Winc Review: An In-Depth Look

By Lydia Noyes
HighYa Staff
Updated on: Jun 17, 2020

Branding itself as “the Netflix of wine,” Winc (formerly known as Club W) is a monthly subscription service for private label wine, champagne, rosé, cider, and other alcoholic beverages.

The company has curated a collection of hundreds of varieties and promises to make it easier and more pleasurable for you to find the wine you love.

Winc was founded in 2012 by co-founders Xander Oxman and Geoff McFarlane, who teamed up with noted winemaker and sommelier Brian Smith to create a personalized wine club that strips down the barriers for people intimidated by the process of learning what wines they enjoy.

Today, the company claims their monthly wine club has helped hundreds of thousands of customers learn about new types a wine and find a passion for the drink.

Our analysis will help you decide whether this subscription service is worth it.

Pros
  • Wide variety of wines, ciders, champagne and more
  • Lots of information available for every bottle
Cons
  • Some customer service complaints
  • Expensive shipping unless you sign up for a membership or purchase at least four bottles

How Does Winc Subscription Work?

Winc offers a variety of wine types, including red, white, cider, rose, sparkling, and vegan.

To get started with a Winc subscription, you’ll first share your taste preferences through a short survey that asks how you like your coffee, your salt habits, whether you enjoy citrus, salty or earthy flavors, and berries, and whether you prefer red or white wines.

Based on your results, the company will suggest four bottles of wine. If you’re already a customer, these recommendations will also take into account any ratings you left on previous bottles. You have the final say over all varieties and can swap them out or add extra.

The total cost will depend on your bottle selection. It will be between $52–$160 for the four bottles selected for you, though most orders are under $60. Membership shipping is $9 but free for all orders over $50.

Winc will send you a minimum of four bottles every month. It’s up to you to add more bottles if desired. Your order will also include pairing recommendations and recipes to ensure you get the maximum benefit from each bottle.

After you’ve tried each wine, you can leave feedback on the Winc website. Not only does this help other customers with their decisions, but Winc will use your rating to better predict which wines you will like going forward.

Each month you’ll receive credits for purchasing more wine. You can skip a month at any time to avoid paying for credits.

You can also purchase Winc wine without signing up for a subscription. The company sells every bottle on-site at both a standard price point and at a Winc member price approximately 10% less. You’ll need to pay $15 for shipping unless your order includes at least four bottles.

Each wine variety has a full description, complete with tasting notes, alcohol content, and origin information on the company website. You can also look at the rating distribution left by previous Winc customers and get advice on food pairings for each bottle.

While Winc ships across most of the United States, some states aren’t currently eligible for delivery: AK, AL, AR, DE, HI, KY, MI, MS, RI, SD, UT. The company won’t deliver to PO boxes, and an adult over 21 needs to be available to sign for every delivery.

Your subscription will continue indefinitely until you cancel it through your online account. Make sure you do so at least three days before your next shipment date to avoid having it processed and sent out.

If your order arrives damaged or with the wrong wines, you can contact the company to fix the problem. In cases where you refuse your delivery or want to return the wines for other reasons, you’ll need to pay up to a $20 restocking fee.

Pros and Cons of Private Label Wine

As with many subscription wine companies, Winc makes and bottles its own wine through connections with vineyards and winemakers around the world.

The company claims to be committed to small batches so that they can ensure they focus on quality over quantity for every offering.

Though most Winc Wines are available exclusively from the site, a few are sold elsewhere. In the vast majority of cases, Winc wine is private label and only available from the company. What does this mean?

Private label wine as a wine that is sourced from the manufacturer and then managed by the retailer. In other words, Winc purchases wine from a variety of wineries around the world and then puts its own labels on the bottles.

There’s a massive market for this type of wine, as sales have doubled in the past decade to now make up more than 10% of total wine sales. However, this has mixed benefits for the final consumer.

To start, private label wine is often bought in bulk at a low price and then fancied up with labels and even fake “awards” to make it seem distinguished.

Second, it’s often harder to trace the origins of private label wine to specific vineyards or grape batches, which means you’ll be less likely to know if you’re really getting what you’re paying for.

