Bright Cellars Review
Everything You Need to Know About the Smartest Wine Subscription Service
Wine of the month clubs are a great way to have wine delivered to your door like clockwork, and they can keep your wine rack stocked full of exciting new bottles to try. There are a lot of different wine subscriptions out there to choose from, and we here at My Subscription Addition have sampled most of them. Today, we're going to take a close look at Bright Cellars to help you decide if it's the right wine of the month club for you.
Wine clubs come in all different shapes and sizes, and in this Bright Cellars review we'll zero in on what sets this subscription apart from the others. We'll look at the kinds of wine you can expect to receive, explore how much customization is available, and take a close look at how Bright Cellars matches subscribers with wines using their custom quiz.
We're going to use our years of experience tasting and reviewing wine subscriptions to help you answer the question: is Bright Cellars the right wine of the month club for me? We'll take a look at selection, taste, cost, value, and convenience, and we'll even check in with the MSA community to see what they have to say about this subscription. Wondering how Bright Cellars stacks up against other wine subscriptions? We'll explore that too. Now, let's dive into this Bright Cellars review!
ACTIVE DEAL: Get $50 off your first month! No coupon needed - just use this link.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out our review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
Bright Cellars Pros & Cons
Bright Cellars Pros
- When you sign up to join Bright Cellars, you take a six-question palate profile quiz to help determine your taste in wine. Based on your answers, Bright Cellars makes bottle recommendations for you every month.
- This is a wine club that takes technology seriously. Bright Cellars was started by two MIT grads, and they use a proprietary algorithm to match subscribers with wines.
- Choose whether you'd like to receive all reds, all white, or a mix of both.
- Signing up is simple and straightforward.
- The curated selection features bottles from independent wineries you won't find in the grocery store.
- Bottles start at $15.00 each with a membership.
- Shipping is free if you order 4 or more bottles.
Bright Cellars Cons
- Cancellations could be easier. In order to cancel, you'll need to submit an online request and then wait for a team member to reach out to assist you.
- You must order a minimum of 4 bottles.
- Customization is limited. You won't be able to view your wine matches until after your order processes. You can reach out to customer service to swap out a bottle you don't want, but the window to request changes to your wines is small and must be done through customer service.
- The wine matching process takes place behind closed doors. There's nowhere to view the full selection of wines available, and you cannot hand pick your bottles.
All About Bright Cellars
How did Bright Cellars get started?
Bright Cellars got started back in 2013 when two MIT grads realized they didn't know a thing about wine. They were fans of craft beer and cocktails, but they found the wine market to be huge and very complex. They founded Bright Cellars to help regular consumers navigate the world of wine, find bottles they love, and learn a little bit about their own drinking preferences. Bright Cellars has been growing ever since, and the company now also offers an accompanying cheese subscription.
How does Bright Cellars work?
In this Bright Cellars review, we'll go over all the things you need to know about this wine delivery service, but in case you're new to wine clubs, let's start with a quick overview of how Bright Cellars works. The first thing to know is that Bright Cellars is a recurring subscription. When you sign up, you're agreeing to receive wine shipments on an ongoing basis. You'll enter your credit card information when you join, and you'll continue to be charged until you decide to cancel. Here are the steps you can expect to follow when you sign up for Bright Cellars:
- Take the quiz to help Bright Cellars make tailored recommendations: When you sign up for a subscription, you'll start by answering a few fun questions about your palate. What's your favorite kind of chocolate? How do you take your tea? What's your favorite juice? These questions help Bright Cellars pin down your likes and dislikes so your monthly bottle recommendations are curated just for you.
- Personalize your subscription: Want all red wines? Or mostly whites? You can program this into your subscription too.
- Keep an eye out for your monthly order confirmation: Every month, you'll receive a notification when Bright Cellars has picked out your wines. All you have to do is sit back and wait for them to arrive. After you've tried them all, log in to your account portal and rate them.
How much does Bright Cellars cost?
When you sign up for a subscription to Bright Cellars, the cost of your subscription will vary depending on how many bottles you'd like to receive each month. Here's some pricing info to better help you understand how much Bright Cellars costs:
- 4 bottle plan - $88.00/month for bottles + shipping ($20.00/bottle)
- 6 bottle plan - $98.00/month for bottles + shipping ($15.00/bottle)
ACTIVE DEAL: Get $50 off your first month! No coupon needed - just use this link.
Where and how does Bright Cellars ship?
Bright Cellars does not publish a list of the states where they are able to ship wine. To confirm that Bright Cellars will ship to you, we recommend entering your delivery details on the Bright Cellars website to confirm shipping eligibility.
How is a Bright Cellars delivery packaged?
Bright Cellars shipments are securely packed in a brown cardboard box. Bottles are held in place to help prevent the bottles from bashing into one another during transport. The box is sturdy and clearly designed for the sole purpose of safely transporting wine.
What wines does Bright Cellars offer?
Bright Cellars offers a good selection of wines to choose from, and the company prides itself on featuring a rotating selection of bottles from all over the world. It's not possible to view the current wines available from Bright Cellars', but your shipment may contain Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Zinfandel, Viognier, Grenache, or red or white blends.
