Picking up wine when you are out doing errands or at the grocery store might not seem like a big deal, but once you get your wine delivered, you will realize that is the only way you will want to get your wine from now on.
Whether you are a wine lover or an aspiring wine lover, a wine subscription might be just what you need.
Today, I will be reviewing Firstleaf, a personalized wine subscription club that employs a digital algorithm to learn the customers’ tastes and preferences. New members are asked to fill out a brief questionnaire about their wine tastes. Using the customer profile, the algorithm can select unique wines that suit your particular palette.
They can tailor wine selections to specific customers’ preferences with this information. That means you and your bestie might get completely different wines in your monthly box.
After sampling the wines, the customer is asked to rate each bottle to assist in a higher personalization of the subsequent orders, making it a truly customizable experience for the wine drinker.
Without further ado, here is our complete Firstleaf review.
The Story Behind Firstleaf
Firstleaf was founded in 2016 by Philip James. The founder’s main goal was to provide top-notch customer-focused wine club services.
The club’s main aim was to provide good quality wines at affordable prices by working directly with wineries and winemakers.
The Firstleaf founders achieved better product pricing by removing additional production and marketing costs incurred from trading via middlemen.
The club is owned by Penrose Hill and sells all its wine from Firstleaf in Healdsburg, California.
The club’s mission is to provide all wine drinkers with a risk-free opportunity to explore and discover new wine favorites. How can you not love that?
What Makes Firstleaf Different?
The most outstanding feature of Firstleaf club lies in its commitment to meeting its customer’s unique tastes and preferences.
The club’s wine quiz is one of the most distinguishing features that set the service apart from other similar businesses. The wine quiz prompts the first-time client to respond to a few intuitive questions that enable curating an individualized wine shipment that fits the customer’s unique tastes and preferences.
Firstleaf also allows the client to rate each wine in the shipped package according to its level of satisfaction and uses this information to tailor subsequent wine selections, thus ensuring maximum enjoyment of the wines.
Further, Firstleaf’s business model is focused on direct business transactions between the winemakers and the consumers, thus ensuring good wine quality at fair prices.
Upon signing up to the Firstleaf website, you are prompted to fill out a simple 9 question quiz. This quiz will enable the system to select the best-suited wines based on an algorithm of over 1 billion data points and more than 100 types of wines.
Some of the key data points captured by the quiz include:
- Preferred type of wine (Whether you prefer red wines, white wines, rose or sparkling wines)
- Sweet or non-sweet wines (Recommended based on how you like coffee or tea)
- Regional wine preferences (Are you a Napa or Sonoma fan? France or Spain?)
- Wine level of expertise (Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or have expert wine knowledge)
- How much wine is consumed monthly
- Food tastes and dislikes
- Wines you dislike (Merlot or Pinot Noir? Chardonnay or Riesling?)
- Additional more interesting individual questions
You will be required to provide your email to receive the results of the wines selected for you.
Then you’ll receive a recommendation of six wines alongside a substantial introductory discount.
During the ordering process, you can view the exact wines that will be shipped, and they are allowed a chance to swap the wines. Firstleaf will provide you with the expected delivery date to facilitate signing for the package, which has to be by an adult over 21 years of age.
Firstleaf wine club also has a wine school that provides about 30 topics on wine. This online wine resource allows the wine enthusiast to gain an in-depth understanding of some of the world’s most popular wine grapes, the famous wine-producing regions, as well as other questions about the wine-making process.
The information in the wine school is well suited for the naturally curious consumers, aspiring wine nerds and people who aim to impress others with their extensive knowledge about wines.
There are plenty of articles that are a little more laid back that dive into food pairings with particular wines, songs about wines and other fun tidbits.
Firstleaf allows its users to use the service for gifting purposes in addition to their wine subscription.
Depending on the customer’s budget, they offer E-Gift cards ranging from as low as $25 and as high as $200. These E-Gift cards may either be used to pay for shipments subscriptions or purchase individual wine bottles at Firstleaf online stores.
When purchasing a gift card from the website, the recipient’s email is required. They will receive their gift immediately.
If you want to deliver the gift later, Firstleaf recommends sending the e-gift card to your own email. You can then forward the card to the recipient when you’re ready.
However, it is important to note that once purchased, E-gift cards are non-refundable.
