Serious Eats / Julie Bang
The world of wine is wide and wonderful—there are over 10,000 different types of wine grapes, and winemaking techniques are constantly evolving. But large liquor stores and grocery stores tend to stock mass-produced wines catered to a wide audience, and it can be difficult to find small estate or natural wines, especially in small towns or rural areas. Ordering wine online offers an easy solution for obtaining hard-to-find bottles, but you have to know what to look for. Luckily, help is available (hi!).
Wine subscriptions don’t just save you a trip to the store—they outsource the work of selecting bottles and help you learn about wine in the process. Signing up for an interesting wine subscription is a great way to step outside of your comfort zone and discover new bottles. (It also makes for a rather epic gift.)
Ordering wine online is easy—in most cases, you’ll just need a valid ID to accept the delivery. The rules for shipping wine vary from state to state, but the subscription service will let you know if your area isn’t covered.
Our Favorite Wine Subscriptions, at a Glance
The Best Overall Wine Subscription: Wine Access The Best Subscription for Avid Learners: SommSelect The Best Value Wine Subscription: Firstleaf The Best Wine Subscription for Organic Wine: Plonk Wine ClubThe Best Gift Subscription for Budding Wine Aficionados: Sampl.The Best Champagne Subscription: Henri’s Reserve The Best Subscription for History Nerds: The Ancient Wine Club The Best Non-Alcoholic Wine Subscription: Proxies The Best Italian Wine Subscription: The Roscioli Wine ClubThe Best Natural Wine Subscription: Mysa The Best Californian Wine Subscription: California Wine Club Premier Series The Best Subscription for Orange Wine Fanatics: Orange Glou
With nine clubs, there’s a club for any level of wine nerd. Select from options such as “WA Unfiltered,” “WA Discovery,” “WA Connoisseurs,” and more. Each has its own perks and unique angles, making it easy to find the right wine club for you and your tastebuds and bandwidth. The Unfiltered option pairs up wine tastings with a podcast hosted by Wine Access experts, while Discovery focuses on introducing you to new and classic wines alike. The Connoissuers club narrows in on the cream of the crop; think high-end Barolos and hard-to-find Californian bottles. Then, there’s the Michelin Guide Wine Club, which selects wines in partnership with Michelin-starred restaurants. It’s akin to having a sommelier knock on your door and present the best bottles on their list.
We tried the Discovery Club, and liked that there were YouTube videos for each wine, detailing tasting notes, as well as stories behind the bottle, winemakers, pairing ideas, grapes, and more. (We were particularly enchanted by the love story behind the Freeman Pinot Noir Russian River Valley winemakers). We also liked that the box comes with a set of sheets for you to write down tasting and olfactory notes and the like for each bottle.
Good to Know
Price range: $120 to $400 per shipment Frequency: Five times per year Shipping info: Shipping is free on orders over $150Products per delivery: Between 1 and 6Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
Why it’s great: We tried SommSelect’s blind tasting option (part of the Blind6 club), which is a guided experience where you take notes and play “guess who,” so to speak. The setup is simple: Six bottles are carefully wrapped in black tissue paper and each has a number on it. Peel back the paper to open the bottle (just a little bit! no peeking), give it a taste, and jot down your thoughts. Next, confer with friends (wine tastings are always more fun with friends), and afterward check the info packets and see what you picked up on (likely more than you think!). We had a great time doing this with our friends, and we not only learned that you could describe wine as tasting like “crushed white rocks,” but also that many of our friends knew more than they thought. We also discovered the joys of a California Zinfandel, adding the rich, ripe fruit-forward bottle we tasted from Limerick Lane to our “buy again” list. In addition to the Blind6, SommSelect also offers the Explore 4 option—an exploration of four wines from different regions— and the Somm6 option—a sommelier-chosen lineup. which. Regardless of which you choose, expect very detailed tasting notes and fun facts in each box.
Good to Know
Price range: $99-$220 per shipment Frequency: MonthlyShipping Info: $20 flat rate shippingProducts per delivery: Choose between 4 or 6 bottles per caseSerious Eats / Grace Kelly
Why it’s great: Do you have the guilty pleasure of taking online quizzes to find out your true love’s favorite color or what kind of dog you would be? If you do (no judgment!), then Firstleaf is for you. First, you take a quiz, which Firstleaf will use to customize your monthly wine delivery to your tastes. After delivery, you can use the app to leave feedback on each wine you got—Firstleaf will continue to tweak each order based on what you like and what you weren’t so hot on. Shipments also include pairing advice (presented in a beautiful, almost frameable chart) and pamphlets for each bottle, making this a great choice for beginners. We really loved the wines they sent us, too, especially the Dita Akello Shiraz rosé from Australia. And the tasting notes hit it on the nose when they described it as having notes of “strawberry, watermelon, and candied fruit”—it was fruity, fun, and perfect for our summer’s eve tasting.
