The 6 best wine subscriptions we tested in 2021

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  • Online wine clubs deliver cases of wine and help you learn more about wine and develop your palate.
  • Winc has straightforward ordering, reliable shipping, good curation, and informative resources.
  • It’s the top pick over our many years of testing and always in tune with the latest wine trends.

This content is intended for readers 21+. Please drink responsibly. If you or anyone you know is dealing with alcohol abuse, get help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) provides a free, confidential, 24/7, treatment referral, and information service.

The world of wine – with all its varietals, regions, tasting techniques, and pairing rules – can seem intimidating and difficult to navigate. Online wine clubs, however, aim to bring these barriers crashing down and make the process so easy you don’t even need to leave your house.

These monthly or quarterly subscriptions typically send you wines that fit your existing tastes while helping you expand your horizons and discover new favorites.

“No one is born with a great palate,” said Vanessa Price, a sommelier, wine writer for New York Magazine, and author of Big Macs & Burgundy: Wine Pairings for the Real World, “they develop it over time. The more you expand your experiences with different types of wine, the more evolved your palate will become.”

Since you might not have the time or energy to do all the work, a wine club can fast-track that evolution.

“Generally, wine clubs are great for those who want to be introduced to new things, but who may not be confident enough yet to select new things for themselves,” said David Hamburger, director of special events at Acker, the oldest wine shop in America. “A good wine club should be somewhat instructive, sharing with members enough information about each wine to provide background, but also allow members the flexibility to enjoy it their own way – with a recipe, or food pairing suggestions.” If you need extra guidance on how to taste or store your wine, head over to our FAQs here.

Safe and reliable shipping standards, subscription flexibility and customization, and unique, high-quality offerings are also important factors to keep in mind.

With every service below, our bottles arrived on time and securely packaged. Member experience was also great across the board. You can easily skip shipments or cancel your subscription directly from your online account.

Remember, an adult 21+ years old must be present to sign for the wine shipment.

Here are the best wine subscriptions in 2021

The best subscription overall

best wine club 2021 Winc

The modern wine club model is nearly perfect in Winc‘s hands, from its large and on-trend bottle variety to its streamlined browsing and customer rating system.

Pros: Wines are all based on consumer interests and trends, easy-to-navigate interface, many varietals

Cons: Wine info and notes are only online, a la carte stock goes quickly

As a new member at Winc, you start by taking a quick quiz that asks about your tastes and preferences. Then you’re matched up with wines that align with your “Palate Profile,” and from there you can create your own cart of wine selections. In addition to the suggestions presented to you, you can browse by category. The shop features clear ratings from other members and easy-to-digest descriptions of each wine.

This design provides a good balance of guidance and personalization — you get suggestions but you also have the freedom to pick out other wines that catch your eye. 

Winc works directly with vineyards and makes all the wines it sells, producing over 664 wines from 78 grape varieties and 97 regions across 12 different countries since launch. You may see some of these wines also sold at Whole Foods, Vons, and Kroger stores. Since Winc uses subscriber data and ratings to inform new wine production, the wine you see will line right up with emerging trends. 

On the downside, this rapid production model means it can be hard to re-purchase some of your favorites, so it’s best not to get too attached to a particular bottle. 

I’ve tried Winc a few times over the last couple of years and always found something I liked while further developing my tastes and preferences. It’s through Winc that I’ve grown to appreciate Chenin Blanc from South Africa and how I realized I’m not a fan of Touriga Nacional, a dry red wine popular in Portugal.

You can only see each wine’s tasting notes and descriptions online, which is a bit inconvenient as you try out your monthly shipment. However, the online-first system ultimately works in your favor because you’ll have your entire order history and personal notes all in one place to reference later.   

Since the wines are based on your preferences, there aren’t any seasonal or holiday offerings.

Read our full review of Winc here.

The best subscription for value

best wine club 2021 Firstleaf value budget affordable

You’ll never have to pay more than $15 a bottle at Firstleaf, where the quality and personalization are top-notch.

Pros: Flexibility to swap out pre-selected bottles in your order, attractive intro offer, good overall value

Cons: May take a few boxes/rounds of ratings for the system to understand more specific preferences

Like Winc, Firstleaf has you start out with a quiz so it can better understand your preferences.  When you’re finished, it serves up six wines it thinks you’ll like, and you can read about each one and decide whether you want to make any swaps. However, you only have six swaps per shipment. So, Firstleaf is that nice “Goldilocks” service where you have a bit of control, but you’re still steered in the right direction. 

To draw you in, Firstleaf has a very competitive introductory offer of $39.95 for six wines, including shipping. Afterward, the price goes up to $80, plus $9.95 shipping, but you’re still only paying $15 for each bottle, many of which are industry award winners.

After you’ve tried every wine in your monthly shipment, you can rate them online. This step is important because Firstleaf will use your ratings to become smarter and hone in on an even better curation for you next month. As your wine knowledge and tastes evolve, so too will the service. 

I’ve had the chance to try Firstleaf a few times in the last couple of years, and it’s always been reliable. I appreciate that I don’t have to do quite so much work in picking out the bottles and that the main effort only comes afterward, once I’ve tried everything. 

On top of the existing value of the service, there’s a strong referral program: if you share Firstleaf with a friend, they’ll get $40 and you’ll get $40. 

Firstleaf has seasonal offerings, typically around the holidays, for wines that pair well with fall and winter foods. 

