Are you itching to dive into the exciting world of great wines, but not sure where to start?
Joining a wine club is an excellent way to expand your knowledge, refine your palate, and build your understanding of what makes wine great.
In this article, we have laid out some of our favorite wine clubs for beginners, and explained everything you need to know about finding the perfect wine club for you.
Quick comparison table
Best wine clubs for beginners
One of the most difficult parts of joining a wine club is deciding which subscription is best for you. With so many options it can be difficult to figure out what to look for.
Below, we have reviewed some of the best wine clubs for beginners, and explained what you should expect from each of them.
1. Firstleaf Wine Club
Firstleaf is a wine club that grows with you as your wine knowledge expands. If you don’t know what wines you like quite yet, or have a limited knowledge of wines, Firstleaf is a great choice.
When you sign up, you’ll take a quiz that will gauge your knowledge of wines, and help Firstleaf learn about your current preferences.
The quiz will ask about what wines you currently enjoy, whether you like sweeter wines or drier wines, how adventurous you feel you are with your choices, and where you feel your level of wine expertise lies.
After receiving an order, you will be able to rate each of the wines you tried. This will further allow the algorithm to tune into your specific flavor preferences.
Another huge pro of Firstleaf is that they have dozens of articles written to help you deepen your understanding of different wines, pairings, regions, and other insights, which are great for beginners. If you’re wanting to really delve deep into the world of wine, you will most likely love Firstleaf.
Overall, Firstleaf is a fantastic wine club for beginners that will grow with you. They are also very affordable and offer great deals for new members, which is a nice touch.
Check on Firstleaf
- Initial quiz helps to explore your preferences.
- Plenty of information available about the wines.
- Great value for new members.
- Easy to fine-tune your future orders by rating each bottle.
- None to mention, great choice for beginners.
2. Winc Wine Club
One big way Winc stands out from their competitors is that they actually brew their own wines.
When you first sign up for Winc you will take a quiz about your preferences. This will ask you questions such as what flavors you like, whether you prefer Skittles or M&Ms, different regions that intrigue you, and what your favorite foods are.
Instead of just curating a package for you, Winc will give you options as to which wines you’d like to order based on the answers you provided in your quiz.
After you receive your wines, you’ll be prompted to rate the different wines in your order. Winc will use this information to learn what your preferences are and better suggest future wines for you to choose from.
One thing that also makes Winc stand out from the competition is that they have a focus on sustainability and ethically-produced wines.
Winc supports winemakers who practice ethical and organic farming, and use fully compostable packaging. They also partner with 1% for the Planet, which donates 1% of all Pacificana wine sales towards environmental preservation.
One downside to Winc is that the order does not come with an information card about your chosen wines. This can be frustrating if you’re hoping to learn as much as possible about the bottles that you’ve received, as a beginner.
All of this information is available online, but for some, not having a physical reference card can be a bit annoying.
Overall, if you’re looking for a wine subscription service that will learn and grow with you, but also provides the flexibility to choose exactly what bottles are included in your order, Winc is definitely worth checking out.
Check on Winc
- You get to choose your wines, and the quiz helps you pick the right wines.
- Future orders are optimized through the bottle rating system.
- Focus on sustainable wines.
- Not much information included with each order.
3. Naked Wines Wine Club
Naked Wines is a unique wine club experience. They do a fantastic job of highlighting smaller winemakers all over the world, meaning you receive a well-rounded and thorough introduction to all different kinds of wine.
Naked Wines provides a less formalized ordering experience, and lets you submit your choices whenever is best for you. Instead of submitting a monthly or quarterly order, you will be agreeing to deposit money into your account monthly that will go toward your packages.
This wine club does require you to order your wines in multiples of three. Meaning you have to order three, six, nine, etc. bottles at a time.
If you decide to cancel your subscription, Naked Wines will refund the money you have in your account, so you’ll never have to worry if you skip an order or two.
Also, if there is ever a wine you don’t love, they will refund you in full, which is particularly helpful if you’re a beginner and not sure about a particular bottle.
Overall, Naked Wines is the ideal choice for those who want to receive a broad introduction to the world of wines, who also want to choose exactly which wines are added to their order.
Check on Naked Wines
- Very interesting wines.
- Very flexible ordering process.
- Money back guarantee is very good.
- Must order in multiples of three bottles.
4. Vinesse Wine Club
Vinesse’s mission statement is to make quality boutique wines accessible and affordable for everyone.
Vinesse skips the intensive questionnaire about your preferences and palate, and instead just asks you if you’d like reds, whites or both. Your first order will include eight wines for a special introductory price.
Vinesse is highly customizable and gives you plenty of flexibility in choosing your wines. One thing we have found with Vinesse is that sometimes these options can feel overwhelming.
If you’re more of an intermediate or advanced wine connoisseur, you might like the flexibility Vinesse offers.
On the other hand, if you’re more of a beginner and are craving a curated experience, you might find Vinesse to be overwhelming with the lack of guidance.
No matter what, Vinesse will always try to make sure you are satisfied with your order. They promise to refund you for any bottles you don’t like.
Vinesse also offers fantastic grab bag specials. These wines range from $10-$16 per bottle, so you can customize based on your budget.
For members wanting only the best quality, Vinesse offers their Élevant Society selections of ultra-premium red wines. These bottles are significantly higher quality, and that is reflected in the cost.
