Few shopping excursions give us product overload quite like a trip down the wine aisle. We love wine, we need to have a bottle (or three) in the house at all times - but that doesn't mean we know what we're looking for.
What's the difference between pinot noir and a cabernet? Is chardonnay the one that's extra sweet or extra dry? I genuinely can't remember...do I like malbec?
These are all things we've thought to ourselves while staring at bottle labels and hoping no vino snob is eyeing us critically. We love wine enough to put ourselves through this, but wouldn't it be great if we didn't have to?
Luckily for us, the Tasting Room had the exact same thought.
Essentially the Netflix of buying wine, the Tasting Room is a club designed to help you learn what kind of wine you prefer and then get you that wine in bulk at a reasonable, flat fee.
It sounds too good to be true, right? Believe us, it's all too real.
Here's how it works. When you sign up, the Tasting Room sends you six mini-bottle samplers (two whites, four reds). The bottles are numbered 1-6.
Don't worry about the mini-bottles being a ripoff of the actual wines; Tasting Room uses a unique system to transfer the wine safely, so it doesn't lose any of its original flavor. According to the website:
We use a one-of-a-kind, patented system designed solely for the purpose of transferring wine directly from standard 750ml bottles into our mini bottles. Because the wine is transferred in an oxygen-free environment, we’re able to ensure the highest quality. Because the wine is never exposed to air in the transfer process, you can rest assured that the wines in the sample-size bottles taste exactly as they would from standard 750ml bottles. Any other company that offers sample-size bottles cannot guarantee the freshness or quality that our system provides.
That's good enough for us!
Following along with the Tasting Room’s online rating system, you try the mini-wines in order as presented on your screen and compare them in groups of two.
After answering which you like better between the two (sometimes you'll be asked if you like one a "little more" or "a lot more") or if you hated the lot, you'll get your wine profile.
In one concise page, you'll be told what kind of wine your palate is drawn to. It might be "Dry Whites" or "Bold, Earthy Reds" or anything else in between! You'll also be given flavor notes that you would likely prefer (like blackberry, apricot, or plum), what grapes you should keep an eye out for, what countries you would prefer your wine from, and even ideas for food pairings to go with your perfect wine.
They'll also include a go-to guide on how to order your ideal wine at a restaurant - which means no more making a fool out of yourself in front of the sommelier - and the best part: the option to order your wine right to your doorstep.
For less than $10 a month, you can have two to twelve bottles of the perfect vino shipped to you every two months. But, don't worry, it doesn't have to be the same wines over and over again.
Much like you'd rate that movie Netflix suggested to update your personal preferences of TV binge-watching, you can rate the wines Tasting Room sends you via your online profile. This will update your wine profile and new options will be delivered to you the following shipment.
As your palate changes and grows, your wine order changes, too!
Just make sure you finalize your taste profile and confirm your orders quickly. If you dawdle, Tasting Room will send you a shipment of their best-sellers, not your own personalized selections. And while we're sure those wines are tasty as hell, the whole point of this is having wine that you'll love sent right to you.
On top of everything else, each and every bottle comes with a satisfaction guarantee, so if you ever get one you don't like, they'll replace it or issue you a site credit.
Quick tip: the prices on the site are going to be better than most stores, since they work directly with vineyards and distributors, avoiding the middleman markup. So, if you're going to commit to the Tasting Room, you can kiss your trips to the wine aisle goodbye.
Now, that's something we can get onboard with.
Photo Credit: Tnarik Innael via Flickr