Last updated February 22, 2024
Great prices on unique wines
Los Angeles-based Winc made its way into the limelight as ‘Club W’. Its founders: Brian Smith, Mark T. Lynn, George McFarlane, and Xander Oxman, came up with an idea to make wine accessible to everyone. And in 2012, they revolutionized the digital world of wines by developing a personalized subscription-based model that was unique, thus, giving birth to Club W.
Back when other online wine clubs were stuck at the usual methods of bundling up a new bottle of cuvee with the other two/three bottles that were already part of a customer’s wine subscription plan, Club W came in and disrupted all of that – in fact, they disrupted the whole wine industry. And they did it all by introducing an easy-to-understand quiz, based on six (now five) simple questions, that intelligently does the wine tasting bit for the customer.
This feature not only made their wine club revolutionary, but also changed the way online wine clubs worked. In fact, it made it appealing even to someone who’s not great at differentiating different types of wines.
|$13 all the way to $54 per bottle
|Wine enthusiasts and value-seekers looking for affordable good wine
|Monthly, but months can be skipped if needed
|Bottles Per Shipment
|2+ bottles (4 is default)
To begin with, the Winc subscription plans aim at serving both the oenophiles and the non-sommeliers. Their base plan offers wine bottles priced at $13/bottle. And the more advanced plans include the high-end range of cuvees, where the price of each bottle can go as high as $54. Their subscription plans also offer the option to order more than four bottles a month. And yes, there’re options to subscribe to a smaller order size, too.
Winc’s subscription plans are flexible, which allow customers to choose their own wine bottles – red, white, or rose. Moreover, the plans come with “no strings attached” – as Winc states – meaning, a customer can “skip a month” or “cancel anytime, no questions asked”. Members also get other fringe benefits, such as Member Credits and free delivery.
As far as the Winc website goes, it is easy to navigate and provides information in easy-to-understand lingo. Now, for the ordering process, it is actually simple. The first step is to take the quiz. The second step is to either to sign up and become a member – or, if you don’t want to – purchase la carte orders as well. Third, you need to choose a bottle or bottles from a list of the ones that have been curated for you. And then, the final step is to checkout – which, of course, is straightforward for members.
Winc produces all sorts of eco-friendly varieties, from organic and low-sugar to vegan and low alcohol, which goes on to manifest that the company believes in a production setup that hardly contributes anything at all to global CO2 emissions.
In fact, Winc has a tailored statement when it comes to minimizing their carbon footprint on the planet, which says, “We take a modern approach to a timeless craft. We use minimal-intervention winemaking methods and sustainable farming techniques to create amazing wines for our community — while also preserving this incredible planet we call home.”
Types of wines being offered by Winc for all your wine tasting needs are: red, white, rose, sparking, and vegan. Varieties that please the everyday oenophile: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Grenache, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc. And for the dessert lovers, a sweet selection: sweet, semi-sweet, and dry dessert wines are available.
As mentioned in the “At-A-Glance” section, Winc’s prices are quite fair. Base plans start at $13/bottle, and more advanced plans can reach $54/bottle. You can also choose to customize your order to more, or less, than 4 bottles a month. Winc does seem to beat much of their competition on pricing, which really aligns them with their slogan, “making wine accessible to everyone”.
Going by the reviews, it’s evident that their reputation is sort of a mixed bag. On the one hand, they have huge businesses such as: Business Insider, BuzzFeed, etc. – who are quite happy with them, but then there’s their average customer base, which harbors mixed feelings. The point to note here is that it’s not their wine that has received criticism, but their customer service.
Winc excels in this department. Deliveries take three to seven working days, and their reviews support that claim. And no, they don’t give options for expedited shipping.
For shipping costs, it’s $15 on all orders for non-members. Whereas for members, it’s free on orders of four or more bottles, and it’s $9 for up to three bottles. Returns seem to be non-existent as they’re offering refunds on bad-tasting/missing/damaged deliveries.
What we were able to deduce while going through Winc’s reviews was this: their customer service is lacking at the moment. We believe it’s mainly because of the pandemic, as Winc’s help page is quite clear about this. The alternative to the help page is reaching out to them via email at email@example.com; or texting: (855) 282-5829.
The answer is quite simple to this one: suggestions of wines according to an individual’s palette. It’s a feature none of the other players are offering, and sets Winc apart from all its competition, customizing its samplings just for you.
Considering the pros may outweigh the cons, Winc can definitely make it to the top by addressing the issues that they’ve got – mainly being customer service. They’ve figured out a formula that works, and with a little focus on customer support, they can be one of the best in the niche.