Winc vs Firstleaf
Not sure which personalized wine subscription you want to join? This page compares Winc and Firstleaf side-by-side using my detailed ratings system. The ratings are based on my experiences with each club — including tasting the wine over multiple shipments.
Which is better, Winc or Firstleaf?
After receiving several shipments from both wine subscriptions, I slightly prefer Winc. It has more personalization options, and generally better wine. This page explains, in great detail, why Winc is slightly better than Firstleaf. See why.
What are the key differences between Winc and Firstleaf?
The biggest differences between Winc and Firstleaf are: Cost per shipment, Satisfaction guarantee, Number of bottles per shipment, Quality of wine, Price of wine, Educational materials, Convenience features, Giftworthiness
What are the key similarities between Winc and Firstleaf?
Winc and Firstleaf are quite similar in these areas:
FYI: I find great wine deals so you don’t have to. To keep me on the hunt, I earn a commission when you buy wine based on my recommendations.
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|Do they ship to you?|
|AZ CA CO CT DC FL GA ID IL IN IA KS LA ME MD MA MN MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA SC SD TN TX VT VA WA WV WI WY||AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DC DE FL GA HI IA ID IL IN KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MO MT ND NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC OH OK OR PA SC SD TN TX VT VA WA WV WI WY|
This rating reflects all of the wine club elements below and is weighted for personalized wine clubs.
|4.6 stars||4.4 stars|
|Choose any: red, white, rosé, sparkling, sweet, and cider||Choose any: Red, white, or mixed with an option to add rosé & sparkling|
|Choose either or both: USA and International||Choose either or both: USA, International|
|What to know|
|Winc is an algorithm-based personalized wine club, but they let you pick your own wine, too. By delivering a range of wine grapes, regions, and styles, Winc is always a top contender for a personalized wine subscription.
One of Winc’s strong suits is their winemaking team. Headquartered on California’s Central Coast, many of their wines are made with grapes from the area, where high-quality vineyards and less-common grape varieties are de rigeur.
Some of the changes to their business model seem a little unfriendly to their customers, particularly that there is a minimum monthly charge but that unspent credits are non-refundable.
|Firstleaf is an algorithm-based personalized wine club where you have limited ability to intervene in the selection. By delivering a range of wine grapes, regions, and styles, Firstleaf is always a top contender for a personalized wine subscription.
One of Firstleaf’s strong suits is their huge breadth of inventory. There are hundreds of different wines available at any time, increasing the odds you’ll get something you like.
Firstleaf relies heavily on slick marketing which says their wines all being award-winning, but this isn’t a good measure of a wine club.
|Best wine clubs|
The editorial lists where I include this wine club and its ranking on that list.
This rating reflects the degree of personalization available, not how well I think they do at matching wines to my taste preferences. Why? Each service requires a number of shipments before they hone in on your tastes (usually at least 3 shipments) and the quality of the personalization is, well, personal. Some services might be really good at your tasting profile but terrible at mine (and vice versa). This is why I don’t rate the ability of wine clubs to personalize your selection, rather I share my own experiences and let you be the judge.
|5 stars||4 stars|
|Winc memberships begin with a personalization quiz. While you can rely on their algorithm to choose your wine according to the preferences stated in your quiz, you can also choose every bottle in every box. Order as much or as little as you want each month (above the minimum 4 bottles).
The matching power of the Winc algorithm is more limited than some others because they have a smaller inventory of wine to choose from, but your ability to choose your own wine is a big plus on personalization.
I like that I can choose my own wines from Winc depending on what looks interesting (the ultimate in personalization). I do not find their recommended wines match my actual preferences.
|Starting with a quiz during signup, Firstleaf uses an algorithm to match your personal tastes. Their ability to match gets better over time, when you rate the wines you receive. If they recommend something you don’t want to try, you can swap out that bottle. You can make up to six swaps per shipment.
If you aren’t sure if you’re getting the most out of your Firstleaf subscription, you can ask for free help from a certified wine professional who can make changes to your settings behind the scenes to enhance your experience.
I was never super impressed with the matching of the wines I received, but I recently re-took the quiz and found their recommendations to be much more spot on than my original results. I believe this reflects what they’ve learned from their previous customers.
|Number of Bottles|
|3 (minimum bottles per order)||6|
For You Join today and get four bottles for $24.95 and free shipping. Click for This Deal.