You can also gift bundles of wines in packs of 3,6 or 12 as well as one-off award-winning wines. The bundles can be red, white, mixed, sparkling, making the perfect personalized gift.
How Much Does Firstleaf Cost?
The first wine shipment for new members is 6 wine bottles each at $39.95, excluding the applicable sales and shipping tax. The welcome package does not charge any shipping fee; thus, the total cost of the initial 6 bottle shipment is $39.95 plus tax.
After the first shipping, subsequent 6 bottle monthly packages will cost $79.98 plus tax and a $9.95 shipping fee.
After the welcome package, you can upgrade to 12 bottles monthly at $159.95 with no shipping fee required. The 12 bottle package with a free shipping offer only applies if you receive two of the six selected wines.
However, if you wish to customize your order entirely, an additional $13.33 for the shipment of each bottle will be added to the total.
If you need to skip a shipment, the system offers flexibility by selecting a next shipment date that is as far as three months away. The monthly subscription will then automatically resume after the specified delivery month.
Benefits of a Firstleaf Membership
Being a member has its benefits. Here are a few benefits from the Firstleaf membership:
- A Firstleaf membership allows you access to a large selection of wines to choose from (over 200 award-winning wines).
- Members also get to enjoy the fair pricing and tailored taste features of the service.
- Members have a dedicated Wine Concierge team that provides you with information on food pairing suggestions.
- With every delivery, members receive detailed notes on the wine’s properties, including; the alcohol content, serving instructions, acidity, wine body, nutritional facts and food pairings.
- The service also has a referral program from which customers who refer their friend receive a $40 discount on their next order, and the referred friend receives their first six bottles for free (excluding shipping and taxes).
- The club has a 100%-member satisfaction guarantee which ensures compensation of any legally substantiated dissatisfaction claims exclusive of shipping and tax.
Where Does It Ship?
Firstleaf currently ships to 47 American states and in Washington, D.C. There are no deliveries to Rhode Island, Utah, Alabama and Mississippi due to the existing legislation in those states.
The packages are typically shipped within 24 hours of ordering and delivered via UPS ground shipping or FedEx in about two to five business days.
What Is the Return Policy?
The club has a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee which provides the client Firstleaf credit for any legally substantiated claims of product dissatisfaction. This credit allows you to receive a replacement bottle at no extra cost. However, you will still be required to pay for the wine’s shipment and tax.
The main promo currently offered by Firstleaf is the beginner promo, which offers the initial 6 bottles of wine at $39.95 with free shipping. The company also covers shipping fees for members on their typical 12 bottle monthly subscriptions allowing them to enjoy a unique price of $159.95 plus tax.
Additionally, Firstleaf members can enjoy a 40% discount when forming social groupings, such as book clubs with one delivery point.
Popular Firstleaf Brands
Firstleaf has hundreds of different wines to choose from, and they feature wines from all over the world. You can build a bundle with a Chardonnay from Chile, a Pinot from Italy and Rosé from France to hit a variety of different tasting notes.
Some of the award-winning Firstleaf wines include:
- Isolde’s Rapture 2016 Red Blend
- Mannaggia All’Alba 2019 Sangiovese
- Penrose Hill2019 Cabernet Sauvignon
- Ch. Philippe Jacques & Co.2019 Bordeaux Blanc
- Lazy Breeze2019 Sauvignon Blanc
My First Firstleaf Bundle
I would consider myself intermediate in wine, and I particularly enjoyed the wine quiz. I love the questions about other foods I enjoy or dislike to help make my wine selections.
I opted for a mix of red and white wines and received an incredible package that allowed me to explore wines from different geographical locations.
From my experience, it is evident that the club really does focus on their customers’ needs with just my first box.
I also loved the rate function that allowed me to rate my level of satisfaction with the wines to facilitate taste tailoring and further adjust my next delivery to my preferences.
In my first shipment, there was a wide variety of wines were included, based on my quiz results:
First off, I loved the simplicity of this bottle’s label. This California wine is light and an easy-drinking wine, best served chilled. It is a great wine that will get a thumbs up from many different palates. It is definitely on the sweeter side but not overly sweet.
My husband does not like sweet wines, and he definitely didn’t give this a thumbs down!
