Winc (Formerly Club W) Review – Is This Wine Subscription For You?

Winc started in 2012 as Club W. It’s obviously a wine club, but the rebrand aims to present the club as a bit more relaxed and affordable. Regardless of the name, they are the same, easy-going wine club they’ve been since the beginning.

In fact, I like the name change, simply because it’s a nod to friendly customer service, simple monthly plans, and filling your table with inexpensive but quality wines you’ll love. It’s almost as if my wine is winking at me through the glass, beckoning me to drink.

The idea of a wine club isn’t new, but Winc’s execution is perhaps some of the best I’ve seen in a wine club. It’s clever and it works. Tack on the affordability I experienced when subscribing, and you’ve got yourself a true winner.

Other wine clubs start at $15 per bottle and that doesn’t even include shipping. It’s a no brainer that you’d rather go to the local liquor store and pick up eight bottles for $10 each than you would pay for shipping and only have four bottles at your doorstep $80 later.

If you’re on a budget, Winc offers practicality and eliminates the uncertainty that other wine clubs have. Winc sends you wine every month and delivers great wines based on your preferences rather than others’ recommendations.

What is Winc?

Winc is decidedly different than other wine clubs because they choose wines for you based on your preferences. In fact, there’s a quiz. Don’t worry, you don’t have to study for it. It simply asks what flavours you like, and then compiles your shipments based on that information.

As you review the wines you receive, your boxes get better. They truly tailor your subscription to you, rather than sending you the same thing they send everyone else. We’re all different, and your wine subscription should be, too.

Here’s a glimpse into how the quiz works.

Ooo, sounds fancy already.

Let’s do this!

Here are the six questions they ask upfront, to get a better idea of who you are and how your palate works.

Some of these may seem odd, but I can tell you first-hand that whatever formula they used to come up with these questions truly works. The wines I received were more suited to my preferences than any other wine club I’ve tried in the past. We’ll get to my selections in a bit.

As with a lot of other wine subscriptions, Winc also provides tasting notes so you can keep track of the flavours, varietals, and verticals you like the best. It’s like the Netflix of wine clubs. Actually, I stole that. They do actually call themselves that.

However, it’s true. They recommend wines to you from partner vineyards, based on the questionnaire you fill out and the ratings you give the delivered wines. That’s why it’s more critical than ever with this club that you make sure you review what you try.

Subscription Plans

There is just the one subscription plan with Winc. You take the quiz, you choose your preferences, and your order. However, that’s not to say you can’t customize your shipments, which you should have already guessed from the fact that they try extremely hard to learn more about you and what you like.

After you take the questionnaire, they ask you how many bottles of red and white wine you would like. I enjoyed this part of my experience because it was fun to click the button and watch it change.

It defaults to two bottles of each, like so:

But when you click the arrows, it changes one bottle at a time.

From four bottles of red…

…all the way back to four bottles of white.

I chose two of each, but what I love about this level of customization is that you don’t get it with any other wine club, at least not that I have found. You can typically choose half and half or all of one kind.

You can’t toggle with your bottles to indicate that you mostly like white, but a red every now and again is fine, too. Winc allows you to choose the exact assortment you’d like to see in your box.

While there aren’t different subscription levels, you can choose whether you want Winc to suggest featured wines or select wines. Featured wines are $13 per bottle and select wines range from $14 to $35 per bottle. Your monthly cost fluctuates if you choose the select option.

No matter what, you get to experience a level of customization that makes you feel like your subscription is made just for you with exactly the kinds of wine you want on the budget you can afford.

Rating Your Wines

After you receive your wines and try them, it’s important to return to the website to rate them. When you log in, you can navigate to your wines with the About My Wine button on your dashboard.

Each wine selection in your box contains tasting notes and a rating scale containing up to five stars. Rate each one so that Winc learns from your experience and continues to customize your future boxes.

Each of your selections also comes with a suggested recipe for pairing. Get the recipe and enhance your entire tasting experience. You won’t regret it.

This feedback is applied to your future orders so you’ll continue to enjoy Winc every time you receive a box. It’s fun, interactive, and highly customizable without a lot of work.

Rewards and Perks

After you rate your first ten bottles, you’ll get a $10 credit towards your next box. Keep reviewing the wines you receive and you’ll keep getting rewards toward future purchases.

You have access to Winc favourites, so you can always order more of what you like. Plus, on orders of four bottles or more, shipping is free, so the true value comes from bigger shipments.

You may also want to take advantage of referring friends. Every friend you refer gets $22 off of their first shipment, and you get a bottle for each of their first two shipments. Your total rewards are $30 for each friend you refer who signs up.

