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When the pandemic hit, the wine industry was prepared for hardship. Without the ability for wine tours and hosting events, 2020 was a harsh year in many ways– and that continues in 2021. But something peculiar happened: wine sales have surged, especially for companies like Winestyr.
So taking a step back to review what happened may point not only to reading about wine companies but also what makes Winestyr and competitors so resilient.
Just as many pronounced the wine industry in peril, it seems the statistics proved projections wrong. While it’s true that small wine companies have been impacted, as a whole, wine sales are up in the United States.
From March to May of 2020 alone, wine sales rose by 30.7 percent in value and 27.7 percent in volume, according to a Nielsen report. The surge was reported directly to consumer sales– and here’s where the difference lies. Sadly, family-owned businesses that relied on tourism struggled.
Meanwhile, larger companies continue to thrive. But it’s not all about how large a company is. The main connection is companies like Winestyr who have a solid investment in e-commerce and subscription services– all of which require no physical visitors.
But as much as Winestyr has benefited, those benefits may also help small wineries currently struggling. A 2020 Forbes article described how Winestyr’s model is offering a lifeline to small wineries in need.
Over two dozen small wineries have partnered with Winestyr since October 2020 just to stay afloat. For some, like Reeves Wines, the platform saves their business.
But what is Winery, and what makes it stand out? This article will review Winestyr to help you decide if you, too, as a customer can benefit from their services. From their wine gifts to their handy wine service, here’s what you need to know before buying.
What is Winestyr?
A better question to ask might be what Winestyr isn’t. Winestyr is an e-commerce wine company that offers wine club subscriptions, wine gifts, corporate gifts, and an online wine store. The jack-of-all-trades store has become a go-to for some looking for curated wines. Over time, the services offered and the visions of Winestyr have changed to meet changing circumstances and fluctuating customer needs.
How Long has Winestyr Been in Business?
Winestyr was founded in 2011 by Bob Wilson and two partners. Headquartered in Chicago, the company’s original intent was to create a better mode through which consumers could discover artisanal wine. Wanting to increase distribution, the e-commerce business was meant to make purchasing and discovering wine more seamless.
As disastrous wildfires, the pandemic, and other hardships hit the wine industry in the United States, Winestyr has evolved to include more services– and expanded its list of wine partners.
How is Winestyr Different from Companies Like Drizzly?
Winestyr offers several different ways to purchase and discover wine. These include gift collection, an online wine store, and subscriptions. This full-service approach appeals to more consumers and sets them apart from wine delivery companies like Drizzly, which specialize in quick delivery.
But other things set Winestyr apart from other e-commerce wine businesses. Their focus is to sell wine from smaller producers, rather than the most popular or easily recognizable wines. This adds value, by providing consumers with their choice of wines that they couldn’t just as easily find in their local grocery store.
As their mission statement suggests, the bulk of purchased wines in the United States come from just a few producers. Winestyr seeks to provide exposure and sales for lesser-known wineries. That’s a win-win, at least in theory: consumers discover new wines that they might not have tried. In turn, smaller producers are supported at a time they need it most.
What are Winestyr ’s Gift Collections?
Their gift collections are a way to purchase wine without opting into the wine club. These gift sets consist of one, two, or three wines per box and are priced from $39 to $163. Wine options include popular wine varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Brut Rosé, California Red Blends, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and sparkling wines.
Every gift set features premium packaging, a small personal note, and wines from small producers, mostly based in California. Shop Wine Gifts Here.
Winestyr also offers corporate gifts. These gift sets can be custom ordered. Fill out a contact form and expect to receive a response within one business day. To date, the company has delivered over 50,000 packages to companies, including Google, Linked In, Capgemini, Conversant, Northern Trust, and more. Learn about Corporate Gifts Here.
What is the Winestyr shop?
The Winestyr shop is the closest alternative to a competitor like Wine.com. Through the store, you can purchase individual bottles of wine, no commitment is required. General wine categories include White, Red, Rose, and Sparkling wines. Of these, you can expect the following varieties:
Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Red Blends, Syrah, Zinfandel, and others
Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and others
Is the Winestyr Wine Club Worth It?
Of course, the Winestyr Wine Club is one reason why this company is getting the attention it is. Wind clubs are ways to explore new wines, and even make for fantastic gifts. But wine clubs vary a lot in quality and customer service, so I wanted to see how Winestyr r’s services held up.
Already, their wine club makes a good impression, with over 3,000 active members- not too shabby for a smaller company. The club, and Winestyr ’s wines, have been featured in major outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, Wine Enthusiast, and Wine Spectator, among others.
But, of course, the devil is in the details.
How Does the Wine Club Work?
The appeal of the wine club is to cut out the middleman, connecting you to small (artisan) batch wines, shipped directly to your home. As a bonus, the wine club, by its nature, supports smaller wine producers.
Their wine clubs include plans for Red, Whites, Mixed, and Collectors. You’ll also be able to select the number of wines per shipment.
Subscriptions provide discounts on wine, free shipping, and exclusive wines. In addition, the club connects you to events such as virtual tastings, and a wine library for a more immersive experience.
How Much Does the Wine Club Cost?
The price of the wine club depends on wine variety and frequency. Refer to the table below to get an idea of how much a Winestyr subscription will cost you.
(price per shipment)
(price per shipment)
(price per shipment)
|Collectors (premium reds)||$179||$329||$649|
The bad news is that by no means is this the most affordable wine service. But the truth is that you’re getting high-quality, artisan wines. While the price may seem high, quality always has to be factored in.
How Does Shipping Work?
You get to decide how frequently you received shipments. You can opt to receive them monthly (12 times a year), every other month (6 times a year), or quarterly (4 times a year). The first shipment is processed instantly, and you should receive your package within 4 to 5 business days of that first order.
