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Firstleaf Review 2021: Wines Curated For Your Palate

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  • Written by: Felicity Kay on Mar 24th, 2021

    Firstleaf is a wine subscription service that uses advanced algorithms to curate personalized monthly wine deliveries you’re guaranteed to love based on your past ratings. 

    What I liked

    • Personalized for your palate – Next month’s selections are based on last month’s reviews

    • Algorithm-based platform – Billions of data points analyzed to bring you wines you’ll love

    • Drink great wine for less – From $15 per bottle

    • 100% customer satisfaction guarantee – Don’t like it? Don’t pay for it!

    What I didn’t like

    • Basic rating system – Geared toward “Thumbs Up/Down” reviews

    • Shipping fees – Only free on orders of 12 bottles or more

    • No way to choose your delivery date – Choose when it ships, not arrives 

    Firstleaf Overview

    If you’re interested in further developing your appreciation of fine wines, Firstleaf is a great way to start out. As you rate the wines that come your way, the system uses advanced algorithms to fine-tune its understanding of your taste, tailoring each box with wines you’re bound to love. 

    I was a little skeptical of the yay-or-nay rating system at first, but there’s something about the simplicity of it that won me over in the end. In the sometimes-pretentious world of wine, I love how Firstleaf takes customer opinions seriously, even if they don’t match up with those of the experts.

    That being said, you definitely don’t need to be a beginner to enjoy this service. While Firstleaf may not offer the largest selection of the most expensive, high-end wines, there are still lots of good bottles on the virtual shelf – and when you’re paying just $15 per bottle, you can’t really complain!

    Firstleaf Membership 

    When it comes to joining the club, Firstleaf does an excellent job of keeping things as simple as possible. Each delivery comprises six bottles, curated to suit your preferences, delivered every one, two, or three months. 

    The first step is a fun 13-question quiz to determine your preferred type of wine, flavor profiles, and how many bottles you drink each month. 

    When you complete the quiz, you’ll be prompted to fill out your email address to see the wines selected for your first delivery box, which comes at a discounted price. 

    Firstleaf Prices

    Definitely one of the most affordable wine subscriptions on the market, each bottle of internationally acclaimed wine will cost you just $15, saving you up to 60% compared to the retail prices in store. 

    Firstleaf charges just $39.95 plus tax for your introductory box of six, with no delivery fee. For each subsequent box, the price goes up to $79.98 plus $9.95 shipping, and tax. Firstleaf also guarantees your satisfaction, giving full credit for any wine you didn’t like – no questions asked!

    For extra wine a la carte, you can visit its online store to choose individual bottles based on type, region, rating, and other factors, or select one of the featured bundles of award-winning wines. Club members can buy all wines with a Firstleaf badge for just $13.33 per bottle when purchasing six or more, regardless of the price listed. 

    When purchasing 12 or more bottles from the store, your delivery fee is waived. 

    Firstleaf Wine Selection

    Firstleaf has an impressive portfolio of award-winning wines from all over the world, with more than 1,000 medals collectively.

    The company fulfills its commitment to both quality and affordability by sourcing wines from lesser-known regions like Paso Robles and Lodi in California, as opposed to Napa and Sonoma, or less-famous European wine regions where importers can still snag a good deal. Nevertheless, you can still find a selection of wines from places like Bordeaux and Piedmont, and you’ll find every grape variety out there.

    To see a selection of the 300+ wines offered, browse the store by color, region, or grape. If you know exactly what you want, simply search by name or brand. If you need some extra guidance, choose from wines based on customer ratings or price point, or check out Firstleaf’s featured wines.

    The most unique feature of the Firstleaf club is its emphasis on using an algorithm to help choose wines you’ll love based on your personal ratings. Of course, for this to work, you need to rate each wine. For each bottle you receive, you’ll be encouraged to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down rating online, which is then analyzed using an advanced algorithm to provide the experts with a constantly evolving picture of your personal preferences.

    Although there’s also space for you to write your own comments and tasting notes for the Wine Concierge Team, the algorithm uses only the “yes” or “no” as a tool when selecting your next wines. While this is obviously pretty limited, it makes sense that it’s the most efficient and accurate way of processing your subjective opinions.

    Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or new to the wonderful world of wine, you can check out Firstleaf’s Wine School, which is full of lots of interesting articles, ranging from why there are so many types of wine glasses to how to remove wine stains from your carpet, and an in-depth look at every varietal (the type of grape).

