Winc vs Bright Cellars
Not sure which personalized wine subscription you want to join? This page compares Winc and Bright Cellars 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 Bright Cellars?
After receiving several shipments from both wine subscriptions, I definitely prefer Winc. It has more personalization options, better prices, and better wine. This page explains, in great detail, why Winc is better than Bright Cellars. See why.
What are the key differences between Winc and Bright Cellars?
The biggest differences between Winc and Bright Cellars 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 Bright Cellars?
Winc and Bright Cellars 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, 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|
This rating reflects all of the wine club elements below and is weighted for personalized wine clubs.
|4.6 stars||2.7 stars|
|Choose any: red, white, rosé, sparkling, sweet, and cider||Choose any: Red, white, or mixed|
|Choose either or both: USA and International||A selection from around the world, you don’t pick|
|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.
|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.
|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.
|5 stars||3 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, 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.
|Number of Bottles|
|3 (minimum bottles per order)||4|
Deal Four for $29.95
Deal Save $40
|Winc (3 bottles)||Bright Cellars (4 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.||$88.00|
|Price per Bottle Including Shipping|
|Variable (You choose your wine and how many bottles)||$22.00|
|Price per Shipment|
|Variable (You choose your wine and how many bottles)||$80.00|
|Shipping is $9.99 for orders of 3 bottles. Shipping is free for orders of 4 or more bottles.||$8.00|
|Price per Bottle Before Shipping|
|$12.99 - $29.99 (You choose your wine)||$20.00|
|Winc Wine Review||Bright Cellars 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||1 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.||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.|
|Price of Wine|
|4 stars||1 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."||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.|
This rating reflects the quality of the club’s satisfaction guarantee, not my guarantee of your satisfaction.
|5 stars||2 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."
|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."
|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||5 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.||Bright Cellars has an impressive customer service record as recorded online and my own experiences with their customer service team were excellent.|
This rating reflects how much information you get about the wine you receive.
|3 stars||2 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.||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.|
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||4 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|
|Switch delivery frequency|
|n/a||Switch to deliveries every other month or quarterly|
Good for Gifts?
|2.5 stars||5 stars|
|Electronic gift card||Electronic gift card|
|Yes, an email is sent at time of purchase||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.|
Review by: Jessyca Frederick |
After 14+ years trying 1000s 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 and the best wine club gifts for any budget and for any wine preference.
Feel free to ask me for a personal recommendation. I won't harvest your email address for a marketing list — I don't send marketing emails.