For You Save $40 — Try Firstleaf and get 6 bottles of wine selected just for you for just $39.95. Shipping is included. Click for This Deal.
|Winc (3 bottles)||Firstleaf (6 bottles)|
|Total Price per Shipment|
|You deposit $59.95 each month and spend as much of that (or more) as you wish. If you don’t use all of your credits in a given month, they roll over to the next month.||$89.93|
|Price per Bottle Including Shipping|
|Variable (You choose your wine and how many bottles)||$14.99|
|Price per Shipment|
|Variable (You choose your wine and how many bottles)||$79.98|
|Shipping is $9.99 for orders of 3 bottles. Shipping is free for orders of 4 or more bottles.||$9.95|
|Price per Bottle Before Shipping|
|$12.99 - $29.99 (You choose your wine)||$13.33|
|Winc Wine Review||Firstleaf Wine Review|
|Quality of Wine|
This rating reflects how the wine is sourced and produced, as well as how it compares to similar wine clubs.
|3.5 stars||3.5 stars|
|Winc wines are "private label" of generally equal quality to similarly-priced wine clubs. Winc offers wine at a variety of prices and the quality varies by price. Their cheapest white wines and rosés are 4-star wines. Their cheapest red wines are 3 star wines. The more expensive wines are generally of better quality and their international selection is generally a better value than their California selection.||Firstleaf wines are "private label" of generally equal quality to similarly-priced wine clubs. They offer a broad range of styles and wine regions, and the quality from each area varies slightly. While they claim their wines are award-winning, I believe this is a misdirection as these competitions are not comprehensive.|
|Price of Wine|
|4 stars||3.5 stars|
|Winc sells their wine at retail locations (like Whole Foods), hotels, restaurants, and on their website without a membership. Members pay discounted prices as compared to these retail locations. The discount varies depending on the wine, but you never pay "full price."||Firstleaf wine club wines are private label or exclusive so prices can’t be verified. The wine seems appropriately priced, based on my experience with similarly-priced wine clubs.|
This rating reflects the quality of the club’s satisfaction guarantee, not my guarantee of your satisfaction.
|5 stars||5 stars|
|If you don’t like a wine you receive, you can contact customer service to get a credit applied to your account.
"If you are not completely satisfied for any reason, please let us know immediately. We will gladly credit Winc Members the full value of your bottle towards another wine of your choosing in your next shipment."
|If you don’t like a wine you receive, you can contact customer service to get a credit applied to your account.
"If for any reason you’re not satisfied with a bottle, we’ll credit you for it, where legal. Just reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org within 30 days of delivery. We’ll credit you in the form of store credit for any disliked bottles! Please note - this excludes shipping charges."
|Customer Service Record|
This rating is a mix of my own experiences with their customer service team and general ratings from across the web over time.
|3 stars||4 stars|
|Over the years, Winc has had some unfriendly-to-the-customer policies regarding cancelling and credits, as well as shipping problems. These problems seem to persist, most notably with service not actually being cancelled when the customer thought it was.||Firstleaf has an impressive customer service record as recorded online. I subtracted two stars because I have had my own problems with not getting the wines I swapped out or getting a shipment right away when I wanted to wait for it. That said they always make it right without a fuss.|
This rating reflects how much information you get about the wine you receive.
|3 stars||3 stars|
|Winc’s attitude about wine education is that they want to be your nerdy wine friend who doesn’t overhwelm you with nerdy information. The information you get about each wine is only available online. Their wine profile includes body, sweetness, alcohol, winemaking (vegan, low sulfur, low sugar, sustainable, etc.), fruit, earth, and wood (oakiness). I wish they didn’t hold back so much of that nerdy information about the actual grapes/vineyards from where the wine originates.||In addition to finding information about each of your wines on the Firstleaf website, they also send out fun wine tasting cards for each wine in your box. They provide a limited view into the wine region and the grapes in the wine, but their other wine info is helpful: Body, Acidity, Sweetness, Fruit, and Tannins. They also offer generalized food pairing ideas and a place to put your own tasting notes.|
A subscription should be easier than shopping at the store. That means you have control over when and where deliveries occur and that it is easy to make changes to your account online.
|4.5 stars||5 stars|
|Choose a delivery date?|
|Skip a shipment any time?|
|Yes, skip shipments whenever you want||Yes, skip shipments whenever you want|
|Fully manage account online|
|Choose alternate delivery location|
|Get SMS delivery updates from the club|
|Get email delivery updates from the club|
|Email reminders before card is charged|
|Buy 12 bottles at a time and save an extra 10%||n/a|
|Pre-pay for credits|
|Buy your Winc credits ahead of time and save up to 20%||n/a|
|Winc offers wine at a variety of prices, you can choose more expensive wines whenever you want||n/a|
|Get free shipping|
|n/a||Increase your shipment to 12 bottles and get free shipping. You’ll get two each of six different wines in each box.|
|Switch delivery frequency|
|n/a||Switch to deliveries every other month or quarterly, in addition to delivery on demand|
Good for Gifts?
|(2.5 stars)||(2.5 stars)|
|Electronic gift card||Electronic gift card|
|Yes, an email is sent at time of purchase||Yes, an email is sent at time of purchase|