Can Winc turn you into a more discerning wine drinker?

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Can Winc turn you into a more discerning wine drinker?

This is the latest edition of our series, “Lifetime Subscriber.” From clothes to food to vitamins, I review popular subscription services and decide if they’re worth the price.

I love wine, but I’m no connoisseur. My knowledge extends to the beer and wine class I took in college (which I mostly took for the, ahem, weekly tastings). I know what wines I like and am typically reluctant to branch out. Admittedly, I also tend to buy the cheapest option available.

Wine subscription services have existed for a while, but are often very pricey. And it can be intimidating to walk into a wine store and find a bottle if you aren’t an expert. I wondered if there was a way for me to build my wine education without spending a ton of money on wine I might not like.

Enter Winc. This millennial-focused wine subscription service brings wine tasting to your doorstep. It’s low-cost, the bottles are aesthetically pleasing and you actually can learn a thing or two about wine along the way. I tried the service for a month (for the sake of journalism, obviously). Here’s how it went.

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How Winc works

First fill out a short online quiz to determine preferences, with questions like, “How do you like your coffee?” and “How adventurous are you when it comes to food and drink?”

My preferences were: I like strong, black coffee, am fairly adventurous with food, love saltiness and fruit flavors and am neutral about earthy and citrus flavors.

You then select how many bottles you want, and can choose how many of those are red or white. I selected two red and two white.

Based on my responses, Winc recommended a 2015 Chop Shop cabernet sauvignon, a 2017 Folly of the Beast pinot noir, a 2017 Summer Water rose and a 2018 Cape Route chenin blanc. After confirming your selection, Winc delivers bottles right to your door in a couple of days. You can rate the bottles online after you try them, and over time Winc will curate and recommend future wines for you.

How much Winc costs

Winc subscriptions start at $39 for three bottles with a flat shipping fee of $9. Orders of four or more bottles come with free shipping. If four bottles of wine a month seems like a lot of wine, you can always pause or skip a month for no additional charge.

Bottles start at $13 and can run over $30. While Winc let me sample the four types of wine for free, my order would have cost around $60. These prices are lower than retail prices at most wine stores (especially here in New York). Winc also offers a price guarantee: If you don’t like the wine, you’ll get your money back.

Winc review

All four wines matched my preferences and three of them were delicious.

I did not expect to like the cabernet as much as I did, as I typically like lighter wines. It was bold, full and fruity, and tasted great with a burger. Another highlight was the surprisingly refreshing pinot noir, which was packed with berry flavors. The chenin blanc was also wonderful, similar to other types I had in the past. The only wine I probably wouldn’t get again was the rose. I found it too watery and not flavorful enough.

You can learn more about each bottle on Winc’s website. It provides valuable information about body, flavors and pairing options, in addition to reviews and recommendations from wine drinkers. After reading this information I felt more knowledgeable about the wines I was drinking.

Winc is perfect for a wine lover looking to expand their palate. It does a great job of finding wines that fit your preferences, and the future personalization means your wine selection will only get better each month.

I would order Winc again. The prices are reasonable and I love the customized nature of the service. Thanks to Winc, I’ve begun to explore types of wine I wouldn’t have previously (hello, cabernet!) and feel a bit more confident picking something out for myself in the wine store.

Want to try wine right from the source? Here are six wineries worth traveling to.

Note: Some states prohibit alcohol delivery. Winc currently doesn’t ship to Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota or Utah. You also must be 21 or older to place an order, and will have to sign for the delivery. Check Winc’s website to learn more.

Image: Phillip Blackowl