Keep in mind that you can always skip a month whenever you want, but it will erase your lineup of recommended wines. On the contrary, if you’re extra thirsty, you can add bottles to your cart and ship now to get them in a hurry. It won’t replace your monthly shipment, it just adds to your number of bottles.

There’s also a 100% money-back guarantee, so if for any reason you don’t like the wine, you can get your money back at any time.

Shipping

Like all other wine club subscriptions, you have to be 21 to order, because you’ll need to sign for it when it arrives. However, shipping notifications make it easy to arrange your schedule so you’re home when that happens or reschedule your delivery if that time doesn’t work for you.

Once you place your order, your box typically ships the next day, and it arrives in 2-3 business days. Because of its distribution network, it never takes too long to get your wine.

You can also sign up for text notifications of your delivery, and because the wine comes via FedEx, you’ll get a tracking number that makes it easy to track your shipment online whenever you want.

Unfortunately, because alcohol shipments are highly regulated, there are some states where Winc is not available. Those states include Utah, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Michigan, Kentucky, Hawaii, Delaware, Arkansas, Alabama, and Alaska.

The downside to Winc is that many other wine subscription boxes will deliver to almost every state, excluding Alaska and Hawaii. That means that there are plenty of other wine subscription options that will work better for you if you live in a state where Winc can’t deliver.

My Experience

All of this general information gives you a good idea of how Winc works. However, my experience is unique to me, because of how highly personalized your wine boxes can be. I’d love to tell you a little bit more about how it worked for me and why I loved it.

Signing Up

I already went through the sign-up process above, including the questionnaire and the customization options. This was my experience, images and all. Your answers to the questionnaire will, of course, be different, but your experience should be nearly identical.

You answer the questions, pick your ratio of red to white, and Winc will populate your cart with their choices for you, based on your unique preferences.

After I took the quiz, here’s what it put in my cart. I even got a $20 discount! Pretty exciting, and affordable.

From here you can add or remove bottles if you’d like before you finalize your order. I kept mine the way it was, and I’m glad I did! I’ll tell you why in just a bit.

After completing the order, I got a confirmation email, as usual. Then I waited. The next day, I got a text update that my shipment was on its way, and the estimated delivery was three business days.

I signed up for text updates because I love it when they text me that it’s on its way. I get so excited I practically sit by the front door until it arrives. Luckily, my order shipped the next day and it only took 5 days to arrive, counting two weekend days, so I didn’t think that was too bad.

The only problem? It was on Thursday. That meant I had to wait the entire weekend for my shipment to arrive!!!

My Shipment

There’s a bit of good news, too. My wines came a day early. That means I actually got them on Sunday. We weren’t at home, but when we came back, there was the box on the front porch. Now, how did they get away with delivering it when no one was home to sign for it?

It’s a mystery to me. Maybe I have wine gremlins living in my basement. At any rate, thanks, FedEx, because I got to enjoy my wines even earlier than I expected.

Hooray!

Unboxing

This is always one of my favourite parts of receiving a wine subscription. Second to actually drinking it, of course. It was packaged very nicely, with custom cardboard inserts to hold the bottles steady and safe.

The handle at the top was nice because it made it easy to carry. I also enjoyed the custom Winc packing tape with little Ws all over it. Nice touch.

Upon opening the flaps at the top, I saw a few inserts. One was an advertisement for their 31 Nights of Halloween special. That wasn’t one of my primary concerns at the moment, however, the marketing was cute and clever.

Here for the BOOS. Haha. Get it? Boos? Moving on…

On the back, there were a 31 Nights of Halloween Boozy Bingo card. If you’ve never watched 31 Nights of Halloween on Freeform, you’re truly missing out. Think Harry Potter, Hocus Pocus, and all kinds of other fun, Halloweeny type shows and movies.

There was also a very nice pamphlet welcoming me to Winc.

Inside was a quick message from Winc.

After that, I was in for a real treat. The entire book is dedicated to an A to Z guide about wine. There was a wine term for every letter of the alphabet.

Even if you already know everything there is to know about wine, you can’t deny that this is fun, entertaining, and educational.

Following the A to Z guide is an overview of some of the most popular Winc wines, describing what they are, how they fit into the Winc offering, and why they’re great options for furthering the Winc mission.

Under all of the paperwork was my wine. Queue butterflies in the stomach. It’s all just so exciting!

The only thing I felt like I was missing was a paper in my hand describing my particular selections. However, it’s all online to enable a better, more convenient rating system so your preferences are instantly updated. I suppose I can get behind that.

My Selections

Winc’s suggestions were spot on. They were so yummy. Is yummy a good word to describe wine? I’ve decided that it is. I’m so glad I kept the shipment the way it was before I completed my order. My only regret is not ordering multiple bottles of each flavour.

