Winc helped me figure out which types of wine I like best and what food to pair them with - here's how the popular online wine club works
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- Every month, online winery and wine club Winc sends you a box of wines (starting at $13 per bottle) that are personalized to your tastes and preferences. It offers a wide variety of wines, including red, white, rosé, sparkling, and vegan.
- The process starts with a Palate Profile and continually adapts as you try and rate new bottles of wine.
- The service makes learning about wine approachable and convenient. I used Winc to hone in on the specific types of wine I like and understand how to pair them with food.
One of the most popular wine clubs in the nation doesn't require you to flash receipts for all the vineyards you've visited in the past year. In fact, the less you know about wine, the more you'll probably enjoy Winc, an online winery and wine club that wants to make exploring wine simpler and more enjoyable.
Winc is a California-based winery cofounded by sommelier Brian Smith. It uses an online Palate Profile and your own ratings to recommend and ship the best wines for your tastes, so you don't spend an inordinate amount of time in the wine aisle deciphering labels and ultimately just choosing the one that looks the prettiest. There's no fee or commitment to join, and you can skip the month's shipment any time you want.
Read more: The best wine subscriptions you can buy
Though I wouldn't call myself a complete amateur and I know generally what types of wine I like, I am also eons away from becoming that person at the party who casually swishes her glass and rattles off tasting notes (I am more often the person who gushes over the cheese and charcuterie paired with the wine, or the exact example above who judges a bottle by its packaging).
But I do enjoy popping a bottle open for special and casual occasions alike, so I thought I'd give Winc a try.
The first step when joining Winc is to fill out your Palate Profile.
The short questionnaire asks things like how you like your coffee, and how much you like flavors such as citrus and mushrooms.
Then, Winc offers a selection of wine bottles it thinks you should try. Winc works with vineyards and winemakers all over the world to source these bottles and also make its own varietals. You can read up on the details of each bottle - its tasting notes, ratings from other Winc members, its body and sweetness levels - before deciding whether to add it to your shipment.
Receiving your box of Winc wine
Your monthly box must include a minimum of three bottles, but you can add as many additional bottles as you'd like. Shipping is $9 for orders of three bottles and free for any order larger than that.
The bottles arrive securely packed in a box (that also has a carry handle for convenient transport), along with a fun A-Z guide of important wine and Winc terms.
I don't usually love heavy, full-bodied wines, so I opted for lighter, medium-bodied bottles and a diverse variety of tasting notes. On your Winc profile, you can revisit the details of each wine and also figure out what types of food to pair it with. Winc provides a Food52 recipe for each bottle, a helpful touch that also appealed to my love of food.
The 2018 Cape Route Chenin Blanc, with its light, dry, and fruity taste, was the perfect bottle to bring along for a snack-filled picnic in Central Park, while the 2017 Far + Wide Touriga Nacional, was a nice light red for a heartier lamb dinner at home. My other pick, the 2018 The Bluffer Valdiguié, turned out to be a little too tart and bright for my taste ...
... and that's okay because I was able to rate these bottles on my Winc profile so I could get better recommendations for my next box.
In addition to a star rating, you can enter notes to refer back to later.
The next time you visit the Wines page, your recommended bottles will float right to the top, making it easy to add them to your box. Other than the provided recommendations, feel free to browse the rest of Winc's wines, which include categories like Sparkling, Under $20, Vegan, and California.
While the default shipping schedule of Winc is once monthly, it does offer a Ship Now feature, in case you have a party you want to be well-stocked for or just want to enjoy more wine.
There's no need to be stuffy about or intimidated by wine - Winc's easy-to-use wine shopping platform lets you get past your limited wine experience to fully enjoy a glass (or two, or three).
Its wine is also pretty affordable, starting at just $13 and maxing out around $45 per bottle. If you want to discover your next favorite wine without spending a lot of money or pulling your hair out over its complexities, there's no better than place than Winc.
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