Take a look at 2 of the most popular and well-known wine clubs around, Firstleaf and Winc. We’ll help you break them down and get to know them. When you’re ready to sign up, you’ll know which features are most important to you, as well as which company fits your wine club dreams. Don’t have any daydreams yet about the perfect chardonnay or rose? Well, you’re almost there.
Here’s how Firstleaf and Winc compare:
Firstleaf is a fully customizable wine subscription service that launched in 2016. It bases your selections on an algorithm that follows your preferences and feedback to sort through the offerings and find you the perfect wine for your taste. You start with a short online quiz, walking you through your tastes, preferred regions and more to find a selection of wines crafted to your tasting profile. There is a wine concierge team standing by to address any questions or concerns and your custom order will arrive just a few days after ordering, and you’ll receive a credit for any wine you didn’t like. The key to success at Firstleaf? Your wine gets better (for you) with every box.
Winc was founded in 2012 with a belief that wine should be more accessible and easier for everyone to enjoy. Winc is a California winery offering an online membership with wines that are featured at well-known retailers and restaurants worldwide. Winc produces wine in small lots, commiting to the distinct character of the wine and sourcing from global vineyards and independant winemaking partners from all over. Winc has interested customers fill out a Palate Profile of 6 questions to help it assess your taste. You’ll be sent wines, and then rate them, yo get a more custom box the next time around. You never have to pay for a bottle you don’t like, and there’s no commitment and tons of flexibility.
Firstleaf: A standard membership to Firstleaf costs $79.99 for 6 bottles of wine, however there is an introductory offer of the same 6 bottles for $39.95 plus tax. The average bottle alone costs $13.33, again, with an introductory offer of $6.65. Your intro pack is “designed to start a conversation” and keep you coming back for more custom options later on. There is a money back guarantee, so if you don’t like your wine, just adjust your preferences with the rating tools and get a refund for the one you didn’t like, and you can cancel at any time.
Winc: The top published member benefits for Winc is “best pricing on all wines” and $0 shipping on packages of 4 bottles or more, which sets their pricing off to a good start. Like Firstleaf, it will replace any bottle you aren’t fond of, so there’s no risk. Your monthly membership includes 3 bottles for $39, plus a $9 flat rate shipping fee. If you want free shipping, you can order 1 extra bottle for $13, bringing your total for 4 bottles to $52. Plus, there’s a special offer for $22 off 4 bottles, making your final price even cheaper: a super low $30. Any orders above 4 bottles include free shipping, so the $9 fee is waived. Individual bottles start from $13.
This one was close, with both companies offering your first box for under $50 and a special offer for first time buyers. That said, Firstleaf’s package includes 2 more bottles, totalling 6, (and therefore more wine for you to enjoy) at a similar price to Winc’s 4 bottle price. Add in the cheaper per-bottle price, and the $10 intro discount, Firstleaf is the place to start. In the end though, Winc has great long-term prices, so if you want less wine per package and are looking past the introductory period, Winc is also a solid bet with great value.
2. Wine Selection
Firstleaf: With a diverse group of wine experts, scientists, and wine lovers working to change the wine industry, Firstleaf develops wines specially tailored to member preferences. The company boasts over 45,000 wine lovers who have found their perfect wine, so there’s sure to be something for everyone. There are award-winning wines from all over the world. Look out for a dark red blend with tastes of fruit and spice blended with chocolate dessert or a gold-medal winning Sauvignon Blanc full of tropical flavors. Not into fruit? The Gilded Letter Zinfandel from California offers notes of black pepper, chocolate and barbecue, and the Paso Del Tiempo mingles spices with tobacco. These award winning bottles are reasonably priced too, topping off around $20.
Winc: Winc says it didn’t set out to build the world’s most unconventional wine program, but it’s pretty hard to believe. They bottle up hundreds of blends from around the world ranging from classic well-known blends to obscure small-time vineyards. Winc commits to making smaller batches in order to create more distinctive wines. Winc offers a line of “top shelf” picks for wine select members, offering luxury wines to your door every month, as well as a huge range of reds, whites, blends, bubbles and vegan options. You can also filter by sweetness, so if dry is your thing, or you only like semi-sweet, you can narrow down your options that way as well. There are collectors packs and categories such as red, white, spanish wines, light-bodied wines, eco-friendly wine, cider and Argentinian wine.
Both Winc and Firstleaf offer a huge selection of domestic and international wines from vineyards large and small, from all price points. They all have beautiful descriptions (because who doesn’t love getting to know a wine by its bark, tobacco or raspberry flavors) of all types of wine for all taste preferences. They both have batches large and small, red, white and every color in between, of many ages and categories. No matter which of these two wine clubs you subscribe to, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
3. Delivery and Flexibility
Firstleaf: A few days after you’ve finished your first quiz, your introductory order will show up wherever you want it to, whether your home, office or the venue for the upcoming bachelorette party you’ve got planned. After you’ve tried the intro order, you'll get 6 bottle club shipments. If you want to wrap up after 3 shipments, or any number, you simply go to the unsubscribe page on Firstleaf’s site and log in, then click unsubscribe. That’s it. You get to determine what wines you get, when they show up, and how often you want the shipments, choosing from every 1, 2 and 3 months. The shipping fee for consecutive orders (not your first one) is $9.95 and you get a set of 6 bottles in each shipment.
Winc: Winc starts out by sorting potential customers by zip code, to make sure they deliver to your area. Once you’ve selected which wines you’d like, you can then choose to skip a month any time you need, completely free of charge. There’s no commitment, but you do have to call in or live chat with an associate in order to cancel your account. You can also order custom gift packaging to show up with your delivery, and shipping is free with any order over 4 bottles. Your monthly order is processed on the same day each month as your original order and ships after about 2 days of processing. Shipment takes about 3-7 days depending on your distance, and because packages can only be accepted (with signature) by an adult over 21, Winc recommends using a business address or FedEx office where possible, to ensure that an adult is around to sign for your package.
Firstleaf offers more flexibility around how often you receive a shipment, and a comprehensive FAQ covering who ships your wine (UPS or FedEx). Winc does have transparency upfront about exactly were it ships to, how long shipping will take, and how exactly you’ll need to receive your delivery. Winc does guide you through the shipment process, making things easy-peasy in order to get your wine. Firstleaf shares where it ships and doesn’t ship to, adding information that allows you to select a shipping company. The ability to alter your plan from 1, 2 or 3 months is a huge seller.
4. Customer Service and Guarantee
Starting with its online Help Center, Firstleaf has a huge selection of FAQ style questions to start you off if you’re looking for assistance. If that doesn’t quite answer your query, you can contact Firstleaf directly by email or phone, from 9 AM to 8 PM ET Monday through Friday.
Wind offers 24/7 support articles that rival Firstleaf’s FAQ Help Center. You can also contact support staff via text message or Facebook Messenger, or call Monday through Friday 6 AM to 5 PM PT or Saturday and Sunday 7 AM to 4 PM PT. If you reach out via email, someone will get back to you within 24 hours.
Winc wins this category by a longshot with weekend customer service, text message service and access to help through Facebook Messenger. Firstleaf does have great customer reviews though, so there’s probably just no need to reach them on the weekends!
OVERALL WINNER: Firstleaf
Firstleaf wins the battle! This newer player in the field won in pricing, delivery, and flexibility. Those categories are super important for any good wine club, but the runner up, Winc, put up a good fight. The contenders tied for wine selection, by far the most important category for a wine club subscription, and Winc won for customer service, leaving you assured that no matter which option you pick, you’ll be taken care of.