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Should You Subscribe To Get Wines By The Glass?

Mail-order wine from Vinebox: price, quantity, and taste.


I admit to being skeptical about mail-order delivery services, and I confess that I'm in the minority. I like going to stores. I like talking to salespeople. But you don't. I get it. You get your groceries delivered, your clothes show up in Stitch Fix boxes every month, and maybe you're in a wine club.

But wine clubs often have mediocre wine. It's a great way to expose new drinkers to different varietals, but for a more experienced wine drinker, wine clubs are generally a way to get unreleased wines from producers you already like.

Enter Vinebox. It's a subscription service where you get what they call "three spectacular wines" every month. If you sign up for a year, you end up paying $25 a month for three 100-ml tubes of wine. "This is the stuff that you stumble across on a backroad trip through Tuscany, the gems that local restaurants save for a special occasion." I was intrigued.

THE WINES: The company sent me a sample shipment, the same shipment a consumer would get. I got a "glass" of Viognier from Côtes du Rhone, France; a Chianti Classico from Tuscany; and another Italian red called Aglianico. Honestly, I loved each of them. The Viognier had great peach notes and finished with beautiful minerality; the Chianti was full of fruit but balanced with nice acid; and you could taste the volcanic soil from Mt. Vesuvius in the Aglianico. These wines are not easy to get around here. In fact, I don't think you can get any of them around here.

THE TECHNOLOGY: It's not easy to take a bottle of wine, pour it into seven different glass tubes, and keep it away from oxygen so the wine stays good. The company claims you can keep the wine in the glass tube for up to three years. They use a closed-nitrogen environment in what they call a "fractionation process."

THE VALUE: $25 for 300 ml of wine is a lot. That's less than half a bottle of wine. For that money, you could go buy two great bottles. It's hard to price compare, as these wines aren't available around here, but I'd guess these wines would retail for $20–$30 a bottle. So, there's that. BUT: you are introduced to some cool wines. And if you were at a restaurant, you'd pay $25 for two glasses of wine, right? So the value question is for you to decide. I wish the pour were bigger. My wife and I drank 50 ml of each to sample, and afterwards I felt like I needed a glass of wine.

THE VERDICT: If you love delivery services, this is a high-quality glass of wine. It's a cool package and would make a fun gift.


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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rfischer@mnmo.com

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