We’ve Tasted All That Wine!
Many of the other “best wine subscription” lists are just round-ups of what’s out there and ranked by what the author thinks is cool. Rarely have they tasted any of the wine, and when they have it’s usually not through a critical lens.
We actually try at least one shipment of wine from every wine subscription we review (after 2013). Often we receive ongoing shipments so we can continuously evaluate quality and value. Our reviews show the wines we received and tasted, as photographed in our wine cellar (or in other settings).
Here’s how we evaluate the wine we receive:
Wine Quality. Wine is not a one-size-fits-all industry. What may be good enough for that guy might be swill to you. For our affordable wine subscription boxes, we consider the quality of the wines we receive in comparison with wines delivered by other services in the same price range — not in comparison to premium options.
Wine Price. There are so many variables that affect the price of wine, and each country, region, and winery handles pricing in their own way. When we think about wine pricing for subscription wine boxes, we consider retail value and what you’re paying to have the bottle delivered.
Value. At any price, nobody wants to feel like they’re getting fleeced. Wine is supposed to be fun and enjoyable. When it comes to subscription boxes, most of the time you get what you pay for. In addition to the wine, costs for these services include: personalization technology, customer service, delivery, and sourcing.
Perks.We determine how easy it is to be a member by looking at personalization options, ability to make changes to your subscription, how to manage your deliveries, and the cancellation process.
What about all of the other wine subscriptions?
This page contains our current list of the best affordable wine clubs (according to our research). Our reviews are sometimes snapshots of a subscription service, and sometimes we track the quality of a subscription closely for years. We also change our minds about wine subscriptions when their quality or value go up or down.
If you’re wondering about a specific wine subscription that isn’t on the list above, it is because the wine costs more than $15 a bottle, we didn’t rate the subscription 4 stars or more, or we haven’t reviewed it yet.
Wine Subscription Boxes That Are Popular, but Not Affordable
Looking for organic and biodynamic wines? Hint: they’re almost never sold for less than $15 in the United States.
Despite the reduced cost of chemicals applied in the vineyards, these wines usually cost more because the vineyards produce fewer grapes per acre (a major portion of the final cost of wine, especially wine under $25). Also, wines without sulfur added (usually labeled Natural) have a more limited shelf life, which means wineries need to charge more per bottle in case they don’t sell all of it before it "goes bad."
European wine is mostly "natural" but by the time it gets imported, the middlemen and the tariffs have increased the price it sells for way beyond "affordable." All of that is to say, expect to pay more than "affordable" prices for organic, biodynamic, and natural wines.
If you want organic and biodynamic wine, we highly recommend Plonk — it’s fantastic. If you subscribe to their case club, it’s only $23.75 a bottle and shipping is included. You might also want to check out the less-expensive and still under-the-radar Organic Wine Exchange for Vegan, Sulfite-free, Organic, and Biodynamic subscriptions.
Martha Stewart Wine. We like the Martha Stewart Wine subscription. When compared with the subscriptions on this list though, it doesn’t offer consistent enough quality.
Vine Oh! At a regular price of $84 for 4 bottles, it does not qualify for our definition of affordable (under $15). Also, we’re skeptical of the wine quality when all of their reviewers focus on the swag in the box and treat the wine like it’s just another piece of swag.
Hello Fresh. Hello Fresh has discontinued their wine subscription service. It was fulfilled by Tasting Room and if you were interested in the Hello Fresh offering, you could check out TastingRoom.com as an alternative.
Bright Cellars. A personalized wine subscription that does not meet our standard of good quality wine or value. They also charge $20 a bottle — making it more expensive than our definition of affordable.
Original Wine of the Month Club. The first wine club, sure, but it does not provide "the best" value or wine. Their memberships that qualify as affordable delivered wine we thought was not good enough to be "the best" of anything.
Great Clubs of America. One of many monthly subscriptions offered by this company, their wine of the month club seems less about the wine and more about the gifting. We know there are wine of the month clubs that focus on the wine and the gift experience, too. It is a good choice for an affordable wine subscription gift, though ($134.85 for a three-month gift of three bottles).
WineSociety. We have not yet written a full review for Wine Society, but we did taste the wine. Their subscription box is priced at $39.20 for three cans (equivalent to two regular size bottles) and thus does not qualify as affordable.
WSJwine. This is a very popular subscription but it doesn’t measure up to the best. We feel the same about it’s sister subscriptions: Laithwaites, TCM, Virgin Wines, Macy’s Wine Cellar, and NPR.
Cellars Wine Club. Their 12-bottle case subscription *is* CHEAP at $99 (regular price, not an introductory offer). We used to like Cellars. We have had trouble in our business relations with this company. This makes us skeptical of how well they look after their customers.
Blue Apron. We haven’t reviewed Blue Apron yet because we haven’t received a shipment. We think their 500 mL bottle concept is neat.
Empathy Wines. A lot of people love Gary Vee (Vaynerchuk). That is not a reason to subscribe to a wine delivery service that only offers three kinds of wine. Just sold the brand to a multinational conglomerate (Constellation Wines who also owns Kim Crawford, Meiomi, and Robert Mondavi among many others) so maybe it will become more affordable (right now it is $20 per bottle, plus shipping).
Wine Subscription Boxes Under $15 that We Have Not Reviewed: Splash Wines. If you work for one of these brands and want to see it reviewed, please contact us.