Good to Know
Price range: $90 per shipment Frequency: MonthlyShipping Info: Free shipping on your first order, $14.95/order after that Products per delivery: 6 bottlesSerious Eats / Grace Kelly
Why it’s great: Understanding labels can be tricky (what does pet nat really mean?), even for those with a solid understanding of wine. Plonk does the research for you, delivering organic and biodynamic wines from sustainable vineyards. Their wine clubs offer plenty of flexibility—allowing users to select the number of bottles per order and the delivery frequency. The Mixed Wine Club, in particular, provides a nice array of reds, whites, and everything in between (all organic! All minimal intervention!), allowing you to hone in on what you like and learn more about it in the process. We liked the succinct pamphlet that dove into the intricacies of the wine without overwhelming you and we discovered some new favorites, namely, the bottle Soave Vulcano Zambon from Italy. This white blew our minds with its honey notes and slight cider-like funk, and it paired perfectly with the cheese plate and melon we happened to serve alongside it.
Good to Know
Price range: $110-$285 per shipment Frequency: MonthlyShipping Info: Free shipping; ships to the contiguous U.S.Products per delivery: Options include 4, 6, or 12-bottle cases Serious Eats / Grace Kelly
Why it’s great: This wine subscription sends seven 100ml vials of wine catered to a specific place (the current Summer ‘23 offering focuses on wines from Paso Robles, California), allowing you to try wines without committing to an entire bottle. We also found it quite nice to have a single glass of wine on hand, you know, for that stressful Thursday evening when you want to unwind after work but don’t want to commit to opening a whole bottle. It also makes for a fabulous and fun gift for the wine-curious in your life. Plus, the online-guided tasting is easy to follow along and the videos are engaging and, honestly, spectacularly shot. The online guide also features notes detailing each winemaker and links to where you can buy the full bottle.
Good to Know
Price range: $65 per shipment Frequency: Quarterly Shipping Info: Free shipping Products per delivery: 7 samplesSerious Eats / Grace Kelly
Why it’s great: Do you need more Champagne in your life? Yes, yes you do. Henri’s Reserve wine club features a selection of hard-to-find estate Champagnes. Big box liquor stores tend to stock mass-produced Champagne from well-known labels. While those bottles will still work to get the party started, Champagne lovers tend to prefer small-batch, artisanal bottles that reflect the terroir of the Champagne region. This subscription features wines from producers that rarely export to the U.S., including Benoit Dehu and Pierre Paillard, and can be purchased on a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly basis.
Good to Know
Price range: $150 per shipment Frequency: Monthly, every two months, or quarterly Shipping Info: Free shipping; ships to the contiguous U.S., not available in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, or Utah.Products per delivery: 2
Why it’s great: Started by Ph.D. archeologists and trained historians who met while working at a wine shop, each delivery from The Ancient Wine Club includes three bottles of wine, pairing advice, and a few other fun perks like a binder for storing tasting notes. It even comes with writeups encased in binder sleeves for, well, putting into said aforementioned binder. Each box is curated based on a historic theme and we tried two: “Roots of Rome: Wines of the Etruscans” and “In Vino Ventus: Wine of the Ancient Wins” Our printouts detailed Etruscan wine (Etruria overlapped what is now Tuscany, Umbria, and even areas of Emilia Romagna) and wine, wind, and the ancient world (including a brief discussion of the Odyssey). The printouts also detail the winery, tasting, and pairing notes for each of the bottles. We’re already dreaming of an entire case of the 2017 Tenuta Di Castellaro Sicilia “Ypsilon” Red Lipari (from In Vinto Ventus), which was so wonderfully fruity and vibrant.
Good to Know
Price range: $75 per shipment Frequency: Monthly Shipping Info: Varies based on locationProducts per delivery: 3Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
Why it’s great: While we do love a nice, juicy glass of wine, sometimes it’s a Tuesday night and we don’t want to feel the ill effects the next day. Or sometimes we just want something fun and refreshing to drink that isn’t alcoholic, ya know? Enter Proxies, brightly colored wine alternatives that draw their complex flavors from teas, juice, and verjus (unripe grape juice, which is tangy, tart, and entirely underrated). The reds (which we particularly enjoyed) almost give off a vermouth-vibe (without the ABV) and pair quite well with tonic, a wedge of orange, and a skewer full of olives.