Read our full review of Firstleaf here. 

The best subscription for sampling

best wine club 2021 Vinebox sampling sample taster gift

Vinebox packages European wines in sleek and distinctive single-serving glasses so you can try nine different kinds without committing to whole bottles.

Pros: Good sampling size, memorable packaging, useful info cards

Cons: Can’t always find or buy the full bottle in the shop, sells out frequently 

It’s easy to distinguish Vinebox from the pack: you get no less than nine wines, neatly packed into individual glass tubes and accompanied by a well-designed informational booklet, all stored in sturdy yet gift-worthy packaging. 

Each quarter’s box is pre-curated so you can’t customize it to your tastes, but you’ll have plenty of fun sipping and sampling each wine. The best part is that you won’t feel bad opening and finishing a whole “bottle” because it’s only a single serving. Vinebox’s design is great for casual wine drinkers who hate commitment, plus it’s convenient and practical because you don’t even need a bottle opener or corkscrew to enjoy your drink. 

If you do happen to fall in love with one of the samples, you can make use of the $15 credit given to you each quarter. This can be used towards a purchase of the full-sized version. You may also want to gift this unique and beautiful box to a friend whose wine preferences are eclectic or unclear — with so many varietals packed into every shipment, they’re bound to enjoy at least one.

The particular box I received featured all light and medium-bodied wines, which I just so happen to enjoy. But it would’ve been even better to see some full-bodied wines represented, for additional variety and range. 

Vinebox has a popular seasonal offering that only comes around the holidays, an advent calendar called 12 Nights of Wine. The limited-quantity box costs $129 and contains 12 glasses of wine, and it usually sells out, so be on the lookout in the winter. 

Read our full review of Vinebox here.

The best subscription for natural wine

best wine club 2021 Plonk natural wine biodynamic organic

For natural, organic, and biodynamic wines, you can rely on Plonk to take care of the expert vetting, thoughtful curation, and spot-on food pairing recommendations.

Pros: Only natural wine offerings, pre-curated, easy to skip shipments or cancel your subscription 

Cons: Pricey, cannot be personalized

Plonk, which is British derogatory slang for cheap, low-quality wine, provides wines that are anything but. The online club focuses exclusively on natural wines that are grown with organic, biodynamic, and sustainable vineyard practices, meaning they don’t contain pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or commercial additives (like colorants or artificial sugars). There’s also an impressive selection of sulfite-free and unfiltered bottles. 

If you’re interested in the specific distinctions among the terms “natural,” “organic,” and “biodynamic,” founder Etty Klein breaks them down here.

Plonk prides itself on selecting and importing wines from small, boutique winemakers and lesser-known wine regions, flouting big industry names to give you a carefully vetted selection. While other online wine subscriptions may offer natural and sustainable options, few can boast both the convenience and range of Plonk’s one-stop natural shop. 

When you sign up, you have your choice of an all-red, all-white, or mixed variety box, with either four, six, or 12 bottles per shipment. What the included informational printout lacks in glitzy presentation, at least compared to other services, it makes up for in precise tasting notes and ultra-specific food pairings courtesy of Food52. For example, one of my favorite Plonk discoveries, a 2019 Pinot Noir from Margaret River, Western Australia, should be enjoyed with stuffed peppers with lamb, orzo, and halloumi cheese. 

Plonk has seasonal offerings throughout the year, including a Thanksgiving bundle and a sparkling wine sampler around the holidays. 

The best subscription for sparkling wine

best wine club 2021 mumm napa sparkling wine champagne

If you like celebrating with a bubbly drink, Mumm Napa has more than enough variety with its quarterly wine club. It uses French techniques to make its delicious wines and offers discounts, exclusive events, and free tastings for its members. 

Pros: Great variety and high-quality production of sparkling wine, informative booklet included, many membership perks 

Cons: Total annual price is expensive, may not be suitable if you’re seeking sparkling wines made from different producers 

Mumm Napa has roots that go back to the 1800s with the French Champagne house G. H. Mumm & Cie. The parent company of Mumm Napa, Mumm is one of the largest producers of Champagne globally. Its Napa Valley vineyard continues to use traditional Champagne-making techniques to make its sparkling wines, the best of which are showcased in the Club Vivant subscriptions.

The Collector’s Edition club ships quarterly and costs $200-$275 per shipment, depending on the bottle variety. It contains six full-sized bottles per shipment, including the winery’s signature DVX annual release wine and limited production wines. You’ll also get a detailed pamphlet of notes for each wine. 

I loved the sparkling Pinot Noir and the Brut Reserve, and the pairing suggestions (like truffle popcorn with the Brut Reserve) were helpful and spot-on. I also appreciated the general variety that the club provided, from the sparkling rosé to the sparkling chardonnay. I have more experience with still wines, but Mumm Napa’s carefully produced assortment showed me that sparkling can be just as diverse and fun. It also gave me an excuse to celebrate exciting moments in my life, no matter how big or small. 

In addition to the actual wines, there are perks like 20% off Mumm Napa sparkling and still wines, 20% off gift shop purchases, and 30% off club selection re-orders. You’ll also get access to exclusive wines and invitations to virtual events. The membership is even more worth it if you live close to Napa — once a month, you can enjoy a complimentary select tasting for up to four people (note: this may be temporarily unavailable due to restrictions from the novel coronavirus pandemic).

