I love wine. In fact, I love wine so much that it’s become a personality trait of mine over the years. I even made a wine-themed Instagram account during the pandemic because I was slugging back bottles like it was my job. (And sometimes it is my job!)
I’ll never forget my initial introduction to wine. I’m not embarrassed to say that my first wine came in a box, not a bottle. Then, like a lot of young people, I graduated to the kind of cheap table wines you can buy at drug stores and gas stations.
Now, I’m not afraid to spend a little bit of money on better wines. I even spin it around in my glass every once in a while so it looks like I really know what I’m doing. Basically, I’m not a wine connoisseur, but I’d like to be.
That’s why I jumped at the chance to try Firstleaf, an online wine club that set me up with a 1-month trial. As an e-commerce editor and product reviewer, I’ve previously tested out a few wine clubs, and shortly thereafter became obsessed. But those other wine clubs didn’t give me the best bottle of wine I’ve had in years. For that, I have Firstleaf to thank.
And while you can’t get your first box of wine for free (sorry, but it’s good to be me), you can save 50% on your first order from Firstleaf — that’s six bottles of wine personalized to your tastes for just under $40.
Firstleaf: How It Works
To get started, Firstleaf has new customers take a short quiz so they can match them with the perfect bottles. They’ll start with questions like “Do you like red, white or a mix?” and “How adventurous are you when you look for wine?” They’ll also ask about specific flavor preferences and the types of food and beverages you like.
Once they have your answers, Firstleaf performs an in-depth analysis of thousands of different components of wine – tannins, body, acidity, sweetness, etc. Then, their advanced technology maps your specific preferences to their large portfolio of award-winning wines from around the world.
And unlike the average wine club, which makes recommendations based on a few generic “wine profiles”, Firstleaf’s matchmaking algorithm is much more personalized. There are millions of potential combinations.
The end result is a curated box of 6 or 12 bottles that have been matched to your unique palate.
You do have to make an account to see the recommendations, which makes sense for a wine club, but I have commitment issues. That being said, you can cancel at any time, so just set a reminder on your calendar if you’re a commitment-phobe like I am. Introduction to Firstleaf begins at just $39.95 plus free shipping for six bottles (around $6.60 per bottle). Each box thereafter starts at just $79.98 a month for six bottles, which works out to about $13.33 per bottle of wine. However, that doesn’t mean you’re going to get a bunch of cheap $13 wines.
In fact, if you were to buy all of the bottles Firstleaf sent me individually, you’d need to spend about $115. So not only do you get the chance to try new bottles you’d never find at your local liquor store, and from wine regions around the world, but you also get to try them at a serious discount. Also unlike your local liquor store, Firstleaf gives money back for any bottle you don’t like. You seriously can’t lose.
After placing my order, I expected at least a couple of days to go by before my first Firstleaf order arrived, but I kid you not, it was at my front door the very next day. This is one of the benefits of living in New York City, and I can’t promise you’ll have similar luck, but it was still mighty impressive.
All in all, getting my first box of wine was incredibly easy.
The Verdict: Did Firstleaf Win Me Over?
I hate burying the lead, so let’s get right down to it. I loved my Firstleaf experience. You can read my full review of the wines I received below, but I really would recommend Firstleaf to wine lovers like myself.
It was a fun experience from the test at the beginning to actually trying the wines. It’s totally inexpensive for wine lovers who love a good deal, and you can cancel and/or modify your membership at any time.
I would really suggest Firstleaf to those of you who don’t really consider yourself a connoisseur, at least, not yet. Rather, it’s the wine club for people who just love drinking wine. It’s un-frilly, totally approachable and makes you feel loved as a wine drinker instead of talked down to for not knowing every little thing about vino.
I can’t say that every bottle blew me away, but there was one bottle in particular that I plan on drinking all summer long (see below). And if you find a bottle you really love, you can order it from Firstleaf’s wine store a la carte. So, you won’t have to worry about never seeing it again.
Finally, with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day on the horizon, Firstleaf is a great gift idea for wine-loving parents. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t enjoy a surprise wine delivery showing up on their doorstep.