That’s not to say all private label wine is lower quality. Some wineries actually sell off their best quality wine for private labeling because doing so ensures they have a buyer and an immediate profit. As with all wines, determining whether a bottle is good or bad will primarily come down to personal preferences.

Analysis of Customer Reviews

Over 50 Winc customers have left reviews on our website. Just a quarter of these reviewers (28%) would recommend the service to their friends, and the company averages 2.2-stars overall.

Common Compliments:

  • Easy to skip months when desired
  • Good discounts on bulk purchases
  • Convenient auto-ship program

Common Complaints:

  • Difficult to cancel subscriptions
  • Low-quality wine for expensive prices
  • Customer service not helpful for dealing with wrong orders
  • Hard to control the timing of deliveries (buyers had to ensure they were home to accept deliveries)
  • Some people had their cards charged even after they thought they had canceled their order

Popular Alternatives

Winc Firstleaf VineBox Bright Cellar Tasting Room
Cost Per Delivery $52–$59 for four bottles $79 for six bottles plus $9.95 shipping $72 (annual), $79 (quarterly) $87 (one-time purchase) for quarterly delivery of nine wine samples $80 for four bottles, plus $8 shipping $9.95 for a tasting kit of mini bottles, then $149 for 12 full-size bottles
Cost Per Bottle $12.99–$74.99 $13.99–$31.99 Wines are sold as single glass samples (around $8.75–$10 per glass) $20 each $13 each
Restocking Fee (Returns/ Undeliverable Purchases) Up to $20 $20 $10 $25 $15
Private Label Wine Yes Up to 80% is a private label No, all samples come from premium wineries around the world Some private label, some from larger wineries Yes

Each of these subscription clubs offers something slightly different, though Winc, Firstleaf, and Bright Cellar are all fairly similar. Each offers majority private label, full-sized wines on a subscription basis. Though each plan has a set amount of bottles that you receive per order, you can add extras easily.

VineBox and Tasting Room are both slightly different. VineBox sells wine only by the glass in specialized vials that are designed to keep it as fresh as if you had just popped the cork from the bottle. You also have fewer options for customization as the company curates the samples based on specific themes.

These samples come from pricey bottles and cost up to $10 per vial. However, that’s a cost-savings compared to buying the full bottle only to find out you didn’t love it and wasted your money.

Tasting Room can be viewed as a combination of these two subscription systems. The company offers primarily private label wine, but you can try each flavor as a sample before committing to a full-size bottle. Just keep in mind that if you sign up for the samples you are committing to at least one delivery of full-sized bottles before you can cancel your subscription.

The Bottom Line

Winc offers a convenient way to receive wine on a subscription basis and have it delivered directly to your door.

The company offers a broad selection of wines from around the world. These wines are all private label, which means, in most cases, it’s impossible to do much cost comparison or read many reviews of specific bottles outside of the Winc website.

Overall, Winc is offering a similar service as many monthly wine membership clubs. We like that the company offers more flexibility than most with how many bottles you receive a month and by letting you skip scheduled deliveries without canceling your membership. However, you might find the wine quality to be hit or miss compared to what’s available from traditional retailers.

Winc makes sense for those who want a fun way to try new wines, but there are other options available as well. You might want to sign up for several on a trial basis until you learn which has the wine that resonates most with you.


Customer Reviews

Start your review of Winc:
  • 57 Customer Reviews
  • 28% Recommend This Service
2.2 out of 5
5 star: 17% 4 star: 8% 3 star: 3% 2 star: 12% 1 star: 57%

 Our Promise to You

To safeguard you and ensure helpfulness and relevance, our compliance team manually assess every customer review before it goes live.

We have a zero-tolerance policy for fake reviews, and companies cannot control or alter any reviews at any time.

Sort reviews by:

  • Think twice

    • By Pedro P.,
    • Palm Springs, CA,
    • Feb 7, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    It is very disappointing that this business operates under very dishonest grounds. I was given a code to use their service for the first month. Before the next box was delivered, I sent them an email to cancel my subscription since they don't let their customers cancel on their own. First, they told me they couldn't cancel my next delivery because the package was "already en-route to the first FedEx hub." Then, I was actually told, by the same person through email, that the package "has not left the warehouse." Which means they lie in order to charge me for the next box. The representative just offered me to refuse the wine and still pay a fee or take the wine and get a small discount towards my third box.