The best subscription curation

Best wine club 2021 Parcelle curation

Parcelle Wine Drop combines a truly unique selection of bottles with an informative yet unpretentious wine education from Michelin-starred sommeliers.

Pros: Pre-curated, unique variety, beautiful info cards, impressive expertise

Cons: Not personalized, could buy the bottles individually for less

I love Parcelle’s Wine Drop because it has the feel of a cool and exclusive local club but it ships nationwide. Parcelle is based in New York City and enlists the curation and expertise of Michelin-starred sommeliers like the former wine directors of Eleven Madison Park and Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare. 

The experience indeed feels like you’re asking for wine recs at a restaurant. It’s arguably even better because your three wines also come with beautifully illustrated info cards and a copy of Parcelle Press, a mini journal that is, again, visually stunning. 

Founder Grant Reynolds told Insider Reviews, “The Wine Drop is our shortlist of our favorite wines to have around the house at that time of year. Nothing too fancy but always smart, a bit different, and from small producers focusing on making wines unique to the place they are from.”

If you prefer more customization, you’ll probably enjoy one of our other picks more, but if you want to leave it up to the pros, try Wine Drop. All three wines I received were hits, and they helped me realize a new love for orange wine. 

Depending on the wine, the total cost of the individual bottles could come out to less than $95. The Wine Drop I received in September 2020, for example, was $85. In other months, the total may be more. While fluctuating prices may be a dealbreaker for some, I found Wine Drop’s tight curation and immersive experience to be compelling enough reasons to continue my subscription. 

Each month’s Wine Drop has a different theme so the selection is curated and intentional. For example, April 2021’s trio is a precursor to summer rosé season. 

What else we tested

picked wine dot com best wine clubs 2021

What else we recommend and why

Picked by Wine.com: Long a reliable place to shop a huge variety of wines, Wine.com now has its own personalized club for the people who get instantly overwhelmed when they land on the site. I was impressed with the level of personal care by this service — my assigned sommelier personally reached out to me explaining why he couldn’t include any sweet reds in my shipment and suggested how I could update my account for a better experience. My conversations with him were friendly and informational, making me feel comfortable enough to ask questions. Since the Picked program is fairly new, you might not get the variety you want, as I experienced, but the level of care and personalization alone makes it worth a try. 

Eater Wine Club: We always look to Eater to find local restaurants and bar recs, and now it’s making use of its expertise and community connections to curate a monthly wine club. The new club, which launched in late 2020 and sends you four bottles of wine every month, has already featured cool, memorable themes like Greek wines and celebration-worthy wines that aren’t Champagne. I loved that the roster of monthly curators and wine experts hailed from all over the country so that even in the midst of a pandemic, it felt like I was traveling to and exploring a new food and wine scene. As a member, you’ll also be invited to a virtual tasting with each month’s curator and receive an exclusive newsletter. 

SommSelectAn impressive roster of sommeliers picks out the wines in this Sonoma-based club. I’ve been trying The Explore 4, which is built around a monthly theme. The first box I received contained wines from all over the world: Swartland (South Africa), Northern Piedmont (Italy), Southern Rhône Valley (France), and the Finger Lakes (New York). The accompanying booklet was among the best produced and most helpful of all the clubs I’ve tried so far, filled with useful information about each wine and a glossary that instantly deepened my wine knowledge. 

What we do not recommend and why

Usual Wines: Usual Wines’ single-serving beaker bottles are certainly eye-catching and memorable. However, the company only offers its subscriptions in red, rosé, and brut, and these wines don’t change month-to-month. On the plus side, its wines contain no added sugars or sulfites, and the grapes come from sustainable farms. If you’re looking for a straightforward subscription you don’t really have to think about, Usual Wines is a good candidate. Otherwise, our picks above provide better opportunities for education and discovery. 

Acker Wines: Acker has wine clubs for a variety of budgets and levels of enthusiasm, from the $89/month Access Club to the $999/month JK Club for fine and rare wines. Acker’s Access Club seems promising for wine amateurs, but it’s geographically limited to New York City residents. The next club level up jumps to $299/quarter for three bottles, which may be inaccessible for many shoppers.  

Elicit Wine Project: Elicit Wine Project helps incubate and launch cool, innovative wine brands, so if you’re tired of seeing the same stuffy labels, you’ll like shopping here and putting together your own subscription box. The downside is that there aren’t many varietals to choose from right now. Perhaps as the service grows, we’ll see a better variety. 

What we’re testing next

best wine club 2021 what we look forward to testing slide

The Grand Tour: This club by online and brick-and-mortar shop Verve Wine takes a geographic approach to wine discovery by highlighting four bottles (usually two red and two white) from a different region each month. Why does the region matter? Well, soil, climate, and topography all affect the winemaking process and the final product.  

The Sip: This Black-owned bi-monthly subscription service focuses exclusively on sparkling wines for all your bubbly needs. In addition to three flights of luxury sparkling wine, you’ll get priority access to new wine releases. It’s the perfect wine club for people who are always looking for an excuse to celebrate. 

Primal Wine ClubAnother natural wine club that looks promising is Primal, which offers red, white, and mixed wine clubs as well as education about the oft-confusing world of natural, biodynamic, and organic wines. The price per bottle is on par with Plonk’s, so the points of differentiation we’ll be looking for are curation, variety, and reliability of delivery. 

Wine how-tos and FAQs

best wine club 2021 Wine FAQs how to

How to store wine

Do: Lay the bottle on its side in a cool dark place, preferably in a cabinet lower to the floor. 

