Last updated: January 31, 2017
In the wine industry, there's no real difference between the traditional "wine club" and the new "subscription box" but there are certainly some wine of the month clubs who feel more like your next subscription service than your mom's wine of the month club.
Why have we called out these box services as being different than "wine clubs?" Because these are modern services with all the digital-era conveniences you expect. Some offer extreme personalization (they all use palate profile systems to get the heart of your personal preferences), you can manage every aspect of your account online (including reviewing wines and reviewing past shipments to remember your favorites), and you get timely shipping notifications and tracking info—which is important because an adult has to sign for delivery of your wine.
Key differentiator: You can pick every bottle in your shipment. Or you can let them pick.
Winc (as Club W) led the way with the personalized subscription box service model for wine, and they're still leading the way in delivering great value at great prices. They've done this by rethinking their business model—they used to just buy existing wine and distribute it. Now they work directly with growers and winemakers to cut out the middlemen and save you money.
The selection of $13 Winc wines are typically meant to be consumed within a year of receiving them. Some of their higher-end wines, which you can add to you box at any time, could be aged. If you're a red wine lover, we think you should plan on choosing the premium reds instead of the $13 reds, they're worth the extra dough and we find they're better than anything you'd get at Bevmo in that price range.
Video sommelier reviews of the wines, a food pairing blog, and your choice of either palate-perfect selections or a totally custom box each month make this our top pick for a wine subscription box service. You can also choose any number of bottles for each shipment (with six or more you get free shipping) and skip a month whenever you want.
Care about the planet? Winc is your club. They have a sustainability mission to reduce carbon emissions by optimizing their supply chain, and they intentionally seek out organic growers and winemakers who focus on minimal intervention (some call this Natural wine).
Key differentiator: You can customize every aspect of how much wine you receive and when you receive it.
Tasting Room is another innovator in the wine space. Their box service (an offshoot of the Lot18 flash sale model) focuses on personalization through identifying your WinePrint (your wine preferences). While you can't choose the contents of your box, the wines you get are of a consistent quality and suited to your profile (after your first shipment)—and we think the wines, competitively priced with the other box services on this page, are of the same quality.
For the customer who wants to control everything, this is your club. After you sign up, you can switch your shipments to 2 or 6 bottles (though the standard 12-bottle case is the best value), and you can change this up whenever you want. You can also choose monthly or bi-monthly shipping options (quarterly is the default) and have wine shipped whenever you want (this is a really cool feature). You can even cancel online.
Tasting Room is definitely taking the "wine autoship" approach to their box service. They focus on figuring out what kinds of wine you like and making your regular wine subscription easy and convenient.
Key differentiators: There's a WineAwesomeness Spotify channel which pairs each wine it ships with a song and reorder of your favorites come with free shipping.
WineAwesomeness is a three- or six-bottle monthly wine subscription that takes the subscriber on a journey, typically regional, which comes with an excellent wine magazine in shipment, detailing the region the winemakers, and the wine featured. BackLabel also includes in-depth wine knowledge, recipes, and those signature music pairings.
We especially love the themed shipments, which most recently have included a 2016 Wine Retrospective, a Film Noir pairing, and a Grilled Cheese theme, complete with ooey gooey grilled cheese recipes to pair the wines that were shipped.
As with all "subscription" services, shipping is included and they have great introductory offers (save $10 or $15 depending on which size shipment you're getting. Robust online account management includes changing your shipment frequency to bi-monthly or quarterly, as well as skipping a month at a time or delaying shipments until you're ready to start receiving them again.
WineAwesomeness has a very subscription-oriented view of what wine buying should be, which is pretty cool. They introduce you to new wines each month and if you find your favorites, not only is reordering easy, but if you can wait to receive them until your next scheduled shipment, you'll get free shipping — effortless wine buying to be sure.
Great gift! If you're looking for an easy-to-afford wine subscription to give as a gift, you've found it. The packaging is great, the experience is high-end, and the wines are better than their price tag would indicate.
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