Reviewing My Firstleaf Wine Selection
The Firstleaf quiz decided I needed five whites and one rosé. This is something we most certainly agreed upon. Here’s what I got in my first box:
- Fogbreak Pinot Blanc, a bright and lively bottle from Monterey County, California
- Intricacy Cellars Pinot Gris, a bright, fruity bottle from Willamette Valley, Oregon
- Corsage Chardonnay, a classic from California
- Fifth Note Cellars Sauvignon Blanc-Pinot Grigio, an exciting blend from Sonoma County
- Avistelle Pinot Gris, an elegant New World from Columbia Valley, Washington
- Rainy Day Rosé, a perfect rosé from California
Firstleaf provided profile cards along with each of the bottles, which gives you a chance to get acquainted with your wine while you let it breathe.
It didn’t take much time at all for me to open what I thought would be my least favorite: Corsage Chardonnay.
I’m not a Chard guy most days, but upon my first sip, I noticed that Corsage was a little sweeter than most Chards I’ve had in the past. That was actually a nice surprise because I feel like most Chardonnays carry a bit of a bite. But Corsage was an enjoyable experience that left me considering purchasing more Chardonnay in the future.
Two days later, because I don’t have many other hobbies, I danced over to my bar cart and decided to treat myself with the bottle I was most excited about: Fifth Note Cellars Sauvignon Blanc-Pinot Grigio.
Let’s get something straight here — I love Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio like they are my fraternal twin children. The thought of mixing the two together made my heart flutter. I uncorked her, poured a glass at room temp and took my first sip.
Let me just say, Fifth Note Cellars did the damn thing. One sip in and I was hooked. It was perfectly balanced but also fruity but also sweet but not too sweet. It just hit my taste buds in exactly the way I wanted it to. I never wanted the bottle to end. Did it, though? Yeah, it did.
Since I had finished that bottle so quickly and it was nowhere near my bedtime, I thought it would be a decent night to cause chaos by myself. It was Wednesday, after all.
So, I put on Dream Girls and opened up Fogbreak Pinot Blanc.
To make sure I remembered every little detail the next day, I took notes on my phone. They are as follows:
- Tasty and tart
- I love Jennifer Hudson
- Mmmmmmm! Good.
- Room temperature. Fridge too full.
- No cork
- Jennifer Hudson!
- Very delicious, 10/10, would drink again.
Two days later, I ended my workday by walking upstairs to my friend Kerianne’s apartment and brought a bottle of Intricacy Cellars Pinot Gris. We spent the night sharing the bottle and looking at an old yearbook from an American school in Milan that we found on the street one night. I will say that out of all of them, this is the one I wasn’t as impressed by. It just tasted like any other bottle of Pinot Gris. I absolutely enjoyed it, but I don’t have much to say about it. Thankfully, since satisfaction is guaranteed, I could actually get this bottle comped by Firstleaf in my next order.
The next day was really nice out, so it was time to sip some wine while I basked in the 60-degree sunlight with a good book and my Avistelle Pinot Gris.
The profile card that came with Avistelle mentioned flavors of green apple, green pear, melon and lime married with honeysuckle aromas, which felt perfect for a warm spring day. This bottle HIT. Every sip made my mouth water, and it was perfect for sipping under the sun. After reading my book, I went downstairs and shared the rest of my bottle with my roommate. I think this bottle is her new favorite wine. She took photos of the label to try and find it herself someday. (Hint: you can find it on Firstleaf.)
Lastly, it was time to sip the one I’d been saving all this time: Rainy Day Rosé. Fortuitously, I did, in fact, drink it on a rainy day. Rosé isn’t my rainy day drink of choice but, given the name, it felt fitting.
So how was it?
It was outstanding.
I can’t begin to express how delicious Rainy Day Rosé is. It was very different from traditional rosé because of its lack of sweetness, but man, they really took me by surprise. Like, I may have found my go-to bottle for the summer. I did drink this room temp, but I want to get it again so I can sip from a chilled mason jar filled to the brim with ice. You know, for the aesthetic. Rainy Day really put all her might into this bottle. A star. An absolute 10/10.
Just like that, my Firstleaf experience was over. I wasn’t sure how well the quiz would work, but my first order contained several bottles I would absolutely buy again and one bottle that I absolutely loved.
Best of all — as I was looking for more information on the Firstleaf site, I discovered that you can also order your favorite wines as individual bottles, so if you find something you like, you can order a refill with a few clicks. Simply uncork, sip, order, repeat!