Good to Know
Price range: $148 per shipment Frequency: Every three monthsShipping Info: Free shipping Products per delivery: 6 Serious Eats / Grace Kelly
Why it’s great: Roscioli’s portfolio includes wines from more than 600 winemakers and artisan wines—like organic Barolo and sustainably-grown Sicilian Nero D’avola—that can be difficult to find outside of Italy. It’s curated by sommeliers and masters of wine, and each bottle is guaranteed to be a delicious expression of Italian terroir. Choose from three clubs—Italian Wine Club 1 (“for everyday wine lovers”), Italian Wine Club 2 (“for wine enthusiasts”), or the Collector Club (“for collectors”)—each tailored to your tastebuds and overall wine goals.
Good to Know
Price range: $220 to $1100 per shipment Frequency: Every three monthsShipping Info: Ships to all 50 states, price varies based on locations Products per delivery: 6
Why it’s great: Mysa offers several natural wine clubs, including options for mixed styles, reds only, and orange wine. This service focuses on wines from small producers, so you’re bound to discover new varietals and styles. It also offers opportunities to learn about natural wine as you drink, since each shipment includes a card with a QR code (this cuts down on any unnecessary paper) that sends you to a webpage packed with information about the producers, bottles, pairing ideas, and links to video tastings where you can sample your bottles alongside the company’s founder, Holly Berrigan (a certified sommelier). Holly hand-picks all of the bottles that go into each subscription and tries to include a mix of classic and funky natural wines (there’s even a classic-to-funky meter for each wine on the website). We were also delighted to see a couple of canned wines in our subscription—delightful portable and utterly delicious.
Good to Know
Price range: $84 to $274 per shipment Frequency: Five times per year Shipping Info: Shipping is free on orders over $150Products per delivery: Options include 3, 6, and 12-bottle casesSerious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
Why it’s great: Fans of big, robust flavors will love exploring the best wines of California. The Premier club offers the opportunity to try small, handcrafted wines that are often only sold directly from the vineyard. Subscribers will get the chance to try bottles from producers like Castoro Ridge, CRU Winery, and Shannon Ridge. Other clubs include the Signature Club, which highlights wines ranked 90% or higher by various wine bodies and a VIP tour and tasting at a featured vineyard—how cool is that?
Good to Know
Price range: $43.45 per shipment Frequency: Choose between monthly, every two months, and quarterly Shipping Info: $16 ground shipping, $5 handling Products per delivery: 2
Why it’s great: Though orange wine is increasingly popular, it can still be difficult to find these skin contact bottles at grocery stores or big box wine shops. If you live in a smaller town, a subscription service is a great way to access these party-friendly bottles. The Orange Glou wine club focuses on natural and minimal intervention wines from all over the world, offering wine lovers a chance to explore the variety of flavors within this category, from funky and earthy to light and tart. Each delivery includes one sparkling wine and an assortment of still wines, as well as tasting notes and pairing tips. You can choose from three, six, or 12-bottle subscriptions.
Good to Know
Price range: $105 to $385 per shipment Frequency: Monthly Shipping Info: Shipping price varies based on location, shipping is not available in Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, South Dakota or Utah.Products per delivery: Options include 3, 6, and 12-bottle cases.
How much does a monthly wine subscription service cost?
Wine subscription prices vary greatly depending on the number of bottles, the type of wine, and the shipping frequency. Our choice for best value is priced at approximately $15 per bottle. The most expensive option on this list charges $185 per bottle for delivery of rare, high-end Italian wines.
How do wine subscriptions work?
Wine subscriptions charge a fee to deliver a selection of wine to your door. Each subscription takes a slightly different approach to its service—some allow you to modify your delivery or select your own bottles, while others send a curated assortment of bottles selected by a wine expert. Many subscriptions are monthly, but some also offer bi-monthly, quarterly, or other delivery options.
What types of wine are offered in wine subscriptions?
Wine subscriptions can be as broad or as focused as you like. Those new to the world of wine may enjoy a general delivery service that includes red, white, and sparkling wines from all over the world. If you know what you like, you can seek out a club that delivers specialty bottles in a specific style, like all red wine, or from a certain region, like a Bordeaux-focused club.
Can you cancel a wine subscription?
Mose wine subscriptions allow you to cancel at any point. Be sure to check the provider’s website to verify if your subscription auto-renews and confirm their cancellation policies.