I’ll spare you the build-up, the tension, the great anticipation…I really enjoyed this wine club.
This will be a positive review.
I’ll even be totally honest: This is my first wine club ever.
So maybe I’m biased. Maybe I’ve still got the rosé-tinted glasses on. But I’ve had so much fun and FirstLeaf is so easy to use, I can’t imagine I’m making this up.
Side Note: I signed up for this with my boyfriend, since we would be sharing the six bottles. You’ll be getting a review from someone who knows a little about wine (me) and someone who doesn’t really know anything except that he likes to drink it (him).
First, a few background notes! If you want to skip right to the review, head to “Getting Started.”
For those who want a brief map before we begin
- Firstleaf is a “customer-centric” wine club
- Using a quiz, they identify your wine preferences for an introductory box
- The introductory box of 6 wines cost $39.95
- Subsequent boxes of 6 wines go up to $79.99
- After you’ve thoroughly enjoyed your first box, go on their website to rate the wines you received. These ratings are used to create an even-more-tailored box #2
- Great deal on the introductory box
- Fast delivery
- Fun quiz to start you off
- Easily adjustable delivery date and preferences
- Opportunity to tailor boxes to your tastes
- Very easy to use
- Wines are only available on their website
- Wine quality is hit or miss
- The rating system is very simplified
- Automatically sends your second box if you don’t cancel or rate
Recommendation: If you’re a wine-beginner – yes, 100% try this! If you’re a wine expert – it can be really fun to try new wines, but you might not end up being a repeat customer.
What is FirstLeaf?
FirstLeaf is an online wine club that sends a monthly customized box of 6 wines to your door!
No shopping, no browsing, no debating. They just arrive, you drink, you decide if you like them.
Each month they use your rating of the previous month’s box to tailor your wines to your tastes.
The theory is the box gets closer and closer to your ideal wine cellar each time!
History of FirstLeaf and its Founder?
Founded by Philip James, FirstLeaf is a “customer-centric wine club.”
According to their site, FirstLeaf’s goal is to cut out the middlemen.
These middlemen like importers, retailers, distributors, raise the prices on bottles.
Which makes it harder for you to get a quality bottle of wine at a reasonable price.
FirstLeaf has a team of winemakers who go out and source the best bottles they can find and work with wineries to get these bottles to their members without raising the prices.
They taste over 10,000 wines per year and only select the best 2% for their club. (And they’ve won 1223 awards for their wines, so they must know something!)
Getting Started with First Leaf
It starts with a quiz. How great is that! Who doesn’t love a good internet quiz?
And instead of finding out which potato-chip flavor you are, this one actually gives you useable wine suggestions! So great!
The quiz is 13 questions, all designed to help them identify which wines might be best for you.
The questions range from a number of wine bottles you drink in a month to how adventurous you think you are to preferred sweetness.
Then they get to the flavor questions.
This is always a time of deep soul-searching. Do I really like fruity wines or just that one red? Would I really enjoy a bowl of almonds or am I just clicking it to appear healthy?
Then came the question do you like “Butter on everything,” (the answer is yes). But will we end up with a bunch of overwhelming Chardonnays?!
(Around this time Vasiliy says “Okay, wino, stop trying to hack their algorithm.”)
Thoughts on Getting Started from a Wino:
“Yay! A quiz!” – exact words that left my mouth.
An incredibly comprehensive quiz that made me think all my possible wine preferences had been explored before the recommendations were presented. I’m glad I did it with someone, otherwise, I’d probably still be taking it.
It’s definitely a fun way to start a subscription box! Certainly feels tailored to their customers.
Thoughts on Getting Started from a Novice:
The quiz seems pretty basic. If you know about wines, then you know how to answer the questions to get what you prefer.
If you are new to wines, it’s a good quiz to help find what wines you like and which you don’t. It’s probably especially helpful after you taste them though. I wouldn’t have connected butter and Chardonnay.
The Wine Suggestions
At the end of your quiz, you are presented with 6 wine options. Each one has a photo and a description including region, awards, retail price, club price, and tasting notes.
They even provide you with an image of the bottles (see above) so you can see your white to red ratio.
You do have to provide your email to get your results, which is perhaps the one downside. You’re sort of forced into signing up for their mailing list if you take the quiz and want to actually see what they recommend. Sneaky sneaky!
But also, very smart. Because then you’re sucked in!
If you don’t like their suggestions, you can browse around and select different packs.
These packs include the “Award Winning Wines,” “Founders Favorites,” “Big Reds,” “Refreshing Whites,” “California Classics,” and “Old-World Tour.” Each one is are available for the same introductory price of $39.95 for 6 bottles.
Not ready to join the club or get a full pack? You can find individual bottles at their online store.
Thoughts on Wine Suggestions from a Wino:
They listened to our preference for whites, so the quiz was useful there. Some of the flavor notes seem a little off. They included a Chardonnay, but maybe it will be unoaked.
I’m impressed they picked out a Syrah since that is my favorite red. I hope that’s a sign of a great algorithm and not just a fluke!
Thoughts on Wine Suggestions from a Novice:
The wine suggestions are definitely new. I haven’t heard of most of these wines, so I don’t know what to think about them yet. I’m not sure if the quiz worked since I have no real reference point. But I’m definitely interested to try the suggestions!
If you’re new to wines, I think this is a great way to narrow down your preferences. And if you know about wines, it seems like a really good way to get to try wines you never normally would.
Vasiliy and I were interested in our recommendations so we signed up for the introductory pack.
All you have to do is click “Go to Check Out” and input your information.
It’s super easy. Almost too easy…
According to their site, most of FirstLeaf’s wines retail for between $15 and $30.
With the club membership price, you end up paying roughly $13.33 for each bottle.
But the introductory pack is even further discounted!
Box #1 reduces each bottle down to $6.95. So, in total, you pay $39.95 for 6 bottles! (Retail value of $121).
We went for the introductory pack!
After your introductory pack, the club membership price goes into effect and it’s $79.99 for each additional box. That’s still $13.33 per bottles that, according to them, can be upwards of $15. So, you are getting a discount.
Note: The wines available at Firstleaf are NOT available anywhere else. Essentially these are small batches made for only select retailers. So, their “retail price” is somewhat arbitrary. But keep in mind, you’re paying $7 per bottle for that first box so even if you aren’t sure of the quality…6 bottles for $40 is a reasonable argument for signing up.
The First Box
The first box arrived with our choices in less than a week.
Maybe I’ve lived in NYC for too long, but that is what I call speedy service.
Note: You MUST be “at home” to sign for your box of wines. Otherwise, they will not deliver them and they will charge you a $20 restocking fee. To avoid this scenario, I had the wines delivered to my office
The wines are packaged very well so the risk of breaking is low. However, it is a very heavy box to lug through sweaty city streets. (Is this an argument for buying a car? Maybe.)
I was pleasantly surprised to find that each wine comes with its own card to help you learn more about the wine.