Are Bright Cellars' wines tasty?
Our reviewers have been pleased with Bright Cellars' wines, and they have found the quality and taste to be comparable to wines availabe in the grocery store. If you're looking for tasty everyday wines, Bright Cellars is a great affordable wine club; however, if you're a wine connoisseur, you might find be better seeking out more sophisticated offerings from established wineries.
Is Bright Cellars convenient?
Without a doubt, we can say with 100% certainty that Bright Cellars is convenient. If you like keeping wine on hand and want to stay stocked up on new bottles, Bright Cellars is a great way to automate your wine buys. And having wine delivered to your door every month? What's more convenient than that?
What do MSA reviewers say about Bright Cellars?
We've had a couple of different writers step in to review Bright Cellars over the years, each with a different set of preferences and level of wine expertise. Curious about what they have to say? Let's take a quick peek back at some past Bright Cellars reviews.
Colette's Bright Cellars Reviews
- Review expertise: Colette wrote for MSA for years, and she shared her opinion on everything from face masks and jewelry to coffee and wine.
- Drinking profile: Colette tends to prefer white wines, but her husband enjoys red, so she likes to receive a mix. She's also a fan of rosé and looks for wines with a bit of sweetness and a nice balance of flavor.
- Thoughts on Bright Cellars Wines: Colette has tried a lot of different Bright Cellars wines, but let's look at a few in detail:
- 2016 Obscura Rosé- In here first ever Bright Cellars review, Colette fell in love with this pink-hued vino. She writes, "I’d hope this never becomes Obscur(e)a! I loved this Rosé. It was refreshing, light, and full of character. The citrus flavors were the perfect complement and added the needed acidity to the sweet fruit notes. Although there was a Rosé cocktail recipe included with this box, I simply chose to drink this chilled and on its own. It didn’t see sunrise!"
- Ochavado Sauvignon Blanc 2016- In her next box, she met some very tasty whites. This bottle of Sauvignon Blanc was a stand out. She says, "I thought that this was a really nice Sauvignon Blanc, and really noticed the grapefruit notes. It smelled delicious and was very light on the tongue. The clarity of this wine was perfect, and I loved the clean lines of the label. This would be a very beautiful bottle to take to a summer dinner party."
- Quinte Royale King of Spades Sauvignon Blanc 2016- The last time Colette reviewed Bright Cellars was in 2019, and this bottle was a winner for her. She'd had a wine from this label before, and called out the artwork on the bottle. "I tend to love citrus noted whites, and this was no exception. It was crisp and light, and I served it cold with a poultry meal. I always love receiving wines from Quinte Royale, because their labels are so cute and perfect to accessorize a game night with friends!"
- Verdict: Throughout her time reviewing Bright Cellars for MSA, Colette received a lot of great bottles. As a white wine lover, most of her favorite wines were white or rosé, but she also received some appealing reds. Colette is a big believer in the Bright Cellars algorithm, and towards the end of her time reviewing the subscription she gives it a shout out saying, "I think that after reviewing this box for about 8 months they totally get me!" She adds, "I think that this box is well worth the value, I would definitely pay $20 for each one of these bottles, and love getting them shipped to me at a slight discount."
My Bright Cellars Reviews
- Review expertise: I've been writing food and wine reviews for My Subscription Addiction since 2014, and I've reviewed Bright Cellars about a dozen times so far. I first tried the subscription back in 2016, and my most recent shipment was in 2021.
- Drinking profile: I take an open-minded approach to wine, and I love trying new wines from all over the world. If I'm popping open a bottle at home, it'll likely be a French rosé or Sancerre, Portuguese vinho verde, or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
- Thoughts on Bright Cellars wines: Not every bottle I've ever had from Bright Cellars has been a knockout, but I can safely say that most of the time the wine is pretty good. Personally, I tend to have the best luck with white wines from Bright Cellars, but I've had some very good reds, as well. In my most recent shipment, I received the following wines: 2020 Batik Albariño, 2020 Nihilist Wine Co. Syrah, 2019 Sprig & Rose Chenin Blanc, and 2020 Silverscape Verdejo. Of them all, my favorite was the crisp and clean tasting Verdejo. The Chenin Blanc and Albariño were a little on the full-bodied side for my liking, but they were still tasty. The Syrah was perfectly decent, but I wouldn't order it again.
- Verdict: I've tried A LOT of wine clubs in my day, and I think Bright Cellars is a great way to stock up on everyday wines that regularly deliver both taste and value. I like that they specialize in wines from all over the world, and it's nice to subscribe to a wine of the month club that adapts to your ratings and reviews and gets to know your preferences over time.
What do MSA readers say about Bright Cellars in their reviews?
