from the Winc Wine Club. This means anyone (including people that are not members of Winc Wine Club) can sign up.
It also means that ordering bottles under this membership does not override your existing wine membership and is not included with it. You should also know that you can’t take a “pause month” with this membership.
Now that you have the low down, we have a slight bit of bad news. The Summer Water Societé membership is sold out for this year! Sorry, think-pink drinkers.
If you’re a Summer Water Rosé fanatic, a word of advice: sign up early for 2021!
Cheers to Winc
We’re confident that most wine drinkers would be more than happy with Winc’s Wine subscription box. Their mix of easy-drinking and affordable wines with some more high-end bottles from California makes it appealing to a wide range of palates.
And because they craft most of their own wines, they can offer better quality at a lower price. Along with their 100% satisfaction guarantee and curated picks, Winc seems to be genuinely dedicated to making wine drinking easy and more pleasurable.
Though we do need to mention that if you’re a wine aficionado looking for rare vintages, this may not be for you.
That being said, Winc offers a winning combination of quality and affordability that’s not always easy to find. And with the recommendations and home delivery, you can spend less time shopping and more time savoring what’s in your glass.
A hardy cheers to that!
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