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Alright, so it’s clear I’ve gone complete wine-o mode. The cat is truly out of the bag.
If you’ve been following along with all of the wine-related content here on Spy in recent months, you’ll probably notice the author is always none other than yours truly. I’ve had the opportunity to try a range of delicious wine clubs over the course of the past year and a half, ranging from test tube lookalikes from VINEBOX to quiz picks from Firstleaf to even affordable bulk wine options from Splash Wines.
But, why exactly am I putting myself through all of this wine consumption? Well, to cope with the tumultuousness that is the world. But, also, I have made it my duty to discover the best of the best wine clubs that the world has to offer. And I will not stop until I have had the opportunity to try each and every single one.
In order to rank these wine clubs properly, I will be basing them on these three categories listed below:
- Wine Selection — includes quality, taste, variety, etc.
- Creativity & Uniqueness — includes customizable options, quizzes, shape of bottle, etc.
- Customer Experience — includes overall navigation on site, clarity of what you’re getting, how easy it is to schedule deliveries, etc.
- Price & Value — How much are you paying per bottle? Are you getting a good value for your dollar?
Ready to get into it? This time, I had the opportunity to try none other than the Blue Apron wine club.
$10 PER BOTTLE
What Is Blue Apron?
We know what you’re thinking, “Isn’t Blue Apron a meal delivery service?”
Well, yes, it is, but that’s not all it is.
Not only does Blue Apron provide one of the most delicious and reliable meal delivery services on the planet, but they even offer a wine delivery service ideal for pairing with your weeknight meals.
Included, you can expect six different bottles inside each personalized delivery. As a buyer, you’ll have the opportunity to pick all reds, all whites or mix and match a number of your favorites together for a DIY selection. Each delivery comes with note cards that include information regarding tasting notes, pairing tips and the story behind each bottle so you know exactly what you’re drinking.
Also, bottles will cost around $10 each for six total at $69.99 a month. And, yeah, that includes shipping.
But, let’s get down to it. Does it actually taste good?
Blue Apron Wine Selection
Because I was sipping Blue Apron in warmer weather, I decided to hook myself up primarily with some summer water to ensure I got my fix this year. With that said, I snagged three rosés, two reds and one white. I thought this was an excellent selection due to the time of year, so the immense number of rosés more or less stole my heart from the computer screen.
With that said, my box contained the following:
- Darjean Jones Rosé
- Truth or Consequences Rosé 2020
- Atelier Raspail Rosé
- Darjean Jones Chenin Blanc
- El Rede Malbec
- Leaf & Vine Zin/Petite Sirah
As I said, the rosés more than piqued my interest, so I threw them all (plus the one white) in the fridge to obtain that classic rosé chill for when it was time to sip. The reds I left on my bar cart for the same.
Over the course of about a week, I had the chance to try them all solo and some with a couple of friends. My two favorite picks had to be the Atelier Raspail Rosé and the El Rede Malbec. I felt like these two (for me at least) had the most unique flavors without any overbearing confusion. The rosé had a delicate profile that was fruity yet refined. I had one glass chilled and the other chilled with added ice to try two ways and both satiated. The red, on the other hand, was downright fun. I don’t know how else to explain it. It’s hard to find a red that gave as much as El Rede did and felt like a party wine over than a dinner wine. A wine you play board games with. A wine you sip all night at your best friend’s wedding. A wine perfect for scary stories when the power goes out.
But, some good always comes with a bit of a downfall. Sometimes, I find that in order for a wine to be “unique” it needs to go above and beyond to trick the palate in a way. I found this to be the case especially with Darjean Jones Rosé, of which I was not a fan of whatsoever. The color of this rosé was a deeper cherry red. It had the heaviness of a red wine but tasted almost watered down which I didn’t appreciate much. I understand that it’s purposely not intended to be the rosé I’m familiar with, but this one felt a bit all over the place. It doesn’t feel right for any season or event.
The other wines? I have to be honest. Meh. I didn’t find much to love or much to hate. Very humble, very methodical, very table.
Creativity & Uniqueness
As mentioned above, you can expect six different bottles inside each personalized delivery ranging from a selection of reds, whites, varieties and customizables. I love the customizable option, but, I also love a surprise. That’s why I think Blue Apron hits the nail on the head in terms of what to expect: you either do expect or you don’t expect.
There isn’t anything super creative about the branding, but I do love all of the information Blue Apron provides to help explain each bottle. I found this super helpful when tasting and it left a lot less confusion than I’ve seen in other wine clubs.
Here is the only issue I’m having with the “creativity” in regards to Blue Apron. Each bottle is only 500 ml. They describe the sizing choice based on the fact it’s “pairing-sized” for two. You know, the perfect amount of wine for two people during dinner on a weeknight.
With that said, I personally think this size is waaay too small. I find it difficult to share one bottle of wine between two people without running to the store to snag a second bottle before I finish my meal. Sometimes, meals include a cute little charcuterie board, maybe an app and then dinner. Sure, I understand making bottles this size is great for some, but not for the majority of wine lovers.
Ordering wine is effortless with Blue Apron — only if you have an account. I like to know what I’m getting before creating an account so I don’t feel like there are many strings attached, but Blue Apron ensures you make an account before you can even pick your selection, which I’m not about. Personally, I feel like this choice will push more people away instead of draw them in. Because, to be quite frank, it almost did for me.
Nonetheless, customer experience in terms of ordering, site navigation, clarity, etc. is stellar. The site is straightforward and easy to use.
Price & Value
When doing the math, the final $69.99 price comes out to around $11.66 per bottle. This doesn’t seem so bad until you remember that each bottle given is only 500 ml. Your average bottle of wine is 750 ml, so if you do the math once more, you’re kind of being jipped two whole bottles of wine, taking the $11.66 price per bottle to around $17.50 a bottle instead.
In comparison to other popular wine clubs such as Firstleaf, which offers six bottles at $6.60 each for your first round and $13.33 each every time after, it doesn’t quite add up. Firstleaf has a slew of full-bottled delicious wines at a cheaper price, so in my eyes, the price doesn’t really add up.
The Verdict: Blue Apron Wine Is Great for Pairing, but It’s Not For Everyone
So, is Blue Apron worth it? I’m honestly not sure.
Listen, I liked my experience with Blue Apron, but I wasn’t overwhelmingly floored. I’m not upset in the slightest that I didn’t love the majority of the wine I was given. I find that to be one of the most exciting things about wine clubs, you simply never know what you’re going to get. Where’s the fun in knowing you’re going to love a bottle? There isn’t any.
What’s holding me back most is price per bottle given the size. Upon initial observation, $69.99 including shipping doesn’t sound so bad for six bottles, right? But they’re just so much smaller than I thought they’d be. I wish they ditched the “pairing-sized” approach and gave us bigger bottles instead.
However, if you are already a loyal Blue Apron customer, then this wine club can be the perfect way to get the most out of your meal kits. So while it’s not necessarily right for me, I’m also not the target demo. For folks who already know and love Blue Apron, the company’s wine club is definitely worth a closer look.
All in all, I am one person. Just because Blue Apron didn’t tickle my fancy the way I’d hope doesn’t mean it won’t for you. If you’re ready to give Blue Apron a try for yourself, check out the link below and get sipping!