Tasting Notes: Pear, White Flowers, Apricot
Food Pairings: Chicken Alfredo, Oysters, Caprese
Flavor Profile: Heavy sweet, medium body, low fruit intensity
Another California white wine, but this one is a bit more fruity. This would be the perfect wine to serve at your next book club meeting. The tasting profile will go perfect with pretty much any appetizer and will remind you of a warm vacation!
What more can you ask for from a wine profile?
Tasting Notes: Lychee, Lime, Candied Fruit
Food Pairings: Soft Cheese, Fruit, Charcuterie
Flavor Profile: Strong fruit flavors and acidity, Hint of sweetness
With more than 1,000 thumbs up by Firstleaf wine lovers, this is a bottle you won’t forget. With a striking tiger on the front of the bottle, this white wine from Portugal is a great introduction to Portuguese wines.
This would be a perfect summer wine to enjoy in your backyard while waiting for dinner to cook on the grill.
Tasting Notes: Lemon, Jalapeno, Jasmine, Pear
Food Pairings: Fried food, Marinated Pork, Grilled Fish
Flavor Profile: Complex flavors, Strong acidity and stone fruit
Another California wine region bottle, but a red wine blend this time. This wine has won over 60 awards, and it is easy to understand why. With hints of oak and spice, it has an earthy taste with a touch of dark fruits.
One of the best parts about this blend is that it pairs nicely with everything from cheesy pasta to fresh grilled veggies. I can understand why this is a favorite wine for club members.
Tasting Notes: Plum, White Pepper, Vanilla, Blackcurrant
Food Pairings: Grilled Mushrooms, Pasta, BBQ
Flavor Profile: Full body, Strong tannins
This is a powerfully flavored wine and much different from others in my box. It has earthy flavors, tannins and a hint of sweet fruit.
Crack a bottle open after you’ve let meats cook in the smoker for a few hours. It is great with ribs, sausage or chicken. If you are feeling super adventurous, maybe even pair it with some smoked cheese.
Tasting Notes: Mushroom, Plum, Baking Spice
Food Pairings: Smoked meats, Salty cheese, BBQ
Flavor Profile: Earthy, Moderately sweet, Rich tannins
To round out, my first box was a red wine from southern France, which also happens to be a Firstleaf Exclusive. It is made in the Pays d’Oc region, which gives the winemakers a bit more freedom in their flavor profiles than traditional French wines.
However, that doesn’t mean this wine isn’t the perfect pairing for pretty much any traditional French dish. This Old World wine packs a lot of flavors yet is balanced for casual sipping. This was the best wine out of all the wines in my box.
Tasting Notes: Violet, Cocoa, Red Berries
Food Pairings: Charcuterie, Steak Frites, Traditional French Cuisine
Flavor Profile: Spicy & Sweet, Light body
Here are a few commonly asked questions about how Firstleaf works.
How do I sign up for Firstleaf?
You can sign up for the club by visiting their website and taking the quiz to create a personal wine preference profile.
Then sign up for the introductory order.
After which, you will receive a confirmatory email with details on your order and the Firstleaf wines and the club.
How do I change my wine delivery frequency?
- Log in to your account
- Scroll down and click on your next club order
- On the pop-up calendar, select the preferred delivery date.
How do I cancel my membership?
- Visit firstleaf.club/unsubscribe
- Enter login details and then follow the prompts to unsubscribe
Alternatively, call 800-461-7203 or email email@example.com to request cancellation
What Reviewers/Members are Saying
Firstleaf has numerous positive reviews from multiple sources, including a 4.5 out of 5 rating on the WineClubReviews.
A Business Insider review described the service as an educational, convenient, personal and affordable way to enjoy quality wines globally.
Further, the general customer consensus is that the club has excellent customer service and good quality affordable wines. The club has a 4.6 out of 5 stars on over 300 customer reviews on Trustpilot, ranking it among the leading wine subscription clubs.
Final Thoughts – Firstleaf Wine Club Review
If you are looking to try international and US-based wines in the same shipment, the Firstleaf wine subscription service is definitely worth trying.
Overall the service’s main strong points are its fair pricing, wine varieties, and keen customer focus. A major perk is you don’t even have to leave your house for wine to be delivered to your doorstep.
Cheers and bottoms up!
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