- Firstleaf is a wine subscription service that launched in early 2016 and is one of many other clubs that help you enjoy wine in a more convenient, accessible, and affordable way.
- Its introductory box of three wines is only $15 and sets the wheels in motion for the service to learn more about your tastes and preferences as they evolve.
- The wines all come from award-winning winemakers and vineyards, but you have the final say about which ones are considered true award winners in your book through Firstleaf’s rating and review system.
Based on the number of wine clubs and subscription services that have started in the past few years, the jig is clearly up: people like wine, but most of us also don’t know what we’re talking about or what we’re actually sipping. It’s easier when someone just tells us what’s good.
A new entrant to the field of encouraging your enthusiasm for wine is Firstleaf, an algorithm-based wine subscription service that learns more about your tastes and preferences as you try different wines and curates a personalized experience for you over time.
As with most personalized services, you start off by taking a short online quiz, which asks about your white vs. red vs. rosé vs. sparkling preferences, what region you prefer your wine to come from, and how much wine you drink per month.
Firstleaf then gives you an introductory offer of three wines for only $15, plus tax and $4.95 shipping, as a way to welcome you to the club. It also serves as a kind of diagnostic test (that’s infinitely more fun than the SAT one you took in high school) for the rest of your Firstleaf experience.
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I opted for a mix of red and white, and received my first box safely at my door. The full-sized bottles were securely packed in a cardboard crate and each came with its own informational card explaining the origins of the wine and region, tasting notes, and food pairings. All this information can also be found online when you log in to your account and click on your past orders.
My first box consisted of a Chardonnay from Paso Robles, a Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina, and a Zinfandel from Sonoma County. All were international wine competition winners. Despite their prestige, I didn’t love them all, which was completely fine and not unexpected. These first bottles were only $5 each and I would have the opportunity to rate the picks and explain my specific thoughts.
Once you log back into your account, you can give each wine a “Thumbs Up” (I’d drink this wine again and Firstleaf will send more like it), a “Thumbs Down” (not for me), or leave the thumb icons blank if you have no opinion and don’t feel strongly either way. There is a section below each wine where you can write additional comments and notes for Firstleaf or just for personal reference. You can also reorder six bottles of the wine you did love for only $79, plus tax and $9.95 shipping.
After this initial box, every future shipment will consist of six wines (for $79, plus tax and $9.95 shipping) and be delivered automatically every two months. However, you can choose any other delivery date or cancel your subscription at any time.
By design, Firstleaf works better the more you use it. The more wines you rate, the more closely its system can match future shipments to your taste and adjust picks if your tastes evolve from the initial quiz.
Using Firstleaf isn’t only about convenience, education, or personalization, though these are all strong reasons why you should try it. With each bottle coming out to about $13, it’s also simply a much more affordable way to enjoy quality wines from top vineyards around the world.