2018 Pacificana Chardonnay

This bottle actually looks familiar, and I’m not entirely sure I can’t get it at the liquor store down the street. However, the benefit of ordering it through Winc is that I now know it suits my preferences just right according to the questionnaire I filled out.

Upon first taste, I smelled and enjoyed the flavour of bananas. This wine is sweet, but not overwhelmingly so. It’s mild and smooth. The funny thing is, I don’t even like bananas. But I sure did like this wine. It was gone in two days. Whoops.

2017 Yé-Yé Tempranillo

I don’t even know how to begin pronouncing this one, but it’s fun no matter how you say it. It was also surprisingly sweet for a heavy and robust red. At first, I tasted some sweet red berries.

The tasting notes on the bottle include not only strawberries and raspberries, but blueberries and cherries, too. It was the perfect combination of sweet and earthy with just a hint of wood.

2017 Rosa Obscura Red Blend

The name says it all. It’s rosy, silky, and juicy, but obscure. That’s not to say it was bad, but it was definitely an interesting combination of cocoa, cranberry, and jasmine. I love fruity wine, so this one was pleasing because it was sweeter than most reds.

The earthy undertones gave it a nice foundation on which to grow, and I enjoyed this wine with a chocolate bar. Because why not?

2018 Cocomero Rose

First of all, this label is scratch and sniff. That’s right. Scratch. And sniff. I’m not really sure how old I am anymore. I feel like I’m back in elementary school drinking my juice box at lunch while playing with some scratch and sniff stickers.

This one was the most fruity of all with watermelon, rose petal, rhubarb, and raspberry flavours. This wine went even faster than the first one I tried, because, well, it was smooth and easy to drink. I may have lost track of how much I’d already had.

Alternatives to Winc

If you’re looking for a wine subscription, there are plenty of options. It really all depends on what you’re looking for. Winc is a fantastically affordable solution, especially when customization is what you want.

Vinebox

Vinebox is something worth trying. It’s a very unique experience. They ship a full glass as a sample so that you can try it. If you like it, you can order the full bottle on your own. It’s an opportunity for you to try things out before you waste an entire bottle of something you don’t like.

However, it’s a pricey solution when compared to some other options. I’d rather pay less for a full bottle and give it to someone else if I don’t like it than pay the same amount or more for a single glass. If I end up liking it, I still have to order the full bottle and pay for it, too.

Vinebox is a cool solution for people who aren’t on a budget.

California Wine Club

The California Wine Club ships wines from California only, unless you choose the international subscription or the Pacific Northwest subscription. Their wines are from small family wineries in the state that normally wouldn’t get widespread exposure.

You can’t get these wines at the local store, and you likely won’t find them unless you visit the wineries themselves. It’s a good wine club, but also very pricey.

Martha Stewart Wine Club

Martha Stewart is another very affordable wine club. In fact, I’d venture to say it’s even more affordable than Winc. However, you don’t get the same personalization with Martha Stewart as you do with Winc.

Martha Stewart curates the entire wine collection herself, so you can be sure that each wine you receive is of the highest quality, but that certainly doesn’t mean you’ll like every one of them.

However, it’s not expensive, and you can order more of the wines you like while remembering not to order the ones you don’t!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some quick Winc FAQs for you.

Can I cancel my membership?

Yup. It’s supposed to be easy, not stressful. That’s why you can cancel your membership at any time with no questions asked.

Do I have to be home when my order arrives?

No, but someone 21 or over must sign for it. However, as you can see from my experience, that wasn’t the case. Although I wouldn’t risk it. It may have just been a fluke with my delivery driver not following directions as he should have.

Does Winc have support?

They sure do. If you need to contact Winc for support, you can check out any of their support articles 24/7. If you still need to speak with someone, you can text them, send them a Facebook message, fill out the contact form, email them, or call them directly. There are plenty of options.

My Recommendation

Perhaps my favourite part of my experience with Winc was the questionnaire I had to fill out before they put wines in my cart. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was truly hoping it would result in some of the best wines I’d ever tried, given that they are supposed to use my answers to pick wines they think I will like.

It might have been the highlight of my day. It was fun taking the quiz and I couldn’t wait for my wines. And I definitely wasn’t disappointed. They truly were some of the best wines I’d ever tried. I’m not sure if that means Winc is really, really good or I lead a very, very sad life.

Either way, I enjoyed it and would recommend the experience to just about anyone else. This is an especially good option if you want a very high level of customization on a budget without all of the confusing subscription options.

Image Credits

All screenshots and images taken by author November 2019.

Justin Caldwell

Justin likes to think he has a sophisticated palette, so he enjoys everything from sweet white to hearty red. His personal favorite is Fireside Winery's Glow, but he's open to trying anything at least once. His house is always full of wine, because his wife likes it even more than he does, and together, they share their affinity for the finer things in life.

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