Opening a bottle and pouring a glass of wine can be the perfect way to kick off the weekend—and give yourself a little gift made for wine lovers, and you're all set. But shopping for wine can be overwhelming. You find yourself staring at a wall of bottles, trying to remember the label of that one you liked. (It almost certainly had a tree on it. Or a rabbit, maybe?) Or you start reading the backs of wine labels and get even more confused. (Are "notes of leather and earth" a good thing?) All you really want to know is, is this going to taste good, and will I like it?
What you need, of course, is a trusted curator—someone who can get a sense of what you like, and who knows enough about the different grapes, places, and makers to pick the right bottle or bottles for you. Bonus: If they could also deliver it all to your door, you wouldn't have to go to the store! That's where mail-order wine comes in. Sign up for the service and some smart sommeliers will help you fill your homemade wine rack with exactly the kind of wine you want, whether your tastes trend toward dark, rich reds; light, fruity whites; or anything in between. And fear not—not all wines have to cost an arm and a leg. Once you finish, you can recycle or do all kinds of wine bottle crafts! Now let's explore some of the loveliest wine subscriptions out there.
Winc is a wine mail-order wine service that—like a good red—gets
better the longer you keep it. You start by answering six basic
questions about your taste preferences, and based on that they send you some bottles. Then you rate each of the bottles, and based on that information, they send you some more! Month by month, Winc learns more about what you like, and sends more interesting bottles your way.
Prices vary, bottles start at $13
Bright Cellars also has a short quiz, but after that, they simply select four wines each month they think you'll love. The best part of this is that the price never changes. At $80 for four bottles a month, you've got a nice amount of wine to try each month at a not-unreasonable price.
Four wines per month for $80.
One of the oldest and most popular clubs out there, the aptly-named International Wine of the Month Club delivers wines from all over the world to your doorstep. There are four different clubs to choose from. Each month you get two bottles of sometimes rare, always tasty wines—and you get to choose whether you want whites, reds, or some of each. You can also choose to combine with one of their other clubs, delivering things like beer, cheese, and even flowers.
Four levels, from $53 to $90 per month, with shipping.
Wine Awesomeness is all about the story behind the wine. And they're serious about that. Every month's box includes a copy of The Backlabel, a magazine with recipes, stories, and essays. And at less than $20 per bottle, including shipping, the wine is also very competitively priced.
$50 for 3 or $80 for 6 wines, monthly.
Fans of organic food, look no further! This wine club specializes in small producers of organic and biodynamic wines. As with all organic food, it's a little pricier, averaging $24 to $27 per bottle depending on your subscription, but for that you get top notch reds, whites, or a combo of both, all grown without artificial
fertilizers or pesticides.
Starting at $110 per month for four bottles.
Less a subscription service and more an online community and an entirely new way to buy wine, Naked Wines has a really interesting model. Instead of simply getting whatever wine the service sends, members deposit at least $40 each month into an account, which they can use to buy whatever wines they want (wines start at $15 a bottle). Naked Wines then uses the collected money to invest in small wineries, and in return is able to buy wine (and sell it back to members) at a fraction of the price—sometimes more than 60 percent less than retail. Essentially, members are part investors in wineries. It's more involved than your typical subscription. You have to select and order boxes as you need them, for instance. But there are tons of "best seller" cases available for starters, and members are able to chat with each other, as well as winemakers, so you get a lot of information before making a purchase.
Starting at $40 per month.
If you like data, Firstleaf is for you. As with others on this list, you start by answering a number of questions, and then, after receiving your first shipment, you rate the wine you were given. The longer you stay in the club, the more Firstleaf knows about your preferences, and presumably the better it gets at identifying good bottles for you. But a real highlight is the price: Every six-bottle box is $90. So there's no worrying about the price of your wine. And if you don't like a bottle, you'll get a 100 percent refund, no returns necessary.
$90 per month for 6 bottles, including shipping.
Founded in 1972, this nearly 50-year-old company is the OG of mail order wine companies. As you might imagine, they have a huge variety of subscriptions, from an ultra-inexpensive version (two bottles for $25, plus shipping) to clubs for folks who just want rosé, Bordeaux, or anything in between. The company owner, Paul Kalemkiarian, son of the founder, claims he tastes more than 250 wines every month to make his selections. (Sounds like a tough job!)
Starting at $25 per month, plus shipping.
If you're a true explorer, looking to taste some really out-of-the-way wines, but don't want to invest in a whole bottle at once, Vinebox is a great option. Four times a year you'll receive a box containing nine slender little tubes—one glassful each. Forget Cabernet or Pino Gris, these wines have names like Braucol, Est, and more. Find something you love? Vinebox will happily help you find full bottles as well.
$79 per box, delivered quarterly.
Whether you're looking to explore wines around the world, or just want to make sure whatever you grab is going to taste good with dinner, Cellars has your back. They offer a solid dozen different clubs, from the one-bottle-a-month, to a club that limits their goods to wines rated 90 points or better.
From $29 per month.