At MSA, we don't just publish our own in-house reviews. We also invite our readers to rate and review the wine clubs they've tried. Here's what Nicole had to say about her experience with Bright Cellars:
"I read the first review and she had a terrible experience whereas mine has been on the other end, wines arrived on time and they are being shipped to a local FedEx store since I'm not home to sign for them, the wines have been very good for the price point, and customer service has always gotten back to me right away even on the weekends. I like that I'm not obligated to take a delivery every month either, I can put a membership on hold as long as I like which I have done for a couple of months while I drink through my current supply. I'm very happy so far and would recommend this club without hesitation. The only disappointment is that wines sell out quickly so if you'd like to buy additional wine that you like then it must be done fairly quickly or it most likely will be sold out. They sent me a Malbec from Chile that I would of like to have stocked a few bottles of but they are sold out." -Nicole
Etana made a point of sharing how great the customer service is:
"One of my favorite wine subscriptions! Great customer service - super responsive to every request of mine. Would highly recommend." -Etana
Sarah, however, wasn't such a fan. She had a bad experience back in 2016:
"My wine took weeks to arrive (2 business day turnaround advertised) & when it was delivered the external bottle temperatures were in the 103-104 degree range according to my thermometer. The red wines were spoiled, old world wines are notorious for being delicate but even the CA wine was bad. I am still waiting on some contact from the concierge after the spoiled bottles... No response for 10 days when I asked about the delay in my first message so I'm not expecting much. I doubt I will continue with such a company unless they make an amazing change in customer service and replace all the spoiled wines." -Sarah
If you'd like to learn more about Bright Cellars and read even more reader reviews, you can visit our Bright Cellars brand page here.
Are there alternatives to Bright Cellars?
If you like the idea of a wine club, but you're not sure Bright Cellars is the right subscription for you, there are a few competitors that might be a better fit.
Bright Cellars vs. Wine Awesomeness
Wine Awesomeness features great wine from around the world. They specialize in rare and lesser-known wines, and selections are made by an experienced curatorial team, which always includes a Food & Wine Sommelier of the Year. Each box comes with digital access to tips, recipes, pairing ideas, and more. Let's outline some of the key differences between Bright Cellars and Wine Awesomeness:
- Personalization: Apart from choosing all red, all white, or a blend of both, there's no personalization with Wine Awesomeness. If you'd rather go with a wine club that matches you with bottles that are picked just for you, Bright Cellars might be a better fit.
- Shipment size: With Bright Cellars, you can choose how many bottles to receive each month. Wine Awesomeness shipments feature 3 bottles of wine.
- Adventure: Interested in trying adventurous and offbeat wines? Wine Awesomeness specializes in varietals and blends that you're unlikely to come across in your grocery store's wine aisle.
Bright Cellars vs. Winc
Like Bright Cellars, Winc is a monthly wine subscription that uses a quiz to help pair you with wine matches. Each month, you're matched up with wines that fit your profile, and you can either go along with the wines or hand pick your own bottles from the regularly rotating selection.
- Cost: Bright Cellars costs $80.00, making it more expensive than a box of Winc's cheapest wines.
- Quantity: Bright Cellars shipments contain 4 bottles of wine. With Winc, you can order as many as you like.
- Smart recommendations: Both Winc and Bright Cellars make initial suggestions based on your responses to their quiz, but Bright Cellars adapts to your likes and dislikes. Based on how you rate the bottles you receive, your recommendations will change over time.
Bright Cellars vs. Firstleaf
Firstleaf is another wine subscription service that matches you with personalized wine selections. When you sign up, you take a quiz that helps pin down your preferences, and then Firstleaf picks out your bottles. (You can swap out any wines that don't interest you.) As you rank the bottles and continue to provide feedback over time, your recommendations will become increasingly more accurate. Let's see how these two subscriptions stack up:
- Shipment size: Each shipment from Firstleaf contains 6 bottles of wine.
- Price: Firstleaf costs $39.00 with free shipping for the first box, and $79.00 + shipping for subsequent boxes.
Is Bright Cellars worth it?
We've covered a lot of info in this Bright Cellars review, but one big question remains: is Bright Cellars worth it?
Both our writers and readers have good things to say about this subscription. Not every review has been glowing, but overall subscribers are pleased with the quality of the service Bright Cellars provides. Reviewers have been impressed with the algorithm, and they've found that the tailored suggestions made by Bright Cellars are truly great and tend to improve over time. There's not a lot of hand-on customization to be had, but the personalized suggestions are on point. For those just getting into wine, Bright Cellars can help you learn what you like and introduce you to new bottles that are picked to suit your preferences.
If you're interested in joining a wine of the month club and you'd like to receive new bottles every month, Bright Cellars offers a good selection of wines at an affordable price point. While not every review has been five stars, most experiences have been positive. The value, convenience, and personalization have won over the majority of reviewers who've tried Bright Cellars. If you're ready to sign up, just make sure you understand that you're signing up for a subscription; you'll be charged every month (unless you skip) until you decide to cancel.
Ready to subscribe? Make sure to sign up using our coupon below to ensure you get the best deal.
You can try Bright Cellars for yourself here:
ACTIVE DEAL: Get $50 off your first month! No coupon needed - just use this link.
Have you tried Bright Cellars? Head to the comments section and let us know!