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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 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.
Firstleaf is 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.
How Firstleaf works
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. The quiz also includes food tastes and dislikes to further understand your palate.
You’ll immediately get a recommendation of six wines. For newcomers, Firstleaf gives an introductory offer of these six wines for only $40, plus tax.
This welcome-to-the-club offer 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. If you decide to continue the subscription, it costs around $90 for six wines including shipping, which comes out to $15 a bottle.
Review of Firstleaf
At the time of my initial review, Firstleaf had a three for $15 deal (which, unfortunately, is no longer available), so I took advantage of that offer.
Three full-sized bottles of red and white wine 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 included a Chardonnay from Paso Robles, a Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina, and a Zinfandel from Sonoma County. All were international wine competition winners, but despite their prestige, I didn’t love them all, which was completely fine and not unexpected. I would have the opportunity to rate the picks and explain my specific thoughts later on.
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 loved for $90.
After this initial box, every future shipment will consist of six different wines curated around your preferences for $90 including shipping and be delivered automatically every one, two, or three months. However, you can choose any other delivery date or cancel your subscription at any time.
By design, Firstleaf works better the longer you use it. The more wines you rate, the better its system can match future shipments to your taste and adjust picks if your tastes evolve from the initial quiz.
The bottom line
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 $7 in the intro offer and $15 for future ones, it’s also a much more affordable way to enjoy quality wines from top vineyards around the world.