Don’t: Stand it up on the counter or leave it in direct sunlight. 

Do: Store your opened bottle in a wine fridge so it can keep a little longer. 

Don’t: Store wine in a regular refrigerator. “The same qualities that keep your food fresh will not have the same effect on your wine,” says Price. See our guide to the best wine coolers and fridges

How to taste wine

Go slow and use the right techniques. “Tasting wine to learn something about it is different from just knocking a glass back casually with friends,” said Price. “Take the time to think about what you are tasting. Make sure you stick your nose in the glass and really smell the wine. When you drink it, coat your entire palate. After you swallow, think about how long the flavors and textures linger in your mouth.” 

The sommelier and wine writer also recommended starting a tasting group with your friends or family. “Pick a theme and have everyone bring a bottle within that theme. For example, if you want to understand Syrah, the line-up should include a Northern Rhône (FR), Barossa Valley (AU), Stellenbosch (ZA), Paso Robles (US), and Tuscany (IT) bottling amongst others. Each person should bring their bottle wrapped so you can’t see the label (don’t forget to take the neck foil off, that one is an easy giveaway!), and put the wines out for everyone to taste and guess which wine is which. It’s helpful to write your tasting notes down so you see how you progress over time. The entertainment value goes up even more when afterward you discuss your impressions as a group, enjoying the wines you brought with friends.”

How to choose the perfect wine for a gift 

Make it personal. “The best way to gift a bottle of wine is to know a little piece about the recipient. Whether it’s a birth year or wedding vintage, a favorite place, or just their personal taste, those small things will make a gifted bottle of wine far more special,” says Hamburger. 

What’s the difference between Champagne and sparkling wine? 

All Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is Champagne. Champagne refers specifically to sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France. Because of this geographic distinction, that means there are only certain grapes — like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir — that can be used to make Champagne.

Check out our other wine guides

best red wine glass 2021
Read the original article on Business Insider

21 gift baskets for your favorite foodie

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Bokksu box

A gift basket is a common and easy gift to give to a client, host, or in-laws, but all too often, they’re filled with uninspiring, bland items.

A great gift basket includes a large quantity of high-quality items that have been curated around your giftee’s interests and tastes. Whether you’re planning to gift food, coffee, or seasoning-filled baskets you’ll want to make sure each item will be used. We’ve gathered 21 unique gift baskets that include everything from a salami bouquet, a bucket of candy, and even ice cream. Many of our picks contain perishable items, which means they ship quickly.

However, we recommend checking the estimated delivery date closely before purchasing to ensure they’ll arrive in time for your intended arrival date. Check out our other gift guides here if you’re looking for more gift ideas.

Here are 21 gift baskets to treat your loved ones:

A bouquet of gourmet salami

Food52 Salami Bouquet

Olympia Provisions Salami Bouquet, available at Food52, from $50 + $11 shipping surcharge

This salami arrangement will likely be the most unique gift they’ve ever received. The salami comes straight from Oregon and is created from all-natural northwest pork and will help them craft extravagant charcuterie boards. Choose from three or six salami arrangement options.

A coffee sampler of best-sellers and customer favorites

La Colombe Sampler Gift Box

Medium Light Roast Workshop Sampler Gift Box, Available at La Colombe, $30

East coast coffee shop favorite, La Colombe offers coffee enthusiasts unique blends of coffee in multiple grind options. If they’re not lucky enough to live in one of the six states with La Colombe locations or if you just want to treat them to a coffee shop experience right at home, gifting them this sampler will help them easily choose their new favorites.

A flight of wild wine flavors

Wild Child Flight

Wild Child Flight, available at In Good Taste, $65

If they choose wines based on what they’re eating and love to try new flavors, In Good Taste’s Wild Child Flight will be the perfect gift as it offers non-traditional wine flavors such as black currant, pineapple, fig, and black cherry. Each flight includes eight tasting bottles and every purchase comes with a complimentary interactive virtual wine tasting.

A variety bucket filled with sour flavored candies

Dylans Sour Lovers Gift Basket

Sour Lovers Gift Bucket, available at Dylan’s Candy Bar, $45

This giant bucket is the perfect gift for those that never grew out of their sweet tooth and includes sour belts, sour gummy bears and worms, and more. The retailer also offers other fun options such as its movie night-themed gift basket.

A basket fit for your favorite home cook

Williams Sonoma gift basket

Best of Italy Gift Basket, available at Williams Sonoma, $99.95

With three pasta varieties, Parmesan cheese, wine-infused salami, and other ingredients, this massive basket will be an appreciated addition to any kitchen.

A gift box for the cocktail expert in your life

City Bird cocktail gift box

Cocktail Connoisseur Gift Box, available at City Bird, $79

This gift box contains everything they’ll need to craft the perfect cocktail. The set includes two engraved glasses, premium cocktail cherries, metal straws, and most importantly a pair of round ice molds so your recipient can avoid watered down, bland drinks.

A tin full of rainbow chocolate chip cookies

Baked in color rainbow

Rainbow Colors Chocolate Chip Cookie Tins, available at Baked In Color, from $30

Whether you choose the rainbow colors, or choose your own custom colors, these cookies and brownies stand out. This tin basket contains colorful rainbow cookies in quantities up to 30.

