Building a wine collection at home can be tough if you don’t know what you’re doing. Spend any amount of time around people who know about wine and you’ll hear any number of buzzwords and wine terms that’ll send your head spinning in a matter of seconds. Terroir? Old World? Malolactic fermentation? What?
If you just want to try wine and not worry about whether or not you can explain what Phylloxera is to the person you’re drinking with, then a wine delivery club is a good way to go.
To get a sense of how easy it is, we tried Firstleaf, which offers an easy-to-navigate site and an approach that focuses on value. Check out the specs and our review below.
- Price: An introductory three-bottle box is $15 ($5 per bottle), while subsequent six-bottle orders are $79 ($13 per bottle).
- Shipping: Your first order is $4.95 for shipping, while subsequent club orders are $9.95.
- Frequency: Deliveries can come every one month, two months, or three months, with the option to schedule shipping dates.
- Options: You have the ability to choose all reds or whites, U.S. wine or imported, and whether or not you prefer rosé or sparkling.
- Freebies and bonuses: You can earn $20 credit for each referral.
To start your Firstleaf order, take a quiz that outlines what type of wine you prefer (red, white, or both), where you like your wine from (the U.S. or outside of the country), whether or not you like rosé or sparkling, and how many bottles per month you drink. From those questions, the site’s algorithm gives you your first three-bottle order.
Once you receive your order and drink your wine, you then have to rate the bottles (using a thumbs up or thumbs down). You also have a chance to enter comments about the wines. Our first order consisted of a Pinot Grigio, a California red blend, and a Pinot Noir. We ended up veering toward the red blend as our favorite, with the Pinot Noir being a little too fruity for our taste. Even though we didn’t care for one of the wines, the investment for the first box was minimal and not enough to turn us away from trying the algorithm again (as one in our group preferred the pinot noir more than the other two wines).
For our second order, we were offered two Semillons and a Pinot Grigio for our white selections. Using the switch out option, we changed out the Pinot Grigio and one of the Semillons, then used our third switch on a red blend. The switch mechanism is useful but limited in that you can only use it three times before you have to contact the company directly.
The wines weren’t necessarily what we expected, but the order had a nice selection from both California and Italy. We were hoping for a wider selection of places, but after using our three switches, we were locked in.
Overall, First Leaf is a great beginner wine club.
If you’re looking for any kind of wine and don’t care much about what you’re getting, then the three switches won’t make much of a difference. If you’re a little more learned (or you’ve been a part of the club for a while and have developed a taste) then it could potentially be a downside as it will limit your ordering potential.
Overall, Firstleaf is a great beginner wine club. The price offers an easy buy-in to begin and there is enough of a selection that you’ll be able to stock a pretty varied wine rack in no time. If you’re looking for a gift for a wine lover, this will be a good way to stock them up without worrying about getting the wrong bottle.
To try out Firstleaf for yourself or to order it for a loved one as the holidays approach, head here. If you want to learn a little more about wine before joining the club, listen to The Manual’s podcast episode on wine. You can also check out these other great wine clubs.