Palate Club Review [2020]: My Honest Opinion

None of us could predict 2020, or that the way we enjoy wine would change. But as I’ve shopped less in store, and like so many others, turned to delivery services, I wondered: is a wine subscription service like Palate Club worth it?

The number of options for wine subscriptions is staggering: from First Leaf to Bright Cellars and California Wine Club, among countless others, it’s clear we’ll probably only continue to see more and more options.

But there’s a reason Palate Club stood out to me as a wine delivery company I personally wanted to review. Palate Club claims that ‘you’ll never drink bad wine again’ by matching your personal tastes with boutique and sustainable wines.

Those are big claims, and in this review, I’ll give my honest opinion about Palate Club, my personal experience, and whether I’d recommend it for you.

What is Palate Club?

Palate Club is a wine subscription service that tries to match your taste preferences and ship you wine they think you’ll love. All wine they offer is selected by sommeliers, so you know that you won’t just be shipped bulk wine. The wine is also connected to sustainability, from budget prices to more expensive.

It combines, like many competitors, the idea of personalization with technology, allowing you to order wine shipped directly to your door.

Interesting Find!
Why Try Palate Club?

Take the pretention OUT of wine. No need for "experts" to tell you what you "should" like. That's what Palate club aims to do. Develop your own taste based on a unique blind test and proprietary matching over time. Use code QUIZ20 to save 20% off.

Save 20% Off! Learn More
We may earn a referral fee if you purchase with our link at no additional cost to you, the reader.

How do you order?

You can order either using the Palate Club App, available for IPhone and Android, or on their website. The app is intuitive and also provides perks like special offers, tips, and insight.

From there, you can begin your monthly subscription one of two ways.

Personal Quiz

Either way, you’ll find ordering simple and fuss free. I started by taking the Palate Club wine quiz, which asked for my preferences on types of wine, flavors, and elements of wine, like wine acidity and body.

One thing I will say: the quiz was a great feature, but it does require you knowing your wine preferences.

It may be harder to decide how to answer questions if you’re pretty new to wine. But I really appreciated a question about the budget. Unlike some wine subscriptions, which have a flat price, you can decide whether or not to pack your first delivery with budget or more expensive bottles.

The quiz took me under five minutes, and then I was shown what wine I’d receive and filled out my information for payment and shipping. I was also given a custom wine profile (more on this later), showing my wine preferences based upon my answers.

Blind Taste Testing

I also decided to try Palate Club’s blind taste testing option. It works the same way, in that I was asked questions about type of wine and taste preferences. The main difference is that you’ll be given sample bottles and won’t know what wine you’re getting.

The concept is simple: you rate wine without knowing what it is, which means you’re less likely to have a bias one way or another and it can be a great way, at least for me, for discovering new wine.

How does shipping and handling work?

Once I completed the quiz, I was able to add my shipping address–just make sure your state allows wine to be shipped. I didn’t have to pay for shipping, but I did sign for the delivery when it arrived. I was reassured by the fact that I could opt to have another order shipped every one, two, or three months, and even cancel at any time.

I was pleased with the delivery: I was instantly emailed a tracking number and the wine came when I expected. While there was a tiny perforation in one of my boxes, the wine inside was secured with careful packaging and the bottles were in perfect condition.

What I Ordered- And How It Tasted

Pleased as I was with the shipping and delivery, and even the experience of taking the quiz, I was eager to try the wine and see if it was as good quality as I hoped. My main shipment arrived with four bottles of colorfully packaged wine. For as complete of a review as possible, I opted to try Rosé, White, and Red wine.

Villaviva, Carignan Rose, Côtes de Thau, Languedoc, 2018

I started with a Rosé, this one from the Cotes de Thau region of France, which is usually known for its white wines, but now Rosé wines are gaining popularity. Because of its proximity to the sea, I went in expecting a more acidic and crisp wine than you might sometimes expect from a Rosé.

Sometimes I find a Rosé too sweet, but that wasn’t the case here. The Villavilla was a softer sweetness, paired with an off-dry, light body that helped bring out the playful sweet pineapple and grapefruit. I was pleasantly surprised that there was a smooth finish with just a bit of tartness to leave an impression. While not a standout, it was a pleasing drink that would pair well with dessert without being too cloyingly sweet.

Xavier Clua, “‘El Sola d’en Pol’,” Garnatxa, Terra Alta, Spain, 2016

The next wine I tried was this red wine blend from Spain. The blend consists of Garnacha with Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Tempranillo. While it could partially be due to my preference for red wines, this bottle was my favorite from the shipment.

I was met with a lightly sweet and acidic, fruit-forward aroma. Striking me as both rustic and old-world style, the most prominent flavor, sour cherry, was pleasantly balanced but still pronounced. A smooth finish with dry fruit notes, I found it to be very food-friendly and a great option to complement my dinner.