If you are a beginner, you can rest assured knowing you are receiving the highest quality of wine from Vinesse, although choosing which bottles to receive can be a bit tricky if you’re new to the world of wine.
Check on Vinesse
- Simple to get started.
- Lots of flexibility in picking bottles.
- Grab bag specials are good value.
- You’ll be refunded for wines you don’t like.
- Can be a bit overwhelming for beginners.
5. WSJ Wine Club
WSJ Wine Club has a fantastic introductory offer. They will send you 14-15 bottles at a significantly discounted rate for your first order, making them a good choice if you don’t want to pay too much for each bottle of wine with your first wine club.
When you order with WSJ, you get the option of receiving all reds, all whites, or a mix of both. From there, you get to choose which bottles you would like included. WSJ doesn’t provide a quiz to help learn about your preferences, instead, you will just be shown a broad range of different options.
This selection process can be frustrating for beginners who have no idea what their wine preferences are. However, being able to order such a large quantity at once, and for a reasonable price, does allow you to taste a broad selection of bottles side-by-side.
Regardless, just like the other options on this list, if you find yourself with bottles that you don’t love, you will be refunded for the full amount as part of the WSJ Wine satisfaction guarantee.
One downside to WSJ Wine Club is that their quality of wines are overall lower than some of their competitors. This means that although the cost per bottle is low, especially with the introductory offer, part of the reason for this is the quality of wine included.
Overall, WSJ Wine Club is a decent choice if you’re looking to expand your understanding of wines without paying a hefty price.
However, for some beginners, it may be frustrating to only receive new shipments quarterly instead of monthly, which is one of the unique things about how a WSJ subscription works.
Check on WSJ Wine Club
- Great value, especially for the first order.
- Plenty of wines included, giving you plenty to choose from.
- Comes with a refund guarantee for wines you don’t like.
- Not the best quality of wines.
- Can be a bit tricky for beginners to choose wines at the beginning.
How to choose a wine club as a beginner
When choosing a wine club, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration. To begin with, it’s important to figure out what your specific goals are with your wine subscription.
Do you just want to casually try new wines, or do you want to dive head first into a full educational experience? Do you want to branch out and try as many new wines as possible, or just pinpoint your preferred bottles?
No matter what, here are the top things to consider when you’re shopping for a wine subscription.
Wine can quickly become very expensive. If you’re a beginner wine connoisseur dipping your toes into the wonderful world of wines, you may not be ready to spend hundreds of dollars every month.
It is important to figure out how much you are willing to spend. Sometimes that will mean changing the quantity of wines you receive.
Most wine clubs will offer different packages based on how many bottles you want to buy. So if you’re finding that you’d like to increase the amount of wine you receive in future shipments, or add additional bottles, you can almost always do that too.
Once you have your budget established, it’s time to look into different wine clubs that would work for you. Just because you’re willing to spend $15 per bottle, does not mean you’re going to always receive the same quality of wine for that price.
Some wine clubs will significantly discount their bottles with their subscriptions, and others offer almost retail prices.
Have a good look at the exact types of wines you’re going to be receiving, and compare this to the price per bottle. If you’re not sure how good a given wine actually is, you can look up some customer reviews, and also look at how much it would cost in terms of retail pricing.
Wine is complex! If you’re just diving into the world of wines, you’ll quickly learn that there is a lot of information to learn, and that information is always expanding.
If you want to learn as you go and soak up as much knowledge as possible, try finding a wine club that is also educational.
Maybe you’re not that interested in learning about complex flavor profiles, growing regions, and how climate affects your wine. That is okay too. Don’t feel obligated to choose a wine club that overwhelms you with information (too many emails and info cards can get annoying!).
The shipping laws for different states vary widely, and not every wine club can deliver to every state. It’s important to double check that a given wine club ships to your state to avoid disappointment.
If you’re going to be ordering wines regularly, you may consider finding wine clubs that are ethically sourced.
This means looking for wineries that ensure their grapes are grown using ethical, sustainable and environmentally-friendly farming methods.
There are plenty of grape varieties throughout history that are no longer around due to drought, poor farming practices and negligence. For instance, we will never get to drink the wines that Jesus loved. Although, apparently that isn’t such a bad thing.
Regardless, it’s never a bad idea to minimize your carbon footprint and support sustainability, especially since it doesn’t normally cost anything more to choose sustainable wines.
Wine clubs can offer an affordable and educational wine experience no matter where you may be on your wine journey.
Finding a great deal on an incredible wine subscription doesn’t need to be difficult.
Do you still have questions about beginner-friendly wine clubs? Leave us a comment, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
About the author
I’m Lindsay, and I’m a full-time traveler, foodie, and artist from Salt Lake City, Utah. I graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2016, and have since pursued full-time professional photography and creative writing. I have had the privilege of trying wines from over a dozen different wine regions all over the world and can’t wait to explore even more. You’ll find me in the cities with the best local cuisine, culture, and outdoor activities.
Between years of wine club subscriptions and dozens of wine tastings, I can say that I’m a true wine lover. I believe that the best way to explore a culture is through the local food, wine, and beer. You’ll often find me enjoying all of the best Sangiovese, Merlots, and the occasional Rosé.