    After reading their entire Terms & Conditions Agreement, it said nothing about this kind of cancellation policy where you cannot cancel your account or an order even though they still have it in their warehouse and they have not provided the customer with ANY shipping information (because it was inexistent and they still had the wine in their facility). I asked the representative to refer me to the section of their user agreement indicating their cancellation policy and, of course, he wasn't able to provide any legal reference to this.

    They only canceled my account but didn't cancel the second order. They couldn't even provide me with a package or shipping number, because the wine was still in their facilities waiting to be shipped days later.

    After reading other experiences and reviews from their customers, this is something they do VERY often. Many others have experienced this same situation where they are left with no other option but to pay $100+ for a service they don't even want anymore.

    On the other hand, the quality of their wines does not reflect their inflated price tag. I DO NOT RECOMMEND!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Warning

    • By Veronica,
    • Boston, MA,
    • Jan 26, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I don't usually write reviews, but I have to say, this has been one of the worst experiences I've had.

    I used Club W/Winc and the last bottle they sent me broke as I was opening it, cutting my thump. I had to go to the doctor given the severity of what happened and when I told Winc, they did not give me a refund, or covered my expenses. Instead, they asked me to sent them back the bottles I had (paying for shipping myself), and they would refund what they received.

    I do believe this is an awful service with cheap and dangerous wine bottles that are not worth the risk. I would not recommend this to anyone.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Terrible customer service, not a professional company

    • By Ian Epstein,
    • Long Island, NY,
    • Jan 6, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I received a $100 gift certificate for the holidays. After receiving my first order (which I was excited for), I realized one of the bottles was the same brand but different wine. I ordered the Cabernet and they sent me a Chardonnay. Not a big deal, so I contacted customer service two times and got no response.

    So I called customer service and was able to reach a man who was very unfriendly. He told me that he would give me a credit for the bottle. I asked him if he would just send me the correct bottle and he got very nasty with me. He said the money is in your account and hung the phone up on me. I went on to my account and did not see the credit. When I refreshed the page, my whole account with all my information and my order was deleted. Are you kidding me?!

    The worst customer service I have ever received!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • I love Club W

    • By Sue Smyrock,
    • Maryland,
    • Jul 23, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I've been getting Wine delivered from Club W, now Winc for over 3 years. I am very happy with the service and with the wine. I order a lot of wine and I've only ever had 1 wine that I didn't like.

    They start off with a questionnaire and then recommend 3 or 4 wines a month, depending on your answers. You can choose to taste those wines or you can switch them out for wines you like.

    The delivery is free as long as you get 4 bottles of wine. I usually get 12 bottles and get the case discount.

    I like that I'm able to skip months when need to and it's not a hassle. You can do it right on the site.

    I plan on being a member as long as they're around.

    Good quality, reasonably priced wine delivered for free to my door step. You can't go wrong.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Outraged!

    • By Ashley Adams,
    • California,
    • Jun 1, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Terrible company! I got one shipment and the wine was not good, so I decided to cancel. Well, they have no place on the site to cancel, so I spoke to a representative on chat and they said my account was canceled. The next billing cycle I am charged $53.00! I contact customer service immediately; I had not received a shipping notification yet just saw it on my bank app. They said there was nothing I could do.

    They REFUSED to refund me for an order they sent without permission after my account should have been closed then told me if I refused the order there was a $20 restocking fee. If I sent it back, the shipping would be on me as well, and a restocking fee may still apply.

    I'm OUTRAGED. They make it impossible to cancel their subpar service. Also, you cannot choose when the wine is delivered, so it took me over a week to get my shipment after the first delivery attempt.

    DONT let this company run with your wallet!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • False advertising and misleading customer service.

    • By Michelle,
    • California,
    • Apr 27, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    False advertising. Customers CANNOT control the day/time of their delivery.

    As per their article here: https://support.winc.com/hc/en-us/articles/223279247-Who-can-accept-a-shipment-from-Winc-.

