VineBox Review - Good for Luxury European Wines?

By Lydia Noyes
HighYa Staff
Published on: Dec 19, 2018

For those with a passion for fine wine, VineBox promises to let you try exceptional wines without committing to purchasing a full bottle. The company offers a quarterly subscription of nine 3.3-ounce servings of world-class wines, with the option to buy full bottles if you find one you love.

Does VineBox offer more value as a subscription service than other wine club options? Our research shows that it likely does for one specific type of wine drinker, which we’ll divulge later in this article. First, let’s look at the details behind VineBox.

What is VineBox?

VineBox is a subscription wine service that provides members with samples of high-end wines four times every year. Each variety is delivered by the glass, which allows subscribers to sample premiere brands and vintages without committing to the price of a full bottle. The company wants you to consider them as the tasting room experience of a small winery delivered to your home.

According to their website, VineBox prides itself on providing members with some of the world’s best wines, and they focus on offering varieties that are sustainably produced and fermented in small batches. According to their website, out of every 11,358 wines they sample, only 1% (113) meet their standards and are included in the program.

What makes VineBox’s single serve wine bottles possible is their patented fractioning technology. This process uses a closed nitrogen environment to prevent wines from coming into contact with oxygen when they are transferred from the original bottle to VineBox’s vials. They state that this allows the wine to “maintain its complete bouquet, flavor profile, and mouthfeel”. Once encapsulated like this, VineBox claims each wine sample will last up to three years.

VineBox relies on these single-serving vials for their subscription program, which we’ll discuss next.

What Does the VineBox Subscription Process Look Like?

You can sign up for a VineBox membership on the company website by first answering a few basic questions about your taste preference, how you take your coffee, and the kinds of chocolate and fruit you prefer.

Next, you can specify whether you want an annual ($72), quarterly ($79), or one-time purchase ($87) and whether the purchase is a gift. If you double your order to receive two boxes, you will save 10% off the full purchase.

VineBox will then use your specifications to curate a box of nine wine samples that they ship to your door. You can access all the information about the wine you receive, as well as recommendations for similar full-sized bottles, from your account.

The company also sells pre-selected wine boxes with seasonal themes. At the time of writing, VineBox offered a “Winter Wines” box of seven red and two white wines harvested from vines planted over a century ago.

Both the quarterly and annual subscription also provide you with credit for purchasing full-sized wine bottles or between three and twelve more single glasses ($15 and $30 respectively). These credits expire at the end of every quarter.

Note: only previous customers can purchase full-sized wine bottles from VineBox, as the options available are based on their stated taste preferences.

While VineBox ships across much of the United States, these are the states that didn’t qualify for delivery at the time of writing: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah and Vermont.

What is The Cancellation and Return Policy?

When you first sign up for VineBox, you will be charged upfront for your total quarterly or annual subscription. This membership renews automatically on the second day of the second month of each billing cycle. If you want to change or cancel your subscription, you need to do so before this date, as all prepaid memberships are non-refundable.

Requests and refunds are honored if they are submitted within 60 days of your order’s ship date. You will be reimbursed the amount you paid, minus a $10 restocking fee. Any further questions about brand policies can be directed to hello@getvinebox.com.

How Does VineBox Source Their Wines?

VineBox states that they select their wine dynamically, meaning that they are cultivating relationships with winemakers and grape-growers from all over the world to handpick underappreciated wines such as just-bottled vintages or wines from up-and-coming regions.

Their end goal is to highlight wines that are seasonally appropriate and new on the scene, and they aim to give their subscribers early access to them before they sell out globally.

The company claims that they balance a blend of new and traditional wine styles in each subscription box and that they include information about every wine, including tasting notes, recommendations, and pairings that are informative for both beginning wine drinkers and advanced sommeliers.

Notably, VineBox doesn’t offer private label wine like many of the wine clubs we’ve looked at (Firstleaf and Club Winc come to mind). Instead, every wine they provide can be traced back to a specific vineyard, and it is available for sale in other places.

What Do Previous Customers Think?

Wine preferences are highly subjective, as noted by a study from Caltech that revealed that a wine’s price has a profound impact on its perceived quality. Even so, we can learn a lot about VineBox as a business from looking at reviews from previous customers.

