But for many, wine clubs have never been practical.
There’s the cost, for one. Most club wines begin at $15 a bottle and don’t include shipping. So you could choose between a shipment of four wines for $80 or pick up eight $10 bottles at your local wine shop. If you’re on any kind of a budget at all, that’s not a difficult decision.
The second thing about wine clubs is the uncertainty. Clubs send you new wines every month. Discovery is part of a wine club’s appeal. Clubs send “good” wines—you’re paying for the recommendations, after all. But we also have preferences.
Enter Winc: The Netflix of wine.
What is Winc?
Winc began in 2012 as a personalized wine club called Club W.
The club’s new name, Winc, reflects the company’s larger ambition of transforming wine packaging, distribution, and sales into a supply chain that brings great wines to your table sustainably and affordably.
To you and me, however, Winc is a wine club. Winc is different because it recommends wines based upon your tastes. Winc is also reasonably affordable (at least relative to other wine clubs).
Recently, Winc sent me a four complimentary bottles to try out. Long story short, they were outstanding, and I just paid for another month!
How Winc works
With every wine, Winc offers tasting notes to help you keep track of varietals and flavors you like best.
Just like Netflix, Winc recommends wines from its partner vineyards based upon a preference questionnaire and your ratings of wines you’ve purchased.
When you’re new to the Winc site, you’ll take a quick six-step questionnaire, which will help define your palate. It asks questions including how you like your coffee and how much you like citrus flavors.
From there, Winc recommends a number of red and white wines based on your preferences. You can either choose which bottles to send or create a membership and let Winc automatically send your top picks every month.
I completed my preferences. I like strong, black coffee, some saltiness, a tad of earthiness and feel “meh” about citrus.
Based on those answers, Winc recommended several wines and I chose a 2014 Wonderful Wine Company White Blend, a 2015 Vinyasa Chenin Blanc, a 2015 Chop Shop Cabernet and a 2014 Red Blend from Alchymist Noir.
I was pleasantly surprised on all counts. Both whites were bottles I would’ve been unlikely to choose for myself or my wife. But we enjoyed them both.
The reds were right in the range of wines I like: Full-bodied and more dry than sweet.
After you’ve sampled your bottles, you can return to Winc’s website to rate the bottles. The ratings will help recommend future wines, but you’ll also receive a $10 credit after you rate your first 10 bottles.
What Winc costs
Winc subscriptions begin at $39 a month for three bottles with flat $9 shipping. But Winc offers shipping on the house with orders of four or more bottles, so that’s the better deal.
Basic Winc bottles start at $13. There are two subscription levels, Featured and Select. At the Featured levels, Winc only recommends $13 bottles. At the Select level, Winc recommends bottles between $14 and $35, so your monthly dues will vary based upon actual bottles shipped.
You can skip a month anytime, but skipping will erase your “queue” of recommended wines. Suddenly get thirsty? You can also log into your account, add bottles and click “ship now” to receive a shipment in 2-3 days. (This doesn’t replace your regular monthly shipment.)
Winc also offers a 100 percent guarantee. If you don’t like a wine, they’ll give you your money back.
Can I give Winc as a gift?
Yes. Winc offers both gift boxes starting at $50 and personalized gift cards mailed to your recipient. The gift cards can be redeemed toward a wine shipment or recurring subscription.
Before you give Winc or another Wine Club a try, there are some things to note.
Obviously, you have to be at least 21 years old. Because of that, you’ll need to be able to sign for your delivery. Winc sends out helpful shipping updates via text, including on the morning your wine is out of delivery. But this can still be a pain if you’re not home to get deliveries and don’t want a bunch of wine delivered to work!
The other thing is, some states are squirrelly about alcohol shipments. Winc can’t currently ship to Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota or Utah. In other states, there are even certain dry zip codes that can’t receive wine shipments. Who knew?
If you can receive wine shipments, Winc is definitely worth a try. Without a doubt, you’ll enjoy some very, very good wines. And, with any luck, you’ll soon be discovering more about your palate and finding new wines on the shelves, too.