I love a good glass of wine. There’s something so relaxing to me about sipping a rich red alongside my favorite pasta dinner or enjoying a refreshing, chilled white wine on a warm spring day. So when I got the chance to check out Bright Cellars, a wine subscription box, I couldn’t wait to see the wines the company chose for me for the month of March.
I enjoy drinking wine, and I’ve been to several tastings and love visiting wine country in California, but I’m by no means an expert. I have a few tasting preferences and dislikes when it comes to wine flavors, but I’m pretty open to trying just about anything.
This made Bright Cellars incredibly appealing to me: I didn’t have to spend several minutes awkwardly reading all the labels for tasting notes on wine bottles at the grocery store before deciding which bottles sounded good enough to come home with me. Instead, I just answered a few questions about things I like to eat and drink, and Bright Cellars then matched me with my first four bottles.
My first box came this March, and after a little battle with FedEx (is it just me, or do they never actually stop at your home when they say they will?!), I had my wines and couldn’t wait to see what was waiting for me in the box.
Wine 1: Avast Sauvignon Blanc, 2020
The first wine I tested was a chilled sauvignon blanc from South Africa. It’s described as “lively” with little sweetness, pretty high acidity, and strong notes of lemon zest, grapefruit, and orange.
Bright Cellars allows you to rank each wine from each box, and the team uses that information to better tailor future matches to your taste preferences. I gave this wine a three out of five stars. I liked it and drank a couple glasses, but I thought the acidity was a little too high for my taste.
Bright Cellars includes informational cards about each wine, including pairing recommendations. I think had I paired this wine with something, rather than drinking it on its own, food could have toned down that acidity a bit. For this wine, Bright Cellars recommends drinking it with shrimp ceviche or grilled chicken sandwiches; I’m a vegetarian so these pairings weren’t the most helpful, but I do think pairing with food could have improved my overall rating. Still, I want wines that are good on their own, and this just wasn’t my favorite of the bunch.
Wine 2: Dreamlet Gewürztraminer, 2020
My second taste-test ended up being my favorite wine in the Bright Cellars March 2022 box. Produced in Monterey, California, this wine promises to be “an absolute dream” with peach, lychee, and lime zest scents and a balance of sweetness and acidity.
Despite having a slightly higher acidity, the sweetness in this wine helped round-out that acidic taste. I thought the wine had a strong taste of honey, which I liked, and it smelled really floral, perfect for sipping on a spring day in Los Angeles.
I gave this wine five out of five stars and would buy it on its own in the future. I think it’d be the ideal companion for a picnic.
Wine 3: Obscura Zinfandel, 2019
While March tends to see some higher temperatures for much of the U.S., in Los Angeles, this month is usually a little chilly. Colder temperatures, for me, scream red wine, so I was excited to dive into the reds in my box. The first of the two reds I tasted was a zinfandel from Obscura made in an undisclosed location in California.
This is a pretty high-alcohol wine at 15.1%, and the included cards said to pair it with mild blue cheese or Swedish meatballs. I had neither on hand, but I did have some gnocchi, so I had a classic “me” dinner: pasta and red wine. On paper, I should have loved this wine with its jammy scent, plum tasting notes, and a hint of black pepper finish.
But I gave this one two out of five stars, as it was my least favorite in this box. The high alcohol content and acidity made it too overwhelming. The taste of alcohol was far more prominent than the raspberry, strawberry, plum, or pepper tasting notes, so I had to pass. I’d love a version of this wine with the same tasting notes but a lower alcohol content.
Wine 4: Main Character Merlot 2018
We all want to have that main character energy, and this merlot made me feel like “that girl” drinking my wine and reading my book before meditating and heading off to bed.
I was probably the most excited to test this wine, because it holds notes of cherry, plum, oak, and vanilla. This sounded so divine… and it was. It also had a gorgeous, deep red color.
I gave this wine four out of five stars for the fuller body and the tasting notes, which really came through. It wasn’t as delicious as I envisioned it in my head, in part because the tannins gave it a bit of a kick at the end. But it was still an enjoyable beverage that I’d buy again.
I’d happily buy two of the bottles in my March 2022 Bright Cellars delivery, and the other two wines weren’t bad, just not quite my taste. That’s a pretty good outcome for my very first box, in my opinion, and the algorithm only gets better at finding wines to suit my tastebuds over time. My one concern is how this compares to Winc, which also uses a quiz to send a personalized yet customizable order of bottles of wine to your door each month. I haven’t tried Winc, but it does offer some lower-cost memberships than Bright Cellars. Still, I was satisfied with my first round of wines from Bright Cellars and would be open to trying it again in the future as it adapts to my feedback.
About Bright Cellars
Bright Cellars is a wine subscription that matches wines to users’ profiles based on a wine quiz taken upon signing up. The company was started by two MIT grads who wanted to make it easier and more approachable for average consumers to learn more about wine and their preferences. They combined expert knowledge of sommeliers with data engineering to create a robust algorithm that adapts to your tastes. The more you rank your wines, the better your future shipments will be.
Cost: The basic subscription is $80 for four bottles of wine shipped monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly. You can also upgrade to premium for $20; you still get four bottles of wine, but two bottles are swapped for premium products.
Shipping: Bright Cellars ships to the U.S. for states that allow wine delivery by mail. An adult 21 or older must be available to sign for the shipment.
ACTIVE DEAL: Get $50 off your first month! No coupon needed - just use this link.