    "Further customize your delivery details (including scheduling a delivery date/time or delivering to another address*), you can sign up for FedEx's Delivery Manager to make those arrangements."

    This is NOT true, which means that if you cannot sign for the package the first time, you will either have to make yourself available at four-hour intervals or add another errand to your day by going to you local FedEx, line up, sign and pick up the package there.

    Awful customer service. I spent time arguing with them to then have them tell me that their website and support teams have been wrong and they were misleading customers.

    Too bad. It's good wine at good prices.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Winc

    • By Abbey,
    • Philadelphia, PA,
    • Jan 18, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Awful! Do not sign up for Winc Wine Club. The wine is terrible and overpriced, it really is a scam, do not get fooled like I did!

    Also, once you put your credit card info on there, they keep charging you, and the website is purposely hard to navigate so that you cannot unjoin the club or remove your credit card information.

    This is a real person warning you about this site. I wish somebody had done the same for me.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Winc Promotion is a Trap

    Overall Experience:

    If you got any promotional mail or email from Winc, please go through completely because it is a trap. First, they will give you a promotion for $25 or so, but send you wine that's not even worth $5.

    And then the next month they will automatically charge your account $50 for 3 more bottles. And you cannot cancel this order. If you want to return the order, you need to pay $20 to send it back.

    So if you want to avoid this, then AVOID WINC!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Quality is Okay

    • By Scotty,
    • Mountain View, CA,
    • Dec 16, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I recently joined the Club W (now rebranded as Winc), got my 3 bottles of wine during new customer promotion, signed up for 3 free bottles, you pay tax and 9 dollars of shipping, cost me around 11.89 for three bottles, not bad at all.

    I bring those wines to my family members who own a well-known vineyard and wine making company up in Napa and ask them to taste the wine without seeing the bottle (I pour the wine instead of them holding and checking out the bottle), the results are...

    2015 Chenin Blanc Vinyasa - 3 stars

    2015 Wayward Wine Co. Clarksburg Chardonnay - 3 stars

    2015 Albarino Ye`Ye` Vino de Espana - 2 stars

    After the conclusions from all 23 members of family and friends, all three wines are rated below average with the price tag. Those wines actually cost 13 dollars per bottle without tax, but they taste similar to a 4-dollar bottle wine, 2015 Barefoot white wine, sold at Safeway.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Shady Business Practices - Scam Alert

    • By Andrew,
    • Atlanta, GA,
    • Oct 24, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Whatever you do, DO NOT sign up for this company's monthly wine subscription. If you don't login to your account each month to check your "box" - where they automatically add wines to be shipped to you every month - or if you forget to skip a month's shipment, you will automatically be shipped wines you don't want and be stuck with the bill.

    Then when you call customer service to initiate a return, they won't provide you a return label unless the order was for six or more bottles of wine. And then they will charge you a $20 restocking fee - for wines you DIDN'T want, AND that you had to pay out of pocket to ship back!

    Each time I have had to send a return to them, they DID NOT automatically process my refund. I had to call and demand that it be processed - almost a month later to the day in the most recent incident!

    So let's review - you'll be sent wine you don't want, forced to pay return shipping, and then charged a restocking fee, AND you will wait an indefinite amount of time to see ONLY A PORTION of your money back. In other words, you will pay 50% of what they originally billed you just to return wine you didn't want! So basically they steal from their customers when you are ALREADY unhappy with their service.

    Absolute garbage. Horrible customer service policies. I canceled my account and will never go back.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • What a scam

    • By fiona,
    • California,
    • Oct 15, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Disclaimer: I'm a snob, a little. I live next door to Sonoma and my local grocery is a Whole Foods so I get to drink nice wine.

    But honestly, all of the Club W wines taste the same. And they're not great. Not bad, but not good by any means.

    The really bad marks, however, are for their customer service. Total scam. They say you can cancel by phone or by live chat. None of the live chat links on their site work. Their support articles also cite "live chat buttons" — which do not exist. The phone is not an option for hearing impaired customers.

    When you submit a support ticket, you get no confirmation that it was submitted successfully.

    Great job, asshats. Still waiting for them to return my money since they sure can't give me the time I've wasted back.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


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