Firstleaf Review – The Easiest Way to Discover Award-Winning Wines
Award-Winning Wines Sent To Your Doorstep
Here at MSA, we take our beverages seriously. We think wine is as important as coffee, and we’re self-proclaimed wine connoisseurs. Still, sometimes we find ourselves reaching for the same bottle we’ve chosen the past ten trips to the wine store. The in-store selection can be overwhelming, and we sometimes rely on the bottles we know best when we find ourselves staring at the Chardonnay wall with an empty glare.
We’re all for getting creative and exploring new options, and we love how wine clubs offer an easy, practical (and techy) way to discover new wines without throwing our wine budget out of the window. There are lots of different wine clubs to choose from (and we’ve reviewed most of them), but Firstleaf is one of our favorites. Firstleaf is a 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 bottles just for you.
In this Firstleaf review, we’ll do our best to help you figure out if this wine subscription box is for you. We’ll take a look at selection, taste, cost, value, and convenience to help you decide if Firsleaf is your perfect wine of the month club match. We’ll even look at Firstleaf compared with other wine boxes to see how it stacks up. Now, let’s launch into this Firstleaf review!
COUPON: $100 off your first 3 shipments. 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.)
Firstleaf Pros & Cons
- When you sign up to Firstleaf, you take a nine-question quiz to help determine your taste in wine. Based on your answers, they’ll make some recommendations for you every month.
- You can choose all reds, all whites, or a mix of both.
- You can rate the wines you receive to improve your future wine recommendations.
- All the wines are from small wineries and are award-winning wines.
- With every wine box, you’ll receive a card that describes the wine and includes tasting notes, food pairing suggestions, and other facts about each wine.
- You can cancel your order online.
- While you can select your bottles, there aren’t as many options as you may be used to in the wine store. There are more varietals and types of wine than you might find at other wine clubs, but if you’re used to shopping in person with aisles and aisles of options, you might find the selection a bit limited.
- Part of the quiz asks you to rank wines by their names/brands. Unless you’ve tried these wines before, it is impossible to give an accurate response. Although you can choose to skip this question, it feels like an important part of the recommendations process.
- Both the cost and shipping costs get higher after your first box is delivered. The only way to get free shipping is to double your order, and that means receiving 12 bottles of wine for the month. Make sure to check our coupons for discounts.
How does Firstleaf work?
Firstleaf is a monthly wine subscription box. When you sign up for a Firstleaf account, you first take a quiz that asks about your wine preferences. Their algorithm uses your answers to curate your first wine box. (You can swap out any wines that don’t interest you before checking out). Once you receive your first box, you’ll rank the wines and provide feedback to improve Firstleaf’s wine recommendations.
Each shipment from Firstleaf comes with at least six bottles of wine.
How much does Firstleaf cost?
When you first sign up for Firstleaf, you’ll receive a discounted first box as a way to try out the subscription. Additional shipments will cost more. The introductory box costs $39 with FREE shipping. After that, future orders include six bottles of wine for $79.98 + $9.95 shipping and taxes. Make sure to check our coupons for discounts.
COUPON: $100 off your first 3 shipments. No coupon needed - just use this link.
Where and how does Firstleaf ship?
Firstleaf currently ships to 44/50 states plus the District of Colombia. They do not currently ship to the following states: Hawaii, Alaska, Utah, Rhode Island, Mississippi, and Alabama.
Boxes are sent using FedEx Ground and UPS Ground. Once wine is sent out, it typcially arrives in 2-5 days.
Does Firstleaf have different plans available?
Although they don’t offer different plans, Firstleaf has a double option to help you save. The default Firstleaf order size is 6 bottles, but you’ll need to pay shipping fees on top of that. Want free shipping? You can double up your future club orders to 12 bottles of wine per shipment for $159.95 plus tax. This is the only way you can get FREE shipping after your first order.
In addition, you can set your frequency for Firstleaf boxes to come every 1, 2, or 3 months. However, you can always change your shipping date to any day in the future. This is great, especially if you’re traveling, your wine rack is starting to overflow, or if you want to take a little break from this subscription.
What wines does Firstleaf offer?
