Bright Cellars is a monthly wine club that matches the wines they select for you based on your personal tastes. They determine your personalized tastes by having you take a quiz to find out what flavors you like more than others.
Bright Cellars was founded by Joe Laurendi and Richard Yau after graduating MIT. They created Bright Cellars’ Bright Points algorithm which assigns points on a 100-point scale to the wines Bright Cellars feels you’ll most likely enjoy, based on your quiz results.
This algorithm based wine selection process is a trend I’m seeing with some of the newer wine clubs these days.
Being curious to see how well they do this, I went ahead and purchased a Bright Cellars wine club subscription so that I could give them a try and do this Bright Cellars review for you.
In this review, I’ll be covering how Bright Cellars works, general information about their wine subscription service, pricing, pros and cons, FAQs and more.
You’ll also see a full unboxing (with pictures) that shows you what I received after making my purchase.
I’ll also share my personal review of each of the wines they sent me and my overall opinion of this wine club.
And finally, I’ll share three Bright Cellars Alternatives to consider.
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How Bright Cellars Works
Bright Cellars is a wine subscription service that starts with either a 4 bottle or 6 bottle offer (your choice when you signup) at a highly discounted price for the first shipment.
Using the quiz results and their 100-point scale, Bright Cellars assigns wines to your first box. They also give you the option to swap out wines for a different wine (that the algorithm selects) if you don’t want a wine they’ve selected for you.
After the first shipment, it becomes a monthly subscription.
Bright Cellars Cost
Bright Cellars costs either $40 for 4 bottles or $50 for 6 bottles (your choice) for your first delivery, plus $10 shipping for either choice.
You also get the option to opt-in for a mystery bottle with either plan for an additional $15-$20 more, depending on the plan you select. The mystery bottle is selected by Bright Cellars’ Sommelier.
Every month after the initial delivery, the Bright Cellars cost is as follows:
- 4 Bottles of Wine: $80.00/month.
- 6 Bottles of Wine: – $90.00/month.
- 4 Bottles of Wine + 1 Mystery Bottle: $110.00/month.
- 6 Bottles of Wine + 1 Mystery Bottle: $115.00/month.
Note: Shipping is an additional $10 for any of the plans and tax is added depending on the state you live in.
The Ordering Process
As mentioned above, the ordering process is based on a quiz that you take to determine the flavor profile of the wines Bright Cellars thinks you’ll like.
The pictures that follow show each of the quiz questions that I was asked.
With each question, I selected an answer and then moved on to the next question. There was a total of seven questions.
Quiz Question 1 – Favorite Type of Chocolate:
Quiz Question 2 – How You Like Your Tea:
Quiz Question 3 – Your Go To Drink:
Quiz Question 4 – Favorite Juice:
Quiz Question 5 – Favorite Wine Pairing:
Quiz Question 6 – Level of Adventurousness:
Quiz Question 7 – Red Wines versus White Wines:
After finishing with the quiz and entering my information, I was given an opportunity to add a “premium mystery bottle” to my order at a discounted price.
I opted to skip the mystery bottle, but you do get a chance to add that back in for future shipments.
Here is the screen I was presented with, for that:
I also got the option to add a waiter’s style corkscrew with my order for $8.00, which I did choose.
After completing my order, I was presented with a screen to show the wines that would be in the box that I would be receiving.
Here is what that looked like:
All in all, I found the ordering process to be straightforward and not confusing, which was good.
Also, once you make your purchase you can poke around in your dashboard and review your account information.
From there it was just a matter of waiting for my wine to arrive! You’ll see what I received in the unboxing section below.
Facts About Bright Cellars
- Bright Cellars is a monthly wine club that tailors wine choices to an individual’s palate through a personalized wine quiz.
- They give you the option to reschedule or delay shipments.
- If you don’t like a wine they send you, they’ll send you a replacement.
- You rate the wines you purchase and those ratings factor into choices for your next shipment.
- Wines are curated from around the world so you won’t only receive wines from one particular country or region.
- You can customize your order through their Wine Concierge up to 24 hours prior to shipment.
- They have a wine blog on their website that helps you increase your knowledge of wine.
Bright Cellars Pros
- Their staff receives intro WSET sommelier training so that they can better assist you.
- They will hold your shipment in the event of extreme weather to protect your wines.
- You’ll get texts with updates on your orders, shipping progress and tracking links.
- A wine concierge is assigned to you and will check in to see if your subscription is going well.
- The collectable wine tasting cards included with each wine are easy to read and include all important aspects of your wine.
- You get discounts on future shipments for rating your wines inside your account.
- If the shipper damages your bottles you can either get a replacement or a full refund.
- You get notified a week in advance of future shipments so that you can make changes if you want.
Bright Cellars Cons
- Shipping is not free with the first order.