    Top Firstleaf Wines

    While Firstleaf is certainly committed to bringing you top-rated wines from around the world, the company is unique in that it also takes your personal opinions seriously, along with those of all the other club members – like a social network centered around wine!

    That being said, if you’re looking forward to tasting those wines deemed amazing by the international experts, you have nothing to fear. Collectively, Firstleaf’s wines have earned more than 1,000 awards – and counting. You can choose from featured award-winning wines based on a range of industry standards.

    Of the top 30 wines ranked in Wine Spectator magazine’s Top 100 Wines of 2020, only one was available on Firstleaf: Duckhorn Vineyards’ 2017 Napa Valley Merlot, which stands at #15.

    To view all the top-rated wines offered on the site, see the Firstleaf Exclusive collection, as well as the Featured Award-Winning bottles, such as Isolde’s Rapture 2016 Red Blend, which received unanimous Gold votes from every judge at the 2018 International Women’s Wine Competition. 

    By clicking on each product, you can see a detailed description, a full list of the awards won, a flavor profile, tasting notes, and more. See the Lazy Breeze 2019 Sauvignon Blanc below, which received 98 points and the title of “Best of Class” in the 2020 Sunset International Wine Competition.


    Sending A Firstleaf Box As a Gift

    If you’re interested in gifting someone, you can purchase an E-Gift Card for $25-$200 that the recipient can spend online. You can add a personalized message to the card, which can be either sent directly to the recipient via email or you can send it to yourself and then forward it at your own leisure.

    Unlike other wine subscription companies, Firstleaf doesn’t give you the option to send a customized box to someone as a gift, although you could always just sign someone up for the introductory box if you know their preferences, or buy one of the featured bundles and have it delivered to their address. All Firstleaf wines arrive beautifully packaged.

    Here’s a quick summary of Firstleaf’s pricing and who it’s best for:

    Pricing

    From $15 per bottle

    Ideal for

    Anyone looking for affordable wines;

    Beginners interested in developing their palate

    Shipping costs

    Free on first order, $9.95 for subsequent orders

    Special deals

    Get $40 off your first wine box

    Firstleaf Delivery

    Delivery on your introductory box is free, going up to $9.95 per box for all future orders, regardless of where you’re located. If you order 12 or more bottles from the store, you will get free delivery. 

    Before processing and shipping club orders, you’ll receive an email that enables you to cancel or change the order as needed. If the selected shipping date doesn’t work for you, you can easily pick a new one. Keep in mind that you only have control over the date your order is sent out, not when it will arrive on your doorstep.

    Your wine box will be delivered by UPS Ground or FedEx Ground between 8 am and 9 pm, taking 2-5 days to arrive once shipped.

    Firstleaf is required by law to make sure that someone aged 21 or over signs for your order upon delivery. If you’re not sure you’ll be home to receive the delivery, you can ship your order to a holding location – a UPS or FedEx store – where it will be held for a week for you to pick up at your convenience. 

    If you only have a PO Box, you’ll have to use this option. If you’re more likely to be at work than home during the delivery time, you can always use a business address as your delivery address. Once your box is on its way to you, you can keep an eye on its status using a tracking number. 

    Your wines will arrive in a medium-sized, labeled box, with six bottles secured in special cartons to keep the wines safe on their journey to you. Given how fragile the product is, Firstleaf is good at avoiding the use of unnecessary packaging. If any of your bottles are damaged along the way, simply send a picture to Customer Service to receive credit for a new bottle. 

    In addition to the wines, you’ll also find a Firstleaf newsletter full of fun facts and interesting articles about the club and its wines. 

    Firstleaf does its best to let you drink in good conscience, guaranteeing carbon-neutral delivery. This means the company is careful to offset the carbon footprint of its shipping by some other means. 

    Firstleaf Delivery Locations

    Firstleaf ships to 44 US states as well as Washington, D.C, with hopes to begin delivering internationally in the future. If your state isn’t included, it’s only because state regulations don’t allow it. 

    Firstleaf Customer Service

    Firstleaf is known for its excellent customer support, most notably the 100% satisfaction guarantee, where you receive full credit on any bottle sent your way that you didn’t enjoy – no questions asked!

    In order to help you get the most out of the club, Firstleaf provides a Wine Concierge service, where you can schedule a personal consultation with a professional to discuss your tasting profile and hand-select wines that meet your specifications.