Like a lot of other wine clubs, Firstleaf works directly with small wineries and winemakers. By cutting out the middlemen, you get to enjoy better prices on premium wines. They pride themselves on offering wines at a fair price, sans the retail markup you’ll see at your local wine store.
Firstleaf offers wines from all over the world: U.S. wines from California (including Napa, Sonoma, and Paso Robles), Oregon, and Washington, as well as international wines from Australia, Spain, France, Italy, and South America. While they have a wide variety of wines, these are the types of wines they have:
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Pinot Noir
- Petite Sirah
- Grüner Veltliner
- Pinot Gris/Grigio
- Sauvignon Blanc
They’re so confident about the wines that they have a Firstleaf guarantee. If you’re not happy with a bottle for any reason, they will credit you for it. Within 30 days of delivery, they will credit you in the form of Firstleaf store credits.
What wines does Firstleaf NOT have?
If you’re looking for organic, kosher, or vegan wines, Firstleaf doesn’t carry any in stock at the moment. The same goes for sulfite-free wines.
How is a Firstleaf delivery packaged?
Firstleaf shipments are securely packed in a brown cardboard box. Bottles are held in place by molded cardboard pieces that help prevent the bottles from bashing into one another during transport. The box is rather sturdy, and the packaging materials are recyclable.
Is Firstleaf convenient?
Without a doubt, we can say that Firstleaf is convenient. If you like keeping wine on hand and want to regularly receive new bottles, Firstleaf will pick out wines for you and send them directly to your door. Whether you’re looking for a wine club you can put on autopilot or prefer to hand-select your own bottles every month, Firstleaf has you covered. And having wine delivered to your door every month? What’s more convenient than that?
My Firstleaf Review
My box included an info sheet that highlighted some of Firstleaf’s offerings and some wine-related information. It also had a welcome letter that was signed by Firstleaf’s founder, Philip James. That felt special, sort of like a university acceptance letter – I was an official member of the wine club. Because I wanted to have a complete Firstleaf experience, I asked to get a mixed box with red and white wines.
Linguist Estates Cabernet Sauvignon – member price: $13.33 (MSRP: $23)
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Region: Paso Robles, CA
Linguist Estates Cab is a timeless reflection of the popular wine. Incredibly easy-drinking, this wine is medium-bodied and full of red fruit flavors and oaky influences.
I think it’s hard to go wrong with a classic Cabernet Sauvignon. This was a great wine to enjoy on its own or with a beautiful cheese board. I’m a fan of California wines, so this bottle from Paso Robles was an exciting pick to try. It’s very easy to drink, and I think we drank the whole bottle while snacking on parmesan cheese and crackers.
Quipster Merlot– Member Price: $13.33 (MSRP: $16)
Rich dark fruit flavors of black cherry, blackberry, blueberry, and black currant meld together alongside notes of dried bay leaf, clove, and mocha—a perfect bottle for a cool fall evening.
I’m a Merlot fan; it’s been my go-to red wine for as long as I can remember. So, I was happy to see a Merlot was part of my picks. This low-acidity pick was an interesting choice. I recommend to pair it with food rather than drinking it by itself.
Tintoretto Sangiovese – member price $13.33 (MSRP: $21)
Region: Puglia, Italy
A modern take on an Old World Classic, this wine is serious but made in a plush, easy-drinking style. Juicy fruit on the mid-palate is complemented by balanced acidity and dusty tannins that lengthen every sip.
This was my first time trying a Sangiovese, so I felt the excitement of trying a new brand. The color was absolutely gorgeous, but the taste fell short of my expectations. I felt this wine was missing body and tannins, but it could work to create a summery sangria.
Gilded Letter Chardonnay – member price: $13.33 (MSRP: $26)
Region: Alexander Valley, CA
A gorgeous reflection of the fan-favorite wine. White floral aromas swirl out of the glass and meld perfectly with beautiful stone fruit flavors of ripe apricot and yellow peach. Oak influences from aging add a slightly toasted note of brioche and a weighty creaminess to the mouthfeel.
Although Chardonnay isn’t my go-to wine, this was actually the first bottle we opened. I assume that for a Chardonnay-lover, this bottle is perfect. For me, it was a bit too sweet and fruity, so it ended up working as cooking wine instead.