The VineBox website includes numerous glowing reviews that the wine boxes made great gifts for wine lovers and that they offered a creative way for couples to enjoy date nights. Many also mentioned that the subscription helped them discover their all-time favorite wines.

On the negative end, some people felt that VineBox didn’t take their preferences into account. One reviewer complained that she stated that she only like whites and roses but received a box that contained 80% reds. We also noticed a few complaints that gift purchases didn’t arrive on time and that the company was too expensive for the amount of wine received.

Reviews from Revuezzle and Business Insider reached similar conclusions. Our interpretation of these reviews showed us that VineBox was considered a smart option for people who wanted to experience a variety of luxury wines without paying for a full bottle. Casual drinkers or those who prefer more than a glass per variety might want to look elsewhere.

Other Wine Subscriptions Compared to VineBox

Speaking of looking elsewhere, how does VineBox compare to the wine subscription competition? We compared the service to three popular options to see whether VineBox stands out.

VineBox Firstleaf Club Winc Tasting Room
Frequency of Delivery Annually, quarterly or a one-time purchase Monthly, but customizable Monthly Monthly, bimonthly, quarterly
Cost Per Delivery $72-$87 $90 $52-$59, $9 shipping for orders under four bottles $50-$169
Bottles Per Delivery 9 single servings 6 3-5 12
Cost Per Bottle $8- $9.50 per single serving $15 per bottle (includes shipping) $13-$50 per bottle $14-$25 per bottle
Wine Varieties Imported high-end wines, predominately whites and reds Imported, domestic, white, red, rose, sparkling Imported, domestic, white, red, rose, sparkling Wine from 11 countries, white, red, rose, sparkling
How to cancel Online or over the phone Online or over the phone Over the phone Over the phone
Restocking fee $10 $20 $20 $15
Private Label? No Yes, up to 80% Yes Yes

As this chart makes clear, VineBox and Tasting Room both send their subscribers single-serving “test” glasses of wine to help them determine what their taste preferences are, with the option to purchase them by the bottle after.

Pricewise, Tasting Room costs $10 for six single-serving bottles, while VineBox costs between $72- $87 for nine. VineBox also offers high-end wines from across the world, while Tasting Room is exclusively private label. It’s also important to note that all further Tasting Room orders will be full-sized bottles, while VineBox orders remain sample size.

You’ll pay approximately the same amount for an order of Firstleaf wine ($90) as you will with VineBox ($72-87), but Firstleaf provides six full-size bottles instead of nine three-ounce samples.

In other words. Firstleaf provides subscribers with approximately four times as much wine for the price. This wine is predominately private label, so that will likely be the deciding factor for many people between the companies

Which subscription company is best for your needs? In some ways, the decision comes down to quality or quantity.

Firstleaf, Club Winc, and Tasting Room all offer more wine per order, but you will receive predominately private label bottles, which can lead to questions about its origin and quality because the only information about the varieties will come directly from the company.

VineBox provides significantly less wine per subscription, but the company offers more transparency about its origins, which might impact its perceived value for many people.

Our View: Who is VineBox Best For?

Looking through the research, it’s clear that VineBox offers a unique option for wine lovers in search of a luxury subscription service. The company lets you try premiere wine varieties without committing to the cost of a bottle, and it’s a smart option for people who prefer to drink just one glass at a time.

If your goal is to receive lots of wine, VineBox might not be your best choice, as they only deliver a scant glassful of each variety. However, some people find this style of wine delivery useful, as it makes it easier to watch your calorie intake or have a single glass without dealing with an opened wine bottle.

If, in contrast, you value the ability to bring a winery tasting experience into your home with premier wines, then VineBox makes a lot of sense. Contrary to the other wine companies we looked at, they never use private label wine, and every variety they deliver undergoes an in-depth analysis where only one wine out of one hundred is selected for consideration.

In our view, VineBox makes the most sense for people who care about wine but don’t know precisely what they like and are intimidated by making expensive selections themselves in restaurants. The brand offers educational opportunities to experience fine wine without committing to entire bottles of each variety.

This club is also geared towards people who want to know exactly what’s in their vine. VineBox offers an artisanal approach by providing ample information about the vineyards their wines come from and the flavor profiles and pairing suggestions for every shipment.

If that’s not what you prioritize, there are plenty of other wine subscription companies to consider instead.

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