The silver lining of the sad news that lockdown is here and pubs can’t even serve a takeaway pint? You can spend all the cash you would have spent out on (even more) booze to drink at home – and still help support small businesses.
Wine subscriptions are a smart way to discover something new to drink, and having boxes delivered to your door saves the heavy trek home from the supermarket.
From natural wine subscriptions to at-home wine tastings to gift your dad, here are 13 of the best wine subscription boxes to add to your cart this not-so-dry January.
For wine however you want it: Laithwaite’s Wine Club
Since starting out under a railway arch in Windsor, Laithwaite’s has become one of the UK’s most successful wine retailers. They’re not into being prescriptive: you’ll have total control over what you’re drinking and can change the recommended wines in your selection online. Subscribers can choose from a 12-bottle case of mixed wines, delivered every 12 weeks (or less often, it’s up to you).
Introductory 12-bottle case for £65, laithwaites.co.uk
For wine in cans: Brixton Wine Club
Brixton Wine Club isn’t your traditional wine club: it sells high quality wines, yes, but in bottles? No. This lot are into (infinitely recyclable) cans. In a world where drinks in the park have become the norm – even in the winter – this is what wine lovers have long been waiting for.
You can either join the club as a one-off customer or as a monthly subscriber, and choose from a selection of five subscription boxes – from Simply Red to Rosé All Day, to 100% Fizz.
Monthly box for £30, brixtonwineclub.com
For Italian wine: Sociovino
Sociovino launched in July from a team of former sommeliers, hospitality professionals and a chef. It wants to be the wine box that delivers everything Italians love about their culture: an obsession with flavours, a sense of community and a passion for knowledge and food.
The bottle shop just launched its Seasonal Subscription Case, packed with 12 bottles (six red and six white), a brochure with pairing notes, and two recipe cards with seasonal meals curated by an up-and-coming chef.
For video tastings: Wine Club by Majestic
Majestic Wine’s latest endeavor is all about wine with an educational element: its new subscription model, Wine Club by Majestic, offers tasting materials, accessible expert advice and video tastings with each of your expert-chosen bottles.
You’ll receive four cases a year, plus an optional Christmas case, with each one based around a different region, country or grape -the perfect way to hone your wine knowledge.
From £99, majestic.co.uk
For flexible membership: Ourglass
Choose your package (£40, £80 or £120), spread your payments over the year, skip months or cancel anytime, and receive three to six bottles of wine per month at home or at work - wherever suits you best. Each of Ourglass’ bottles comes with expert tasting notes, with more than 1,500 wines on offer from Bulgarian pinot to German Riesling.
The company delivers anywhere in Great Britain and offers free delivery, with no minimum order.
From £40 per month, ourglass.wine
For sustainability: Littlewine Club
Discover two, four or six natural wines each month through the Littlewine Club’s carefully curated, planet-friendly subscription packages. Opt for a Backstage Pass and you’ll also receive the stories behind each bottle.
There’s a range of options: Roots (£50 a month) is ideal for those at the start of their natural wine journey; Grower (£90 a month) brings members four bottles each month from celebrated and upcoming winemakers alike; and Cosmos (£180 a month) delivers six carefully sourced bottles of low intervention wine, including hard-to-find benchmark cuvées.
Full marks for sustainability. All of Littlewine’s materials are made from recycled and/or compostable materials (even the tape is water-activated and made with soy-based ink, meaning it can go on the compost pile), so the wine will arrive carbon-neutral to your door.â£
From £50 per month, littlewine.co
For only spending when you want to: Naked Wines
Put £20 or more into your wine account each month to become one of Naked Wine’s ‘angels’. You can spend the credit on your next batch of bottles whenever you’re ready and you get a free bottle every month when you order a case.
You also only pay for the wines you love: if a bottle doesn’t wow you, let Naked’s team know and they’ll credit your account – you don’t even need to return the wine.
£58.94 for a half price welcome case, nakedwines.com
For English sparkling wine: Artelium
Artelium grows outstanding grapes in vineyards across the South Downs and is offering boxes of six of its award-winning Curators Cuvée 2014 to order to your home. The case is a careful curation of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier, all hand-picked from a single vineyard and created by celebrated winemaker Dermot Sugrue.
Fresh and graceful, this traditional method wine has been aged for over 60 months on the lees bringing depth and maturity.
For flexibility: The Virgin WineBank
Club members put their chosen amount of credit into their Wine Bank account each month and for every £5 added, the club gives you £1 extra to spend on wine. Virgin Wine offers free delivery on all orders, and their selection is vast.
Introductory 12-bottle case for £71.88, virginwines.co.uk
For natural wine: Crispin Wine Club
Crispin’s wines are recommended by its in-house expert Stefano Cazzato, a former sommelier at Londrino and Hakkasan. The Spitalfields’ restaurant’s subscription service offers hand-selected bottles with a focus on natural, biodynamic and low intervention wines from small producers and cooperatives.
Each subscription case includes some easy drinking wines alongside more interesting, funky and wild wines, hand-picked by Stefano, some of which will be exclusive to Crispin. Select either three or six bottles each time and how regularly you’d like to receive your order (every two, four or six weeks).
From £55 per case, crispinstores.com
For bottles from around the world: The Wine Society
Established in 1874, The Wine Society is recognised as the world’s oldest wine society. The co-operative’s nine buyers, renowned as some of the best in the business, travel for around 300 days and thousands of miles each year to source bottles from all over the world.
Subscribers can become members for life with a one-off £40 payment, £20 of which is put towards your first order. There’s no annual fee and no obligation to buy.
From £85 per case, thewinesociety.com
For finding new flavours: Savage Vines
Is your go-to wine a bottle of Pinot Grigio? If so, listen up. Savage Vines aims to get subscribers out of that habit and introduce them to new wine regions and grape varieties.
All of their wines are handpicked from small, independent winemakers and you can choose from two, four, six, or 12 bottles of either red of white wines to be delivered every month.
From £29.95 a month, savagevines.co.uk
For learning about your wine: The Wine List
At the Wine List, the aim is to learn about wine by putting it into practice: subscribers receive two bottles of carefully chosen wines every month from Wine Roots, a 12-part wine course that teaches the fundamentals of wine tasting.
However, if you’re eager to speed up the learning process, you can get six bottles every month instead of two. The Wine List’s subscriptions are flexible, and can be cancelled at any time.
Two-bottle box for £39 per month, six-bottle box for £99 per month, thewinelist.net
For wine-lovers who know what they like: Wine Post
If you’re not a self-proclaimed wine expert but still know what you like, Wine Post may be spot on. The delivery service allows customers to choose between customisable boxes of three, six or 12 bottles of wine every one or two months.
Based on your preferences, Wine Post selects wine from a range of more than 150 different wines to match your taste. And the best bit? You’re not tied to any contract and you can pause or stop your subscription whenever you please.
From £29.95 per month, winepost.co.uk
For supporting small producers: Wanderlust Wine Club
As the name suggests, Wanderlust Wine Club aims to explore new wines in new regions, supporting small producers that make sustainable, quality wine in the process. Wanderlust subscribers receive four to ten bottles of artisanal wines every two months, depending on their membership (silver, gold or platinum).
Each case gives the full story on each wine, as well as background information about the producer, tasting notes, and food pairing suggestions.
Four bottles every two months from £24 per month, wanderlustwine.co.uk