Ophidian Chenin Blanc – member price: $13.33 (MSRP: $16)
Varietal: Chenin Blanc
Region: South Africa
Sweet white floral aromas of honeysuckle jump out of the glass and complement beautiful fruit flavors of apricot and pineapple, while a balanced acidity coasts the taste buds.
To me, this was a more balanced white win. With equal levels of acidity and fruitiness (according to the card), it was perfect for sipping by itself. I’d probably add some frozen grapes or raspberries to make it more exciting though.
Le Douleur Exquise Grenache Blanc – member price $13.33 (MSRP: $22)
Varietal: Grenache Blanc
Region: Pays d’Oc, France
Bold white floral aromas of honeysuckle and sweet apple blossom hit the noise immediately. Ripe white peach and Asian pear flavors meld together and are complemented by notes of lime zest. A slight minerality balances out the natural acidity of the wine and makes each sip linger.
I was tempted to swap this bottle when signing up for my box because I’ve never tried a Grenache Blanc. But I confess, the bottle’s label looked so chic and intriguing, I had to try this wine. It was really a surprise; although I tend to prefer more acidic wines, this felt the perfect companion to a pasta salad over the torching Florida heat.
As this was my first time trying Firstleaf, I’d say I really enjoyed the whole process. While I didn’t love all the wines in my box, there wasn’t one that I absolutely hated. As far as budget, each of these comes down to $13.33, and to be honest, I don’t think you’ll find this quality wine at your local store. At least not always. I think there’s value in having this wine club subscription, especially if you enjoy having wine at your house every month. I liked that you can postpone shipments, so you don’t feel pressured to drink all the wines.
Overall, I’d happily order another box. I’d love to see how their recommendations get better with each box, and hopefully, I will find a new wine that I fall in love with, and I can request in my future boxes.
What do other MSA reviewers say about Firstleaf?
We’ve had a couple of different writers review Firstleaf over the years, each with a different set of wine preferences. Here’s what Lindsey, an MSA food and wine reviewer, had to say:
Lindsey’s Firstleaf Review
- Review expertise: Lindsey has been writing for MSA for years, and she’s passionate about sharing her reviews on wines and food subscription boxes.
- Drinking profile: Lindsey enjoys crisp, acidic wines that are also citrusy. While she won’t shy away from a bottle of red wine, whites are her passion.
- Thoughts on Firstleaf wines: Sampling a Firstleaf intro box herself, Lindsey has tried a lot of different Firstleaf wines, but here are some of her favorites:
- Acadine 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon: A fan of Cab, she couldn’t miss the opportunity to try one for her first review of Firstleaf. She wrote: “I find that it pairs wonderfully with food but is also great on its own, and that versatility is very appealing to me.”
- Watchful Maker 2018 Sauvignon Blanc: As a fan of citrusy wines, a white wine seemed like the perfect choice for her box. Lindsey wrote: “I love wines that are crisp, citrusy, and high in acid, so I felt I needed to try one of Firstleaf’s sauvignon blanc.”
- Pip + Plow 2018 Merlot: Anyone who loves Cab will very likely enjoy a good Merlot. She wrote: “I was pleased when I saw this as one of my recommended wines. Merlot is a super food-friendly wine, so I was excited to come up with a dish for this bottle!”
- Verdict: Lindsey really tried to use the wines she received from Firstleaf in her routine. She challenged herself to try and create delicious dishes for each of the wines she received, and all of her recipes looked amazing. While she didn’t love every bottle she received in the shipment, she still agrees that for $15 per bottle, a Firstleaf subscription is a great deal.
What do MSA readers say about Firstleaf in their reviews?
At MSA, we don’t just share our in-house reviews. We invite our readers to rate and review their experiences with the wine clubs they’ve tried. Here’s what some of our users have said about Firstleaf:
“Having been a member of multiple wine clubs, I’ve ended up staying with Firstleaf. The quality of their wines is top-notch, and I don’t have to make any selections since they learn what I like. The cards that they put in the box are pretty cool too.”