A flavorful pack of seasonings and sauces

Momofuku pantry pack

Pantry Starter Pack, available at Momofuku, $55

If they’re always looking for ways to add new flavors to their meals, this seasoning starter pack is a great place to start. This set includes unique blends of savory, tingly, and spicy seasoned salts as well as chili crunch, and restaurant-grade tamari and soy sauces. 

A box of Japanese snacks they can’t get in the US

Bokksu box

Classic Box, available at Bokksu, $44.95

Bokksu works directly with snack makers in Japan, so your recipient won’t be able to find these unique and delicious treats here. Every month’s box has a different theme and contains 20 to 25 snacks, as well as a tea pairing. The February Bokksu, “Sweet Love,” celebrates Valentine’s Day with an emphasis on sharing “whole hearted feelings” with the special people in our lives.

Treats for the ultimate sweet tooth

best gift baskets 20

The Sweet Spot, available at Milk Bar, $90

It’ll be hard to decide what to eat first from this trio of Milk Bar favorites — will it be the moist birthday cake truffles, buttery Milk Bar pie, or the chewy cookies in creative flavors like Blueberry & Cream? 

Unique infused olive oils

best gift baskets 28

Giusto Sapore Olive Oil Gift Set, available at Amazon, $59.99

The five-bottle set of flavored olive oil will transform their dinners — from spicy chili to make their pizza more exciting to blood orange to freshen up seafood dishes. 

Six pints of ice cream (toppings included) to get them through the winter

best gift baskets 24

Oddfellows Classics Ice Cream Sundae Kit, available at Goldbelly, $119

It’s usually hard to gift ice cream without showing up at the door with a melted mess. Thankfully, Goldbelly packs all its gift kits with dry ice so your recipient can enjoy this huge sundae kit of six ice cream pints and four toppings. Along with classic toppings like rainbow sprinkles and Oreo cookies, there’s miso butterscotch and salted caramel. 

A unique charcuterie assortment you can’t find at a regular grocery store

best gift baskets 26

Delicious Duck Cure Bundle, available at D’Artagnan, $87.95

Expand their charcuterie horizons with this box of dried and cured duck meats, including duck rillettes, duck prosciutto, smoked duck breast, and duck saucisson sec. There’s also a rich black truffle foie gras, which goes well with some bread. 

Read our review.

The gift basket that’s perfect for a picnic

best gift baskets 21

Bella Cucina Italian Antipasti Basket Gift Set, available at Food52, $239

They’ll definitely want to reuse this spacious woven tote, which contains savory and sweet spreads (like artichoke lemon pesto), crackers and flatbread, and an olive wood knife. It’s a gourmet splurge, but a beautifully packaged one at that. 

A healthy variety of nuts and fruits

best gift baskets 4

Oh! Nuts Holiday Nut & Dried Fruit Gift Basket, available at Amazon, $29.95

There are a few out-of-the-ordinary fruits in this box: dried summer plums, papaya, and pear. Pair them with crunchy nuts, meat, and cheese, or enjoy them on their own. 

A carb-heavy box of pastries and breads

best gift baskets 5

Signature Bakery Tray, available at Harry & David, $79.99

The tray of cookies, cakes, and other pastries will be a big hit for anyone who loves lingering in bakeries. Reviewers love the lemon poppyseed cake and raspberry galettes. 

A cheesy collection from a New York City institution

best gift baskets 6

Greatest Hits, available at Murray’s Cheese, $95

If they crave a mild cheese, there’s a manchego. For a sharper edge, try the cheddar. There’s also an aged gruyere and creamy mini brie. To go along with this sampler of Murray’s Cheese’s popular varieties, there are cherry preserves, crackers, and almonds in the box as well. 

Eight servings of ‘tea drops’

best gift baskets 27

Best Tea Gift Set, available at Tea Drops, $14

Tea Drops are tea leaves that come in fun shapes such as hearts, flowers, and stars. As the name suggests, they simply drop the packed tea leaves into boiling water to create their cup. The tea kit contains both caffeinated and non-caffeinated varieties. 

Nostalgia-inducing Mrs. Fields cookies

best gift baskets 7

Mrs. Fields Large Sunshine Basket, available at FTD, $80

Your favorite food stand from the mall offers a box of 48 bite-sized cookies, 30 brownie bites, and eight regular cookies that arrives right at their door. It wouldn’t be a “Sunshine” box without four frosted sun cookies. 

A snack box that travels to a different country every month

best gift baskets 13

Yum Yum Box, available at Universal Yums, $29

If you know that they’re open to treats from all over the world, gift a box from Universal Yums. They can travel the world and sample the sweet and savory snacks from countries such as Greece, Indonesia, Colombia, and Italy. 

Crunchy, flavorful popcorn

best gift baskets 8

Popcornopolis Gourmet Popcorn Mini 5-Cone Gift Basket, available at Amazon, $22.20

We love snacking on the savory and sweet popcorn from Popcornopolis, and your recipient will, too. The delicious non-GMO popcorn comes in five flavors (zebra, kettle, cheddar cheese, caramel, and cinnamon toast) and is wrapped up in distinctive striped cones. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

9 places to buy alcohol online and get it delivered right to your door

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Here’s how to get alcohol delivered right to your door whether it’s your favorite wine, beer, or spirit.
  • Check your state’s laws before you shop, and be sure an adult who is 21 years or older can sign for the package.
  • Some companies are experiencing delays and have implemented increased safety features due to the pandemic.

