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- Vinebox is a company that sends you nine “glasses” of the world’s best wines for under $100.
- But instead of full bottles, you’ll get vials that hold about a glass of wine each that’s perfect for sampling.
- It can be a good way to try different high-end wines you would otherwise never be able to afford.
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 services like Vinebox so uniquely appealing. Vinebox sends customers nine wines revolving around different themes and seasons, with collections ranging from around $85 to $95.
Once a wine subscription club, Vinebox has since shifted to an a-la-carte-shop-only model (as of August 2021), allowing you to buy and receive wine collections any time rather than once every three months.
Buying wine online isn’t a new concept, at least when it comes to buying full wine bottles. But 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 low-risk commitment that encourages you to expand your palate.
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 do love one, then you can buy your own bottle.
How Vinebox works
- Visit the shop: Go to the Vinebox shop to see the current lineup of wine collections. They’ll usually focus on some kind of theme, like single varietals or European wines grown in optimal locations.
- Taste the wines: Most of the collections contain nine 10 cL vials of wine (some are six-packs instead) and each holds a full glass worth of vino. They come nicely packaged in a sturdy box and with a booklet full of information like tasting notes and how to pronounce the names of each wine. You’ll get to suss out your favorite kinds of wine, learn more about the regions in and processes by which they’re made, and get the most out of the luxury wines sent to you.
- Discover favorites: If you love one glass more than most, you can see if a full-sized bottle is available in the shop. However, it may be hard because there are limited quantities available.
What the wines are like
Of more than 11,000 fine wines tested by Vinebox, only about 1% make the cut into your box. They’re not the same as your local wine store options (even the really nice ones) – you won’t find anything mass-produced here. Though Vinebox handles the bottling and distribution, all the wine is imported from various winemakers and vineyards in Europe.
Vinebox’s periodic 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.
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 in the vials, the wines are good for up to three years – though you’ll want to pour yourself a glass much sooner than that.
Price of Vinebox
The price of each box varies, but they generally cost between $85 to $95, making each glass of wine $9 to $10.50. Standard shipping is free, or you can pay $25 for expedited delivery. It’s also easy to make the shipment a gift and Vinebox lets you add a free gift message.
Review of Vinebox
The last collection I tried from Vinebox was called Back to the Classics. It’s an ode to the “classic” wines of regions like Tuscany, Italy and Burgundy, France and contains four reds, four whites, and one rosé.
All the wines in this particular edition were light- and medium-bodied, so if those are up your alley, you’ll love the box. I enjoyed trying and sipping on all the wines, especially because I tend to be a casual, low-commitment drinker. I hate opening an entire bottle knowing I won’t be able to finish it in one night (or even a few nights), so I really appreciated Vinebox’s unique design. It’s also convenient because all the bottles have screwtops – no bottle opener or corkscrew necessary.
In particular, I liked the Le Gabier Blanc, a medium-bodied Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon blend with notes of apple and peach, which felt appropriate for the transition from summer to fall. Unfortunately, Vinebox didn’t have a full-sized bottle but it had a similar one – a Godello wine. This was slightly disappointing and I haven’t yet bought the full-sized alternative. It turns out Vinebox didn’t have any of the exact same wines as the samplers for the box I tried, so it might be best not to fall too head over heels for a particular bottle.
Other than the regular year-round offerings, Vinebox sells a holiday favorite: 12 Nights of Wine, a fun take on the traditional advent calendar. This limited-edition box contains 12 bottles and comes in one of three beautiful holiday-themed packaging. Each of the slots is labeled by number, letting you work through the collection one day at a time. Be on the lookout for this highly popular box around the holidays – it always sells out quickly.
The bottom line
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 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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