But, back in 2019, another user wasn’t as happy with the service. They wrote:
“It took forever to get my first delivery. Several mistakes were made. I initiated a conversation to cancel my service, but I was promised 2 extra bottles for my next delivery and free shipping for the life of the subscription. I also was told FedEx would no longer be delivering as we have had continual problems with them delivering the package. The second package came today, and nothing that was promised came true. Normal amount of wine and shipping was still charged. Very unfortunate because the quality of the wine is actually good. Canceling due to poor service and especially with not following through on the commitment to make things right.”
If you’d like to learn more about Firstleaf and read more reviews, you can visit our Firstleaf details in the directory.
Are there alternatives to Firstleaf?
Of course, Firstleaf isn’t the only wine club out there. If you’re still unsure if Firstleaf is the wine subscription for you, maybe comparing it with similar alternatives can help you decide.
Firstleaf vs. Bright Cellars
Like Firstleaf, Bright Cellars offers customized wine suggestions in a monthly subscription box. It also allows you to personalize your subscription to receive only reds, whites, or both. It has a proprietary algorithm to match you with the right wines. And you get to pick and choose your wine selection each month.
- Cost: It starts at $15 per bottle, and you have to order a minimum of 4 bottles.
- Shipment Size: You get to choose your shipment size each month with a minimum order of 4 bottles to get FREE shipping.
- Personalization: Bright Cellars takes its personalization offering seriously. Developed by MIT graduates, they have a proprietary algorithm that takes your answers and ratings of wines to offer the best suggestions.
Firstleaf vs. Winc
Perhaps a more popular monthly wine subscription than Firstleaf is Winc. They also use a similar quiz that helps them come up with wine recommendations based on your answers. Each month, you get wines that fit your profile, and you can always decide to handpick your bottles.
- Cost: Firstleaf costs $79.98 a month, making it a more expensive alternative to Winc.
- Shipment Size: Firstleaf shipment gets you 6 or 12 bottles of wine if you choose to double your order. With Winc, the basic box gets you four wines, but you can order as many as you want.
- Personalization: Both make initial suggestions based on your answers to the quiz. But, as you start rating your wines, Firstleaf adjusts to your likes and dislikes, changing your recommendations over time to get closer to what you really like.
Firstleaf vs. Wine Awesomeness
Wine Awesomeness specializes in lesser-known wines from around the world. They work with a curated team of experts that include a Food & Wine Sommelier of the Year. Each of their boxes comes with links to digital resources, recipes, and pairing ideas.
- Cost: While you can shop for individual wines with Wine Awesomeness, their subscription box starts at $49 a month.
- Shipment Size: Wine Awesomeness offers two types of memberships. One at $49 includes 3 bottles and another one at $79 for 6 bottles of wine. Both options include FREE shipping and access to their wine cellar online resource page. These offerings make it a cheaper alternative to Firstleaf if you’re looking to stay under budget.
- Personalization: While you can choose whether you want reds, whites, or both with Wine Awesomeness, that’s about it. They don’t have a wine quiz or assessment to give you personalized recommendations.
Is Firstleaf worth it?
We’ve covered a lot of info in this Firstleaf review, but one big question remains: is Firstleaf worth it?
The first thing to know about Firstleaf is that the wines are solid. Our reviewers haven’t loved all of the wines they’ve received, but they’ve also never gotten a bottle they hated. Most are really tasty. When you break down the cost of the subscription to get a per-bottle price, each wine comes down to $13.33. Given the quality of the wines Firstleaf sends, you’ll likely find it challenging to find the same value at your local wine store. When you factor in the convenience Firstleaf provides, it’s easy to see the benefit of a Firstleaf subscription. If you like having wine sent to your house every month, Firstleaf is a great way to keep your wine rack stocked full of award-winning wines, and it’s easy to postpone shipments if you ever get backed up with too much wine.
If you’d like to sign up for Firstleaf, just keep in mind that you’re signing up for recurring shipments. You can adjust the frequency of the boxes you receive, but you will be charged on an ongoing basis 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 Firstleaf for yourself here:
COUPON: $100 off your first 3 shipments. No coupon needed - just use this link.
Have you tried Firstleaf? Head to the comments section and let us know!