This content is intended for readers 21+. Please drink responsibly. If you or anyone you know is dealing with alcohol abuse, get help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) provides a free, confidential, 24/7, treatment referral, and information service.

Trying to carry two bottles of wine, a handle of whiskey, a six-pack of beer, and some bitters to stock our bar cart might as well be an Olympic sport. But the task of buying alcohol doesn’t have to be so strenuous, and for anyone who can’t or doesn’t want to go outside to the store, there’s always alcohol delivery.

We’ve broken down how to buy alcohol online and the best places to order from whether you’re into spirits, wine, or beer. Some can get you your alcohol within a couple of hours of ordering, while others may have set shipping schedules.

One thing to keep in mind with any alcohol delivery service is that each state has its own laws.

Alabama, Oklahoma, and Utah have outright bans on booze deliveries to private citizens. In almost all other states, wine deliveries are perfectly legal, though they will require a signature from an adult who’s 21 or older in most places. Check the National Conference of State Legislatures‘ Direct Shipment of Alcohol Statutes page for the most updated information.

Here are the best places to buy alcohol online:

The best place to buy wine online

wine.com

Wine.com boasts the world’s largest online wine selection, letting you find your old favorites, discover new wines, and shop collectible and boutique wines. 

There’s no shortage of choice at Wine.com, where you can shop by varietal and region, or browse various curated lists and deals. You can also pick up gift baskets, glassware, and other wine accessories to supplement your bottles. 

Each product page features helpful winemaker notes, reviews from trusted critics like James Suckling, and additional information about the vineyard. There’s also a live wine expert chat function in case you need extra help. 

In addition to home delivery, the site offers order pickup from more than 10,000 participating locations including Walgreens, Duane Reade, and Safeway. 

If you anticipate ordering often, get the annual $49 membership, which is called the StewardShip program, and gives you free shipping on every order for a full year with no purchase minimum.

New customers can also take $20 off orders of $100+ with the code “NEW2021“.

Shipping cost: Varied and based on the number of bottles and the size and weight of your order

Read about more places to buy wine online

Italian Wine Gift Set

The best place to buy indie wine online

where to buy alcohol online 14

NakedWines.com lets you support independent winemakers around the world and you’ll receive big discounts so you can stock your wine supply for less.

If you’re interested in getting to know the winemaker behind each of your bottles, you’ll love NakedWines.com, which specializes in lifting up independent wine labels around the world. You can become an “Angel” who invests $40 a month directly in up-and-coming winemakers, and in return, you’ll get wholesale prices (up to 60% off wine) and a free gift bottle every month. 

Even if you don’t want to become an Angel, you can still shop the large variety of red, white, sparkling, rose, and sweet wine on the site and try the user-friendly filtering system. You can even browse winemaker profiles to hear directly from the source, read customer reviews, and easily shop all the wine from that maker. 

There’s a generous welcome offer of $100 off your introductory case that includes six bottles of reds and whites. For future orders, there is a six-bottle minimum. 

Shipping cost: $10 for orders under $100. For orders $100 and more, delivery is free — except for Hawaii (+$70) and Alaska (+$130).

Read our review of NakedWines.com

Napa Valley Discovery 6-Pack

The best place to buy Japanese sake online

tippsy sake

Tippsy is a great way to explore Japanese sake à la carte or through a monthly subscription box.

If you’ve never drunk sake outside of a Japanese restaurant, you’re missing out on a whole world of booze. And if part of the reason is that you’re not sure what to order or what to pair it with, you might want to sign up for Tippsy. 

Tippsy is an online store for sake, and it keeps the category from being overwhelming with taste profiles, pairing suggestions, translations of Japanese labels and descriptions, and more. Bottles can be purchased a la carte or through a subscription that arrives one, two, or four times a year. Each box contains six 10-ounce bottles, and your first box comes with a Sake 101 guide with tasting notes, and suggestions on food pairings and even what temperatures to enjoy the sake. 

This is a great way to expand your palate and knowledge of alcohol without venturing out to a Japanese restaurant.  

Currently, you can get $10 flat shipping on all orders, or earn free shipping if you order six or more bottles.

Membership cost: Starting at $93/box for subscription, à la carte bottles starting at $10 — Jada Wong 

Read our review of Tippsy

Tippsy Sake Box

The best place to buy beer online

best beer alcohol guide

Craft beer enthusiasts will be happy with Craft City‘s impressive inventory that tends towards smaller brewery labels. 

If you have a particular craft beer in mind — maybe you tried it while traveling or you bought it from a store once and never saw it again — chances are that Craft City carries it. It also happens to be a great place to buy other fizzy drinks, like craft kombucha and craft soda. 

You can enjoy the nation’s best craft breweries, from more well-known names like Ballast Point and Allagash to labels you’ve never heard of. The nice thing is that you can buy single bottles rather than full packs, so you can create a fully customized beer stash. 

Some of the products include ratings from Beer Advocate and Rate Beer, plus each page tells you exactly how much stock is left and whether you need to act quickly to snatch up your favorites. There’s also a cool Product Comparison tool if you’re between two beers and want a side-by-side breakdown of their differences. 

Shipping cost: Based on your specific location, and generally, we found you’ll pay between $10 to $16 for ground shipping. 

Read about more places to buy beer online

Mason Ale Works Cash Stout 

The best on-demand alcohol delivery

drizly

For alcohol delivery within the hour, Drizly provides the most reliable, well-designed, and widely available service. 