    Beyond your wine needs, the team is also responsible for other aspects of your customer experience. This includes any questions or issues you may have regarding your order, delivery, the rating system, and more.

    For immediate issues, the digital chatbot is an easy way to quickly be referred to information on the site without needing to search.

    How to Cancel Firstleaf

    While it’s completely free to cancel your Firstleaf membership at any time, unfortunately, this isn’t something you can do easily online. You need to either call the customer service phone number during working hours, or send an email with a time for a representative to get back to you. 


    Alternatives to Firstleaf

    Firstleaf is often compared to Winc, because both companies put customer ratings at the center of their service. That being said, they are actually quite different. Whereas Firstleaf uses a rating algorithm to curate your box, Winc encourages you to choose your own wine. 

    Firstleaf includes award-winning, internationally-acclaimed varieties from established wineries, while Winc relies more heavily on a five-star rating system from customers to indicate quality.

    We go into more detail in our expert Winc review.

    Firstleaf also shares similarities with Bright Cellars, another wine subscription company that creates a box for you based on your palate. However, while Bright Cellars surprises you with wines it has chosen for you, Firstleaf allows you to browse the selection yourself and make any adjustments before they’re shipped out.

    Also, Bright Cellars’ selections are based solely on your answers to its quiz, while Firstleaf uses an algorithm to factor in your ratings. Firstleaf also has better customer service, in that it refunds you for any wines you didn’t like, while Bright Cellars only refunds you if your package was damaged during shipping.

    The Bottom Line

    If you’re interested in experimenting with quality wines and developing your palate without spending a ton of money, Firstleaf is an ideal wine club. At approximately $15 per bottle with a satisfaction guarantee, you really can’t go wrong, especially when presented with such a wide selection of award-winning bottles, even if they aren’t the fanciest out there. 

    More than other wine clubs, you’re essentially guaranteed to enjoy every bottle you receive, because it’s selected just for you by an advanced algorithm based on your ratings of past wines you’ve received. And again, if you don’t like a wine, you get full credit, which provides satisfaction in a different way!

    While no service is ever perfect, Firstleaf does pretty well. Sure, the rating system is basic, but considering other companies don’t even use a rating system, that’s definitely not a make or break. And while there is a shipping fee of $9.95 per box, it’s still a budget-friendly service, compared to other wine clubs. 

    If you’re something of a wine connoisseur with a very developed palate looking for only the most luxurious varieties from highly-acclaimed wine regions, there are probably other wine clubs that will better suit your needs. But for most people, ranging from total amateurs to those with a more refined palate, Firstleaf is a great option. 

    FAQ 

    Are Firstleaf wines any good?

    With 300+ wines on its site, over 92% of which have won awards, it’s safe to say yes! 

    While Firstleaf takes the opinions of international experts very seriously, the company is unique in that it puts the customer’s taste at the center of the subscription experience, curating personalized boxes based on what you like, not based on what you’ve been told to like. And with a great selection from celebrated wine regions around the world, you’re bound to find bottles you love.

    Is Firstleaf worth it?

    At approximately $90 for six bottles, Firstleaf is one of the more affordable wine subscriptions on the market. Including shipping, each bottle comes out to about $15, which is up to 60% less than what you’ll pay for it in-store. 

    How long does Firstleaf shipping take?

    Once your Firstleaf box has shipped using UPS Ground or FedEx Ground, it will arrive at your door (or workplace or holding location) within 2-5 days. You can easily check the status of your order using the tracking number. 

    How much does Firstleaf cost per month?

    For your introductory order, Firstleaf charges just $39.95 plus tax for six bottles, with no added delivery fee. For each subsequent box, the price goes up to $79.98 plus $9.95 shipping and tax, which comes to approximately $90 per box, or $15 per bottle. 

    You can choose to receive your order every one, two, or three months, depending on how much wine you drink. So that works out to $30 for two bottles a month, $60 for three bottles a month, or $90 for six bottles a month, although you can obviously enjoy them whenever you want! 

    About The Author

    Felicity Kay

    Staff Writer, Delivery Rank

    Felicity loves and lives for food, and new culinary experiences in general.
    When shes not out walking her dogs, shes trying out the coolest new restaurants and take out in the local area - one day she might even learn to cook!

    Felicity loves and lives for food, and new culinary experiences in general.
    When shes not out walking her dogs, shes trying out the coolest new restaurants and take out in the local area - one day she might even learn to cook!

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