Bright Cellars vs TastingRoom.com
Not sure which personalized wine subscription you want to join? This page compares Bright Cellars and TastingRoom.com 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, Bright Cellars or TastingRoom.com?
Bright Cellars and TastingRoom.com are, in my opinion, equally bad. The biggest issue I have with both subscriptions has little to do with the personalization (though they’re both lacking when compared with other personalized wine clubs) and everything to do with the poor wine quality. See why.
What are the key differences between Bright Cellars and TastingRoom.com?
The biggest differences between Bright Cellars and TastingRoom.com are: Cost per shipment, Satisfaction guarantee, Number of bottles per shipment, Quality of wine, Price of wine, Convenience features, Giftworthiness
What are the key similarities between Bright Cellars and TastingRoom.com?
Bright Cellars and TastingRoom.com are quite similar in these areas: Educational materials
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?|
|AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY||AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY|
This rating reflects all of the wine club elements below and is weighted for personalized wine clubs.
|2.7 stars||2.3 stars|
|Choose any: Red, white, or mixed||Choose any: Red, white, or mixed with an option to add rosé & sparkling|
|A selection from around the world, you don’t pick||Choose either or both: USA, International|
|What to know|
|Bright Cellars is an algorithm-based personalized wine club where you have limited ability to intervene in the selection. Their point system is designed to say how good of a match a wine is for your palate.
Their customer service has always been excellent and friendly. You can work with them to apply some limits to your matches (for example, "never send me Merlot.").
I wasn’t impressed with any of the wines I received and compared to other personalized wine clubs, the wine is too expensive for what you get. The membership seems overly focused on beginning wine drinkers and doesn’t accommodate more experienced wine lovers very well.
|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 wine club is not on any lists||This wine club is not on any lists|
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.
|3 stars||4 stars|
|Starting with a quiz during signup, Bright Cellars uses an algorithm to match your personal tastes. Their ability to match gets better over time, when you rate the wines you receive. You’ll need to contact customer service to swap out recommended bottles you don’t want to try.
The quiz does not ask you about your wine preferences, it asks about your chocolate, coffee, tea, juice, and non-wine preferences.
I found their automated systems did a terrible job recommending wine for me. After a chat with customer support, they made some tweaks to my profile and my matches improved.
|TastingRoom brags about being the first personalized wine subscription, and their initial approach — which was widely panned by customers — is still their approach. They send you a tasting kit with miniature bottles which you rate, so they can get a sense of what you like to drink.
Other than the algorithmic personalization tied to your "tasting profile," your ability to further personalize your shipments is limited.
I never found my recommended wines matched my palate well.
|Number of Bottles|
Deal Save $40
|You must accept their Tasting Kit for $14.99 as part of your first shipment, but they give you a 33% discount on your first shipment (worth $22.50)|
|Bright Cellars (4 bottles)||TastingRoom.com (6 bottles)|
|Total Price per Shipment|
|Price per Bottle Including Shipping|
|Price per Shipment|
|Price per Bottle Before Shipping|
|Bright Cellars Wine Review||TastingRoom.com 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.
|1 stars||3 stars|
|Bright Cellars’ wines are "private label" of generally poorer quality to less-expensive wine clubs. They offer a broad range of styles and wine regions, and the quality from each area varies slightly.||Over the years I’ve tried many wines from TastingRoom.com and I almost always find them to be of average quality. They tend to taste too similar to me (meaning they don’t taste like the grapes on their labels).|
|Price of Wine|
|1 stars||2.5 stars|
|As Bright Cellars wines are private label or exclusive, prices can’t be verified. The wine seems overpriced, based on my experience with less-expensive wine clubs.||As the wines from TastingRoom.com are all private label, there is no way to verify if their prices are fair. From a quality perspective, I find their wines a bit overpriced for what you get.|
This rating reflects the quality of the club’s satisfaction guarantee, not my guarantee of your satisfaction.
|2 stars||5 stars|
|The messaging here is mixed. Their Terms & Conditions says damaged or defective bottles may be refunded.
"While most items are not refundable, if you received a damaged or defective product, we may refund at our discretion if we are notified within 30 days of the order date. Please be aware that gift card purchases are non-refundable."
Their marketing page says otherwise: "Your delight is guaranteed. If you don’t love a bottle, we’ll send you a replacement."
|If you don’t like a wine you receive, you can contact customer service to get a credit applied to your account.
"Everyone’s palate can be different, and we want to be sure that the premium wines we send delight you. So, if a wine doesn’t meet your expectations, please let us know and we’ll give you full credit toward your next retail purchase in our Bottle Shop."
|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.
|5 stars||1 stars|
|Bright Cellars has an impressive customer service record as recorded online and my own experiences with their customer service team were excellent.||TastingRoom.com has an abysmal online customer service record. This frequently stems from people who ordered the tasting kit and didn’t know they were signing up for a membership. Their new website makes it clear you are joining a wine club and they automatically add the tasting kit to your first order.|
This rating reflects how much information you get about the wine you receive.
|2 stars||2 stars|
|Bright Cellars includes a tasting card for each wine in your shipment. These cards have very basic information on them. Plenty of info for a beginner, but not helpful for anyone who wants to learn more about where the wine came from or how it was made.||The tasting notes for TastingRoom.com are all online. The new website just launched and there is very little info about each wine. Definitely not enough to help you learn about the wine you’re drinking.|
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 stars||3 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|
|Switch delivery frequency|
|Switch to deliveries every other month or quarterly||n/a|
|Upgrade to 12 bottles|
|n/a||Get 12 bottles for $150 (2 each of 6 different wines)|
|Switch delivery frequency|
|n/a||Switch to deliveries every other month or quarterly, in addition to delivery on demand|
Good for Gifts?
|(5 stars)||(2.5 stars)|
|Electronic gift card||Electronic gift card|
|Yes. You can choose to send a gift box with a corkscrew to announce your gift ahead of time ($10), or you can send an email to notify your recipient on any day you choose.||Yes, an email is sent at time of purchase|
Review by: Jessyca Frederick |
After 14+ years trying 1000+ of bottles from 100+ different wine clubs, I know what it means to be a wine club worth joining. My reviews can help you find a great wine club for you (or to give as a gift) at any budget and for any wine preference.
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