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- Vinebox is a wine subscription that will send you nine "glasses" of the best wines in the world every quarter for $72-$79. You won’t find anything mass-produced in your boxes.
- You can use the service to discover which wines you really like and learn about the regions, grapes, and winemakers, as well as how to pair certain wines with food.
- Of more than 11,000 wines tested, only 1% make the cut for inclusion in Vinebox.
- It can be a good way to get access to high-end wines you would otherwise never be able to afford. You can even apply a credit to full-sized bottles of the ones you really liked.
Finding out which wines you like can feel more like an accident than any sort of comprehensive, efficient effort. My own history more honestly resembles stumbling around in the dark — and asking my local wine shop experts for blind personal recommendations.
It’s exactly this obscurity that makes intelligent wine subscription services like Vinebox so uniquely appealing. Vinebox, if you haven’t heard of it, is a service that sends subscribers nine of the best wines in the world to taste — by the glass — once every three months for $72-$79 (meaning each glass is $8-$9).
While you might be used to this concept when it comes to bottles, it makes sense why Vinebox would send by the glass; the high-end wine selection would cost the average person a small fortune (and probably some plane rides), and trying only by the glass is a really low-risk commitment that encourages you to expand your palette. You’re able to try a variety of really diverse, premium wines for a fraction of the cost required for full bottles, and you won’t be stuck with a wine you hate if you take a chance sampling something more adventurous. If you love one, you can buy your own bottle.
How it works
1. Take the quiz: Tell Vinebox about yourself and your wine preferences. They’ll take your tastes into account, though they may include some curveballs to expand your palette.
2.Taste the wines: Vinebox will send you nine vials of wine every quarter, which each hold a full glass worth. You’ll get to suss out your favorite kinds and learn more about the regions in and processes by which they’re made.
3. Discover favorites: If you love one taster more than most, you can buy a full-sized bottle, or Vinebox will make suggestions for a similar wine. Members also receive full-sized bottle credits so you can save while finding and stocking up on your favorite wines.
What the wines are like
Of more than 11,000 fine wines tested, only about 1% make the cut. They’re not the same as your local wine store options (even the really nice ones) — you won’t find anything mass-produced here.
Quarterly releases are said to be the best wine of the moment — from old vintage cellar releases hitting their "sweet spot" to those that mesh perfectly with current wine trends (which you are now, by virtue of this subscription, apparently on top of). They’re curated by the company’s wine director and sommelier for delivery every three months.
Boxes include tasting notes, recommendations, and pairings, so you can get the most out of the luxury wines sent to you and learn how to pair future wines.
The company uses a closed-nitrogen environment to prevent the wines from ever coming in contact with oxygen. The use of inert gas allows the wines to "maintain their complete bouquet, flavor profile, and mouthfeel" throughout the process. Once they’re encapsulated, the wines are good for up to three years.
If you go with an annual subscription, the quarterly shipments are $72 and you get a $30 credit for full-sized bottles. If you choose a quarterly subscription, each box is $79 and you’ll get a $15 credit for full-sized bottles. A one-time shipment is $87 and will get you the company’s current pre-curated box. Delivery is always free, and you can cancel at any time. You can sign up for yourself here.
If you’d like to share with another person or partner, you can adjust the quantity to suit two people (an annual subscription would be $64.80 per person, or $129.60 per shipment). They’ll double your shipment, and you’ll save 10%.
Vinebox’s current box (March 2019)
Currently, Vinebox has curated a shipment around organic wines across Europe. You’ll find vials of wine from the only organic winery in Pessac-Léognan to a biodynamic wine by way of Sicily. They’re sustainably farmed with ox-driven plows, onsite composts, and no harmful pesticides, and they don’t have additives like industrial sulfites, flavoring agents, GMOs, or coloring doses.
The company also highlights a "wine to watch": The Capmartin Madiran Rouge. The winemaker, Simon, was recently on the cover of France’s Le Point Magazine, and has been around since 1985. The property took three years to transition to completely biodynamic practices, and today they farm 100% organically, plant certain crops to deter pests, and grow Tannat — a grape that contains the highest amount of anthocyanins — a compound with antioxidant effects. The site also has a blog post on why drinking organic wine is a good idea.
If you’re looking for an affordable way to try premium wines, or you just want to stop wasting time and get smarter about wine or your own preferences, Vinebox is worth checking out. The wines are delicious, and the service is convenient: there’s very little chance you’d have the power, money, or time to first become an expert sommelier and then test thousands of wines to pair them down to the perfect quarterly litmus test for yourself. This way, you get to maintain your life the way it is, and still get to try the best wines of a high variety so you can get into a new hobby, impress dates, or just have less trouble ordering in restaurants.
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