- You have to be at least 21 years old and present to accept delivery when your box arrives (required by law, but important to realize).
- You don’t have the option to choose the shipper at order time (i.e., UPS vs. FedEx).
How to Cancel Bright Cellars
If you want to cancel your Bright Cellars wine subscription you go to the contact page on their website and select Subscription Cancellation Request.
From there, a message will be sent to Bright Cellars and a concierge will get in touch to cancel your wine subscription.
Or, you can just give them a call and they’ll cancel your subscription over the phone.
Giving Bright Cellars as a Gift
You can give someone the gift of a personalized wine subscription from Bright Cellars.
The way it works is you select a digital gift card amount and choose a date, and then Bright Cellars will send your gift card to the gift receiver’s inbox on that date.
You do this through a form on their website.
Then the person who receives the digital gift card can choose the subscription plan they want and go through the taste palate quiz to get the process underway.
The wine subscription gift choices are as follows:
- $75 – 1 month subscription.
- $150 – 2 month subscription.
- $250 – 3 month subscription.
- $500 – 5 month subscription.
- $1,000 – 10 month subscription.
Note: The gift choices of $250 and above also include “access to exclusive discounts & limited edition premium wines.”
Bright Cellars Unboxing and Pictures
So that you can see exactly what you get with your first delivery, here is a full unboxing of what Bright Cellars sent me.
You should expect the same thing to arrive at your door when your shipment arrives. However, your wines will be what you ordered versus what I ordered, obviously.
The Bright Cellars Box
This is the box I was sent:
Pretty simple packaging and no damage to the box.
Opening the Bright Cellars Wine Box
This is what it looked like when I first opened the top of the box.
You can see that the box opens from the top, some info about the wine club and the wine tasting cards tucked into the left hand side.
Here is another picture of the top of the box after opening to give you just a little more detail:
After removing the top cardboard piece with the tasting cards, you can see that the wines are stacked on their sides, two by two.
I opted for the four bottle offer. The packaging for the six bottle box will likely be bigger.
What I liked about the packaging was that the wines were safely packed. There was a good amount of cardboard isolating each wine.
Plus, you can see that the wines were packed to prevent up and down motion within their individual boxes.
You can also see that the bottle neck is isolated in place and packed to prevent movement.
Next up, I took out the two cartons of wines and stood them up. You can also see how the front of the box folds forward.
Here is that picture:
Included Wine Tasting Cards
I then removed the wine tasting cards and lined them up, resting against each wine.
I liked how they matched the card to the bottle label, making it easy to tell which one goes with each wine at a glance. Often you have to look at the fine print on the cards to match them up.
Here is what that looked like:
The Bright Cellars Wines
And then finally, here is a good look at the four bottles I received:
Overall, nice packaging, good protection for the wines and an enjoyable unboxing experience.
Reviews of Each Wine
Nice packaging, algorithms and a good ordering experience are all great. But, at the end of the day you are really paying for wines that you expect to enjoy.
So, I tasted each of the wines Bright Cellars sent me to see if they were enjoyable, of good quality and worth the price.
Below you’ll find my review of each one, starting with Forever Fleeting White Blend.
Forever Fleeting White Blend
Timeless and inspiring in its expression, our Forever Fleeting White Blend calls to our will to be free with notes of juicy stone fruits like peach and apricot with just a hint of citrus.Forever Fleeting Wine Bottle Label
This almost clear-colored, white blend from Spain had aromas of white peach and subtle florals.
On the palate it had very light flavors of unsweetened white grape, stone fruits and the slightest touch of citrus.
Overall, quite light in body but also lovely in flavor.
It’s an easy sipper on its own or nicely paired with a shrimp cocktail.
Folk and Fable Cabernet Sauvignon
We don’t believe that greatness happens by chance. Before Folk & Fable Cabernet Sauvignon makes it to your table, the perfect portion is aged for three months in bourbon barrels, resulting in bold notes of blackberry jam and vanilla smoke. Like all legends, this one has been years in the making.Folk and Fable Wine Bottle Label
A portion of this California Cabernet is bourbon barrel aged for three months.
It was dark garnet in color and had thick, slow to fall legs.
Its complex aroma hinted at dark red fruits like blackberry and ripe plum. I also picked up some candied baking spices and caramel.
Its taste was quite bold and luscious with blackberry as the primary flavor. I called it “vanilla, jammy, and smokey.”
Its tannins were noticeable, but also nicely-balanced, leading to a nice silky mouthfeel that was long-finishing and flavorful.
Overall, I found this wine to be smooth drinking and full of flavor. It was very enjoyable and I was pleased that this wine was chosen for me.