Drizly works with your local liquor stores to get you wine, beer, spirits, and even mixers, snacks, and party supplies quickly. Delivery’s free in New York City and only $5 in other areas. Drizly service is available in more than 220 markets nationwide. 

Stock and pricing really depend on your neighborhood retailer, but you should expect all the big brands and bar essentials, as well as more unique offerings such as craft brews, bottles from local distillers, and exclusive wines. They should cost you the retail price, or a little more, though Drizly also regularly runs deals and promotions to save you some money.

Both the website and app are easy to use and you can look at your past purchases to make reordering a breeze. 

Delivery cost: Free in NYC and $5 elsewhere

Read our comparison of Drizly, Minibar, and Saucey

Hornitos Reposado Tequila 1L

The best place to buy alcohol gifts

reservebar

ReserveBar is an online luxury spirit and wine store that carries rare bottles, gift sets, and fine drinkware. It’s the perfect place to find top-shelf options for special occasions. 

ReserveBar is an online delivery platform offering everything from bottom- and middle-shelf wine and spirits to the very tippy-top, like Armand de Brignac Blanc de Blancs and Remy Martin Louis XIII.

However, since it does charge a premium on common bottles and brands, we recommend going to other sites or your local liquor store for the bottom- and middle-shelf stuff and focusing instead on all the rare vintages and limited offerings — if you have the budget. 

You’ll also find custom engravings, fancy crystal and barware sets, and gift baskets. If you ever want to make someone in your life — be it a partner, relative, or business contact — feel special, ReserveBar’s the place to find the best boozy gift. 

At the time of this update, if you buy three bottles you can get the fourth for 50% off with code “THEFINALS.” 

Shipping cost: Shipping is $15-$35 for orders under $149. It’s free on orders over $149 with the code above. 

Read our review of ReserveBar

Johnnie Walker Blue Label

The best spirits subscription

flaviar

Flaviar is an accessible starting point and community for people wanting to expand their experience with spirits, and it offers no shortage of member-exclusive features to dive into and explore.

The world of fine and niche spirits can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the scene. But if you’re interested in trying small-batch whiskeys, vodkas, tequilas, and more, personalized spirits subscription service Flaviar is an excellent place to start.

In addition to providing quality options (including rare bottles) at great prices, Flaviar also serves as an online community for fellow fans (600,000+ strong) to get together and talk about everything spirits-related. 

It carries more than 20,000 different spirits and every three months, members can pick out one full-size bottle and a curated Tasting Box filled with various samples. There are many other perks, including member reviews, articles about different spirits, cocktail recipes, and interviews with industry experts. 

Membership cost: $95 per quarter or $300 per year

Read our review of Flaviar

Flaviar Annual Subscription

The best wine subscription

Winc 3 image

The modern wine club model is nearly perfect in Winc‘s hands, from its large and on-trend bottle variety to its streamlined browsing and customer rating system.

Winc is always updating its stock of wine, which it produces based on consumer interests and emerging trends. That means you’ll always have something new to look forward to when you do your monthly wine shopping haul. 

Winc’s site is easy to use and browse for different varietals and regions, and you can view member ratings and descriptions for each wine. We also love it because its wines are pretty affordable, ranging from $13 to $32 a bottle. 

Amateur wine enthusiasts can start with the Palate Profile, which will point them in the right direction of different wines to try. Membership isn’t required to order from Winc, though it can save you some money if you regularly consume wine. 

Right now, new customers can take $20 off four bottles or more.

Membership cost: $59.95/month, or order a minimum of three bottles starting at $13/bottle 

Read our review of Winc

Read more about the best online wine subscriptions

Winc Wine Subscription

The best beer subscription

beer of the month club

Beer of the Month Club has more than 25 years of experience recommending craft beers and uses three criteria — quality, freshness, and variety — to curate its 12-packs. 

This club has been around since 1994 and is more than familiar with the best craft beers you should know about. Its panel members have some impressive experience up their sleeves, including over 100 collective years in the brewing industry and 500 beers rated every year to bring you only top-tier beers. 

Beer of the Month currently offers five different membership types: US Microbrewed, US and International Variety, Hop Heads Beer, International Beer, and Rare Beer. You’ll get 12 bottles that represent two to four beer styles and breweries, plus profiles and tasting notes. 

The subscription is aimed at people who want to develop their taste in beer or simply find it too time-consuming to do the research and work themselves.

Right now, you can save up to $30 off prepaid orders. Use the code “SAVE10” for $10 off a 4-shipment order, “SAVE15” for $15 off a prepaid 6-shipment order, and “SAVE30” for $30 off a prepaid 12-shipment order. 

Membership cost: $29.95-$38.95 a month, plus $15 shipping. 

Beer of the Month Club Subscription

Check out our other great guides

how to buy alcohol online 8

The best places to buy beer online, from local delivery services to monthly subscriptions


The best places to buy alcohol online — from general online liquor stores to monthly wine delivery services


The best wine subscriptions we’ve tried


The best Champagne and sparkling wine you can buy online


The best drinking glasses


The best wine openers and corkscrews


The best cocktail shakers


The best wine glasses

Read the original article on Business Insider

Omaha Steaks is one of our favorite online meat markets, and right now you can order complete Easter packages for an easy holiday dinner

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Omaha Steaks Lifestyle

  • Online food company Omaha Steaks has been in business since 1917 and ships out 4 million orders annually.
  • It sells meat and other foods for as little as $39.99 per bundle, and offers bulk packages to help you stock up.
  • Every cut of meat ships in its own vacuum-sealed package and comes with precise, easy-to-follow cooking instructions.
  • You can still order steaks, ham, and sides in time for Easter delivery.

