Buying wine online is as simple today as buying a book, an Xbox or a pair of pants. The only difference is that there’s no way to know in advance if you’ll like the wine – and it’s not as if you’ll ever get a free sample, just to be sure. Then again, if Tasting Room has anything to do with it, online wine shopping is soon to be as risk-free as buying a cookbook or the latest installment of Call of Duty.
What sets Tasting Room apart is its use of a unique technology that helps individuals find the specific wines that are right for them. Similar to how some online music services “learn” your musical preferences as you listen, Tasting Room lets wine shoppers participate in a one-of-a-kind tasting session that explains to each person his or her unique wine preferences.
It works like this: Tasting Room sends members a box containing six small wine bottles, both reds and whites. Members then take about 10 minutes to sample the wines and answer a few questions about which ones they liked. The process, however, is far more than an opportunity for members to test-drive the wines. Using the member’s likes and dislikes as a starting point, the patent-pending WinePrint™ technology assesses the responses, generates a personalized wine profile and ultimately makes recommendations and even suggests which types of foods pair well with the suggested wines.
Each member’s unique taste profile then powers customized shipments of world-class wines in full-sized bottles. The selections match the preferences a member expressed when sampling the wines in the tasting kit. Shipments are every three months, which translates into one bottle of new wine per week. Check out their site for more details.
While many online wine clubs offer overpriced wines and inflated subscription fees, Tasting Room isn’t hard on the pocketbook. The initial cost, which includes the wine tasting kit and six mini-bottles, is just $9.95. And the first shipment of custom-selected, full-sized bottles — which arrive automatically after 30 days — is just $59.99 (under $10 per bottle). Additionally, it’s risk-free. Members can cancel anytime.
UPDATE: The folks at Tasting Room are extending a discount to Parade readers! Click here to get your wine tasting kit for FREE so long as you complete the tasting and rating process after the kit arrives. It only takes a few minutes!