Edoardo Miroglio ‘Bio’ Viognier-Traminer, Thracian Valley, Bulgaria 2016

Next up was this Bulgarian white wine. I wasn’t familiar with the wine region so did some of my own research and found out that Thranican Valley is the most popular wine region, accounting for 75 percent of Bulgarian wine. I was also a little hesitant since Bulgaria is more prized for its Red wines.

The White Blend was a subtle experience, and probably the most understated but also most approachable. More so than the other wines, it was fruit-forward, with subtle pear and apple, and an off-dry sweetness and the acidity was not very noticeable.

The light body made for a gentle tasting, though the finish was short. It’s not a bad wine, but it didn’t leave me with a memorable impression.

Rossidi “Unison” Chardonnay-Gewurztraminer, Thracian Valley, Bulgaria 2014

The final wine from my traditional shipment from Palate Club, perhaps coincidentally, was from the same region of Bulgaria as the previous wine. While it too, was fruit-forward, acidity and tartness distinguished this wine and made it more suited for pairing with dinner.

The fruit level is lighter, and I noted that the sweetness level was balanced with tart acidity with a dry, bright, but slightly bitter taste-. I appreciated the note of vanilla to bring out the sweeter notes. The smooth but tart finish was pleasing.

Interesting Find!
Why Try Palate Club?

Take the pretention OUT of wine. No need for "experts" to tell you what you "should" like. That's what Palate club aims to do. Develop your own taste based on a unique blind test and proprietary matching over time. Use code QUIZ20 to save 20% off.

Save 20% Off! Learn More
We may earn a referral fee if you purchase with our link at no additional cost to you, the reader.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are wine clubs worth it?

 

Before taking any review about wine clubs to heart, the first step is to honestly assess whether or not a wine club is worth it. Wine clubs, like the most subscription or delivery services, are not inherently worth it or not worth it. Rather, the value of a wine club depends on your needs, lifestyle, and why you’re looking into them in the first place.

At their best, wine clubs like Palate Club offer you the chance to experience wine you may not have otherwise, provide an option for easy access, and may even act as a way to broaden your tastes. They can also be convenient for entertaining. That said, most wine clubs, while many are in a reasonable price range, won’t save you money vs buying at a local store.

Simply put, you’ll also be paying for the service itself, as well as delivery, which, even if free, is part of the cost you’re really paying. Furthermore, some may simply not be interested in worrying about deliveries, or may only drink wine occasionally.

Why should I join a wine club?

 

To that end, you should join a wine club if and only if you first assess its policies, wine, and terms. If they are agreeable with you, make sure you can select a plan that works for you; many even allow a month to month options.

You should join a wine club if you’ve been wanting to try new wine but are not sure where to start; if you have favorite wines that are hard to access; if you enjoy regularly experiencing a variety not easily available to you; or if you enjoy entertaining ad don’t have time to always look for wine at your local stores.

How much do wine clubs cost?

 

The cost of wine clubs varies greatly based not only upon the wine club in question, but also on the services offered and the quality and origin of the wine. Of course, you’ll see a range of prices from the same wine club when multiple plans are offered. On average, you’ll find plans that run forty to ninety dollars per month.

What is the best wine club?

 

The best wine club is one that matches your personal tastes, lifestyle, and budget. In general, there are two main models for wine clubs.

The first one has an element of surprise, curating wines for you and offering a variety month to month. While the best of these types of wine clubs offer information about the wines you can and will receive and allow you to add some preferences, the concept is to act as a way to introduce you to new wine that may, in fact, surprise you.

The second, and perhaps more common model, has more to do with customer preferences and selections. Many allow you, for instance, to take an initial quiz and the wine you’re shipped is curated based on your indicated preferences in terms of wine type, flavors, varieties, and other factors. Some will allow you to completely customize your order, while others will allow you to tweak it or request changes to future orders.

Overall, the best wine club is one that is transparent, sources quality wine, and offers customer-friendly policies, with options for customer interaction and feedback to make orders more personalized.

What is the cheapest wine club?

 

By all means, it’s understandable that the budget is a concern when selecting a wine club. You should never sign up for a wine club that you can’t afford. At the same time, however, the cheapest wine club is not always the best value. Keep in mind that wine clubs at the least expensive end, for a little as thirty dollars per month, could be selling you bulk or cheap wine.

There are other ways the cost of wine clubs is reduced, such as shipping you smaller or fewer bottles per month, so, likewise, it’s important to compare not just direct costs but the overall cost per volume.

The cheapest wine clubs include options like Vinebox, The California Wine Club Premiere Series, Gold Medal Wine Club, and Cellars Wine Club, all under fifty dollars per month.

What is Palate Club?

 

Palate Club is one of many wine clubs based in California. It claims to focus on artisan wines with an innovative digital space, with a commitment to sustainability.

Where does Palate Club Wine Come From?

Palate wine is curated from around the world, which has pluses and minuses. There are standards to select the wine, though I wasn’t clear exactly what standards they follow. With complete labeling, though, it wasn’t hard to trace a wines’ region. I ordered the most budget friendly wine, but Palate Club does also offer aged wines. I’d like a little information about how their sommeliers select what vineyards to source from, but there’s enough information I am confident that it comes from a wide range of places.