Avast Sauvignon Blanc
Hold fast for this Valle Central Sauvignon Blanc with dramatic notes of ruby red grapefruit, pomelo, slate and zesty lemongrass. Light body and racy acidity lend this wine to pair well with crisp salads or citrus-soy sea bass.Avast Wine Bottle Label
This very lightly colored Chilean Sauvignon Blanc had aromas of honeydew melon and a bit of orange citrus.
On the palate, I noted crisp and off dry flavors of grapefruit and lime along with some minerality.
Medium in finish, I found this wine to be quite enjoyable and an easy pairing with a sweet white fish dish.
Its crisp acidity would balance a dish like that nicely.
Lost City Malbec
Tales of cities made of silver beckoned early explorers to South America. Although the quest for this silver utopia continues, your search for a perfectly balanced Malbec ends here.Lost City Wine Bottle Label
In the glass, this leggy Argentinian Malbec was dark purple in color.
On the nose, I noted aromas of blueberry muffin and light mocha.
On the palate I was treated to non-sweet flavors of blueberry and blackberry and also some nicely restrained tannins.
The flavors and tannins balanced out the long finish, rounding out an enjoyable tasting experience.
Overall, I liked this wine quite a bit, appreciating its medium-bodied flavors and unique baked blueberry aroma.
Bright Cellars Second Shipment
Update: After reviewing my initial delivery, I thought I’d review a subsequent delivery from Bright Cellars.
I received the shipment after first completing this review and thought it would be a good idea to update my review after tasting the new wines they sent.
So, next up is my review of the four wines from the delivery pictured above.
Folk and Fable Cabernet Sauvignon
Because I had previously rated this wine highly in my Bright Cellars account, they sent me this one again. And I was glad they did.
Tasting revealed essentially the same experience as the first time I tasted this wine (see above).
Orland Cellars Monastrell
From Spain, Orlan Cellars Monastrell was deep ruby in the glass.
The wine’s aroma reminded me of baked raspberries with little to no alcohol burn in the nose.
Tasting revealed notes of red fruits and cedar along with some bright and grippy tannins.
The red fruits dominated the finish, leading to an overall delicious experience.
Quite a tasty wine whose bright flavors would pair nicely with a simple chorizo based dish.
This Monterey, California Gewurztraminer was light brass in color and exhibited plentiful aromas of cantaloupe, citrus and florals. It was quite leggy in the glass, as well.
On the palate, its flavor was delicate with notes of honeysuckle, lychee and watermelon. But honestly, it was the lychee that stole the show!
Very smooth and long-finishing with a bit of zing, overall I really enjoyed this wine.
Consider pairing it with a feta salad or serve on its own as a flavor-forward sipper.
Light white gold in color, this California Chardonnay starts with aromas of lemon citrus and apple.
Continuing the theme of the aroma, this wine’s palate reveals notes of lemon and non-sweet pineapple.
It’s a full-bodied and flavorful Chardonnay with a lasting finish that would pair nicely with a cheese board.
Overall, quite enjoyable with just a bit of zip, making this wine an easy choice to serve to family and friends!
As someone who has purchased their wine club, I’ve found they’ve delivered great quality wines at a good price and do a good job ensuring you are pleased by their service.
It’s simple 2-step cancellation process where you fill out a form on their site and then someone gets back to you to cancel your subscription. Or, you can call them directly and they will cancel your subscription upon request.
Bright Cellars is based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.
No, Bright Cellars is a curator of wines from around the world.
I hope you found my Bright Cellars review helpful.
Overall, I found the Bright Cellars wine club to be very good. I especially liked the quality of the wines, and how well the wines matched my tastes. This proved to me that their wine quiz was not just a gimmick, but actually worked for my particular palate.
I also liked the fact that they offer a smaller, 4 bottle monthly subscription that can be skipped or delayed if needed.
And, they pay attention to the weather and will hold your wine to avoid shipping in adverse conditions. Many other wine clubs won’t do that.
If you’re a wine drinker who wants the best chance at buying wines that you’ll most likely enjoy, Bright Cellars will certainly be a good choice for you.
Having gone through their quiz, the ordering process and tasting each wine they sent me, I can comfortably recommend this wine club to my readers.
Bright Cellars Alternatives
If you’re shopping around and would like suggestions for some alternative wine club subscriptions, there are three I would suggest.
Firstleaf also matches the wines they select for you based on your personal tastes. And similarly to Bright Cellars, they have a question process that you go through to find wines you’re likely to enjoy.
Wine Access doesn’t require you to answer questions about your personal tastes. What they do offer, is access to multiple different wine clubs.
So, if having multiple choices on price versus variety interests you, consider Wine Access as you do your research.
Cameron Hughes Wine
Cameron Hughes gives you a step up in wine quality. What sets them apart is that they’re able to deliver significant discounts in price for very high quality wines.