A confession: I love drinking wine, but when it comes to choosing one, I don’t know a Merlot from a Bordeaux. Whenever someone asks me to bring a bottle to dinner, I usually ask what they’re serving and then call my wine-loving lady-friend for a recommendation. So when a work colleague suggested I join Winc, an online wine delivery service, I worried—how would I even know what to order?
Luckily, Winc didn’t leave me to wander their selection and pick at random. They started by giving me a quick and easy six-question Palate Profile to help me understand my own tastes; apparently, I like dark coffee and citrus flavors with occasional earthy and berry tones. After that, they suggested four specific bottles based on my taste profile—each one only cost $13, but they also had 57 other varieties to choose from.
I’d never heard of these wines before—a Sauvignon Blanc called Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezey from Marlborough, New Zealand; a red blend named Alma Libre from Valle Central, Chile—but that made sense because Winc isn’t just a retailer off wines purchased elsewhere; they actually travel to vineyards around the world, select the best grapes and make the wines themselves. It’s like having a jet-setting, wine-making best friend who only sends you wines they know you’ll enjoy.
Before ordering, I wasn’t even sure if companies could ship wine in Texas, but Winc handled the legal homework so that all I had to do was wait and track the shipment whenever I got impatient; as I said, I love wine. In the meantime, I asked which of my friends wanted to enjoy a bottle with me, giving me a chance to reconnect with some that I hadn’t seen in ages—wine over dinner and conversation with good friends? Yes, please!
The bottles arrived, I signed for them and along with the four bottles—I’d chosen two whites, two reds—they also sent a little booklet called Winc Journal.
“Oh great,” I cynically thought, “marketing.” But it actually turned out to be a stylish little magazine with pages educating me about the wines they’d sent and the foods that would best accompany them, along with articles on wine’s health benefits, upcoming wine trends (apparently, non-grape and orange-tinted wines will be all the rage), some travel pieces and a hilarious interview with openly gay Wine About It tube-lebrity Matt Bellassai. I ended up keeping the magazine on my coffee table and thumbing through it in my down time, feeling smarter and more knowledgable with every read.
In the end, the whole experience was pretty special. A friend and I enjoyed the Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezey over roast chicken and a film; it was a refreshing citrus wine with floral hints, the kind that would go quickly at a light brunch or a summer deck party. On another night, a long lost girl friend and I reconnected over a red named One From The Quiver; it had a darker, earthy taste with just a hint of light cherry—perfect for conversation on a cold night or for a good meaty meal. I’ve said in the past that I like whites over reds or only drink reds that taste like sangria, but I can honestly say that I savored every single bottle; each one became an evening to remember.
When I went back to choose my next month’s shipment, I realized that Winc also sells gift boxes coupling some of their best wines with other delights like savory Italian salami, coconut-rose body polish, bars of Compartés luxury chocolate and even glassware sets—boxes that would make perfect valentines, comfort packages or housewarming gifts. Plus, if I didn’t know what my friends might like, I could get them a gift card or refer them for a free membership. If they place an order, I get two free bottles and they get a free one too—party!
In fact, they’ve even got a special going on right now where you can order four bottles for just $30—almost half off the list price—with free shipping right to your door. All you have to do is visit trywinc.com/hornet or enter the promo code “HORNET” during checkout.
In the end, I had nothing to fret about. Winc made ordering wine worry-free, and I’d left feeling smarter and more social just for trying. They’ve made it easy for anyone to discover new, delicious, reasonably-priced wine, no matter if you’re a connoisseur or just a casual sipper. Each glass was like visiting a vineyard with a friend, and now me and my pals have another month full of four new varieties to look forward to, all enjoyed from the comfort of my own home.
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