How does the Palate Club App Work?

One of the best things about Palate Club is the ability to constantly tweak your wine selections and flavor profile, meaning you’ll get wine closer to your preferences. After you’re shipped your order, you’re encouraged to rate wines and update your preferences using the wine app. This provides a more personal approach and allows you to respond to your personal experience.

What is the Tasting Kit?

The Palate Club Tasting Kit allows you to sample wines blind. After you join, you are promoted to select half bottles of red or white wine, or a combo of both. This is where the rating and algorithm driven wine app really comes into play: you are trying wine without knowing what it is, potentially eliminating any bias and helping you discover your true personal preferences, rather than what you might assume they are. It’s a helpful way to start a subscription.

Does Palate Club Offer Food Pairing Advice?

While Palate Club does offer tips and advice through the app, they don’t yet have any wine pairing advice or features, but do state they plan on including this in the future. For now, members will have to look up the wine themselves to see what food pairings are best.

How long does Palate Club delivery take?

In my experience, delivery and shipment time are fast and consistent. Per company guidelines, orders are typically shipped within 48 hours. Delivery dates do vary based upon where you live, but you’ll get a tracking number emailed.

Be careful to be there when delivery arrives: you’ll need to sign. If you do miss the delivery you’ll be sent an email notification.

How much does Palate Club cost?

Palate Club is right in the middle when it comes to cost, with wines just a bit over $17 a bottle to right under $60. That means you’re getting neither exceptionally cheap or rare or vintage wine. Each order is priced separately; unlike some wine subscriptions, you don’t pay a flat price per month but based upon the total cost of your shipment. Priced per bottle and at four dollars per bottle, shipments range from just under $70 to a little under $250. You have control over how much you spend.

How do wine subscriptions work?

Palate Club allows you to begin a subscription via their website or app, and you can start with a blind tasting kit or a traditional one. When you sign up, you’ll be prompted to provide payment information. After your first shipment, you can check any time when your next order is coming (which is when payment will be due). While it automatically goes to monthly shipments, you can adjust to receive packages every other month or once every three months.

How do you cancel Palate Club?

Cancelling Palate Club is easy; in fact it is far easier than some competing wine subscriptions. All you need to do is log into your account and remove payment information. Once your associated card is removed, your subscription is automatically cancelled, meaning you don’t need to contact customer service. Just remember that you’ll need to cancel your subscription before the next package is shipped.

How do I contact Palate Club?

I was initially wary of the contact form Palate offers–it’s a simple online form vs a direct phone line. You will give your information, and it can be about anything from a simple question to asking for a refund (offered for a single bottle of wine, but not an entire package). However, while I’d prefer additional options, the response from customer service, in my experience, was both quick and courteous

Buying Decision: Give Palate Club a Try

I am happy to say that, for the most part, I was pleased with the service Palate Club provided. The delivery and shipping was prompt and easy to follow, and I liked that I could control the price point of my wine. Flexible subscription options, the rating on the app, and personal flavor profiles not only made the wine a better fit but also even taught me a little more about my own wine preferences.

That isn’t to say Palate Club is for everyone. You won’t find artisan wine or rare vintages. The wine I ordered was all pleasant and mostly great with dinner and entertaining, but didn’t leave me with a long-lived impression. For the price point, prompt customer service, and flexibility, however, I do think the service was worth the price point.

Where To Buy: See Subscription Options Here.
Interesting Find!
Why Try Palate Club?

Take the pretention OUT of wine. No need for "experts" to tell you what you "should" like. That's what Palate club aims to do. Develop your own taste based on a unique blind test and proprietary matching over time. Use code QUIZ20 to save 20% off.

Save 20% Off! Learn More
We may earn a referral fee if you purchase with our link at no additional cost to you, the reader.

Pros

  • Quick shipping and delivery, with tracking options
  • Customized taste profile
  • App for easy rating
  • Affordable and food-friendly wine
  • Flexible subscription options
  • Easy Cancellation

Cons

  • Sourcing standards could be more clear
  • No food pairing suggestions
  • No more ‘luxury’ wine
  • Can only refund one bottle in order, through contact form
  • Not exceptionally unique wine
Interesting Find!
Why Try Palate Club?

Take the pretention OUT of wine. No need for "experts" to tell you what you "should" like. That's what Palate club aims to do. Develop your own taste based on a unique blind test and proprietary matching over time. Use code QUIZ20 to save 20% off.

Save 20% Off! Learn More
We may earn a referral fee if you purchase with our link at no additional cost to you, the reader.
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Erin Jamieson

Erin Jamieson brings the latest information to you on wine flavors and types so you can enjoy your next glass to the fullest. In the past, she covered wine selections for weddings and engagement parties. She also previously worked with a private chef company to suggest the perfect wine pairings and believes there is a flavor for every occasion. Erin Jamieson holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Miami University of Ohio.

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