From there, shipments will come on the 15th of every month. You do have to be 21 or older and sign when it’s delivered.
Par for most wine clubs, you can’t return any wine. Instead, you’ll be asked to contact [email protected] if you have any concerns. I would have liked to see a little bit more information about ways to resolve shipping issues.
What Type of Wine does the Winestyr Club Offer?
You can expect to receive the same types of American, small-batch wines as the rest of Winestyr. You can also preview recent shipments here. If you like the catalog of wines available in the Winestyr shop, chances are that you’ll generally be pleased with the quality of the wines offered for the club. You can read about Winestyr wine directly below this section.
How do I Cancel my Winestyr Membership?
You can cancel your account at any time, but know that any unused credits aren’t refundable. The easiest way to cancel would be to contact customer service via phone or email. You can’t cancel as a shipment is on its way out. The process isn’t as clear as some other wine clubs, so I recommend trying a few deliveries out first before committing to the membership for their wine club.
Is Winestyr Wine Any Good?
Of course, you can have the best services and selection, but if the wine isn’t worth your money, nothing is. Here’s what I noticed about Winestyr ’s wine collection for all categories.
How Does Winestyr Select Its Wine?
At first glance, you might assume that Winestyr is like other e-commerce companies, supplying as much variety as possible at affordable prices. The truth is they go above and beyond most companies in this regard.
Wine is supplied from a bit over 120 producers from Oregon, Washington, New York, and California. Examples of producers include Jolie-Laide, Jonate, Radio-Coteau, and Adelsheim. These are well-respected producers, just not as widely known.
First, they pair with small wineries and personally meet (physically or virtually) with producers. All wine is tasted before being accepted. They make sure to verify authenticity. The third and final criteria are considering the brand, marketing, and packaging to see if it’s a reputable wine that also works within their company ethos.
Does Winestyr Carry any Specialty Wines?
In addition to these generally categorized wines, you can filter by special designations– which is where the Winestyr shop shines. These include biodynamic, kosher, low sulfur, natural, organic, sustainable, and vegan. Some of these designations are more meaningful than others, as I’ll explain below:
Biodynamic Wine, Organic Wine, and Natural Wine
Biodynamic wine is a term you may not be as familiar with, and it’s often discussed with organic wine. Biodynamic wines are produced using organic farming, which means that there are no fertilizers or pesticides used during production.
Of course, that leads to the question: what’s the difference between organic and biodynamic wine? Unlike the term “organic,” biodynamic as a term is not regulated by the United States. Organic wines must be certified to be grown without pesticides, herbicides, or sulfites (aside from those that are naturally occurring).
Biodynamic indicates that the grapes were produced without any common changes, such as adding yeast or adjusting acidity. On an environmental level, some studies have indicated that biodynamic production can improve the health and richness of the soil, by promoting biodiversity and crop rotation.
As to the differences between taste, organic and biodynamic wines won’t taste much different. Organic wines are said to be higher in antioxidants and resveratrol as well.
Natural wine is a vague term that encompasses wine that is farmed organically and uses little intervention– it’s sort of a more loose idea of biodynamic wine, keeping intervention to a minimum but with fewer considerations for the environment.
Kosher and Vegan Wine
I’m lumping these together because kosher wines tend to be vegan. As the name suggests, these are wines made without any animal products and wines cultivated without a link to animal production.
Low Sulfur Wine
Low sulfur wines have 100 parts per million (ppm) total sulfur or less for red wine and 150 for whites and rosés. While most do just fine with sulfites in wine, an estimated 1 percent of Americans have a sulfite sensitivity or allergy. Symptoms of this include wheezing, dizziness, hives, stomach upset, and swallowing issues. If you don’t have symptoms when drinking wine, you don’t need a low sulfur wine.
As a whole, Winestyr offers spectacular American wines of a decent variety, with quality standards that go above and beyond their competitors.
What Do Other Customers Think About Winestyr?
Business reputation amongst customers and the industry is important. While Winestyr doesn’t currently have a Better Business Bureau profile, there are some good signs.
On TrustPilot, a small sample (79) of reviews averaged a 4.6 out of 5, for an ‘excellent rating. It gets better when you break down those scores. Sometimes higher averages consist of a hit or miss experience, but that’s not the case here.
94 percent of customers awarded the service a 5 out of 5-star rating. Of the 4 percent that gave the company a bad rating, two complaints claimed customer service was poor. Of the one complaint that stated that their orders were changed, the company directly responded and stated that those changes were in response to the pandemic– and that the customer was informed of out-of-stock issues.
As a whole, I feel confident that Winestyr is a great experience for most people– and holds up to its solid reputation in the wine industry.
Alternatives to Consider
Looking for a personalized wine club that has a decent reputation? FirstLeaf holds an A+ with the Better Business Bureau and ships wines personalized to your tastes and ratings for a catered fit. Subscribe Here.
My other pick? From aged Cabernet to wines for the Pacific Northwest. The California Wine Club is an excellent pick, with fair prices and a history of excellence. Subscribe Here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answer: Winestyr is currently back to taking reservations for wine tastings. You’ll need to select a date, party size, and time.
Answer: In addition, the company offers both delivery and takeout. You can also have wines shipped either to your door or picked up at a local wine store.
Answer: All wine clubs are different. The main objective of a wine club is to introduce you to new wines while offering you the convenience of having them shipped directly to your door or a location near you. Some wine clubs offer membership perks and host events, including wine tastings and more.
Many are now opting for virtual wine events to provide the same services without the difficulties posed by physical meetings. You can also expect discounts and access to exclusive wines or wine-related information.
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