Filet Mignon Dinner (small)

You’ve heard of Omaha Steaks. It’s the mail order meat company that sent your boss some filet mignon as a thank you from his boss. Or maybe your uncle has been talking about it ever since he got that one box of steaks back in 1998. Or it’s possible that you saw it advertised in some in-flight magazine.

If you’re like many folks out there, you probably think the company sells quality meats but at prices that put their foods outside of your comfort zone. If you only focus on Omaha Steaks’ packages, like the $299 Butcher’s Backyard Basics or the $159 Build Your Own Holiday Feast complete with pork loin roast, savory sides, and sweet desserts, then yeah, you’d be right. On the other hand, you can also order a box of food from Omaha Steaks for less than $40.

What you get from Omaha Steaks

Try a package of four 5-ounce top sirloin steaks (seasoning included). In other words, you get a fine meal for four people at $12.50 per person. And that, friends, is better pricing than you would find for dinner at most restaurants.

The fact is, until you get into the larger packages or the choicest cuts of meat (Filet mignon costs a lot of money, okay?), ordering food from Omaha Steaks isn’t all that much more expensive than getting it from the grocery store, and the selection and quality are better than what most supermarkets offer.

Omaha Steaks Ribeye

And ordering your steaks, pork chops, burgers, lobster tails, and all sorts of other meats and sides from this hundred-year-old company is a whole lot cheaper than dining at a steakhouse. With all the variety Omaha Steaks offers, from entrees and sides to desserts and even wine, it can easily become a one-stop online shop for most of your dinner-making needs.

What the food from Omaha Steaks is like

Insider Reviews contributor Steven John tried out a combo called The Best of Omaha Steaks ($60, temporarily sold out), which came with two four-ounce filet mignons, two four-ounce top sirloins, four pork chops, four jumbo franks, four apple tarts, and a seasoning packet for the meats.

He says, “One night, when my brother and his wife and kids were visiting, I cooked up all the steaks and chops, serving three adults (my wife is a vegetarian) and three kids (four were present, but being five months old, my daughter isn’t really eating steak yet). So six people ate, and I still had the hot dogs and tarts for another time. Assuming those would create the centerpiece of another meal for four, we’re talking about 10 servings of food for $60, or $6 a person. Not bad at all.”

Other members of the Insider Reviews team have tried a variety of meat, sides, and desserts from the company. We loved the taste, not to mention the excuse to indulge in dishes like bacon-wrapped sirloin, crispy steakhouse hash browns, and red velvet cake.

Some of the best deals on the site currently are the Stock-Up Packages and Free Shipping Combos, which will help you get all the protein and sides you need to feed your house for a while – all delivered straight to your door.

Convenience and prep

omaha steaks review

Beyond the value of ordering from Omaha Steaks, there’s plenty to be said for ease of prep.

Everything you get from Omaha Steaks comes carefully wrapped in vacuum-sealed plastic, making freezer storage simple and allowing you to choose the exact portions you want each time. On the back of each box, the company provides step-by-step preparation and cooking instructions, which helped Steven grill some of the best steaks he had cooked in months.

Standard shipping costs range from $17.99 to $21.99 depending on your cart total, and there are expedited shipping options available as well. Right now, you can expect your order to be delivered within eight to nine days with standard shipping.

The bottom line

If you don’t have access to a butcher shop, which will generally be the best place to get your meat locally, consider Omaha Steaks. And if you need a great gift idea for an uncle or your boss, a box of meat is always a fine option.

Shop all meat from Omaha Steaks here

Read the original article on Business Insider

We ordered from Omaha Steaks, and it’s a definite step up in quality from what your supermarket sells

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Omaha Steaks Lifestyle

  • Online food company Omaha Steaks has been in business since 1917 and ships out 4 million orders annually.
  • It sells meat and other foods for as little as $39.99 per bundle, and offers bulk packages to help you stock up.
  • Every cut of meat ships in its own vacuum-sealed package and comes with precise, easy-to-follow cooking instructions.

Filet Mignon Dinner (small)

You’ve heard of Omaha Steaks. It’s the mail order meat company that sent your boss some filet mignon as a thank you from his boss. Or maybe your uncle has been talking about it ever since he got that one box of steaks back in 1998. Or it’s possible that you saw it advertised in some in-flight magazine.

If you’re like many folks out there, you probably think the company sells quality meats but at prices that put their foods outside of your comfort zone. If you only focus on Omaha Steaks’ packages, like the $299 Butcher’s Backyard Basics or the $159 Build Your Own Holiday Feast complete with pork loin roast, savory sides, and sweet desserts, then yeah, you’d be right. On the other hand, you can also order a box of food from Omaha Steaks for less than $40.

What you get from Omaha Steaks

Try a package of four 5-ounce top sirloin steaks (seasoning included). In other words, you get a fine meal for four people at $12.50 per person. And that, friends, is better pricing than you would find for dinner at most restaurants.

The fact is, until you get into the larger packages or the choicest cuts of meat (Filet mignon costs a lot of money, okay?), ordering food from Omaha Steaks isn’t all that much more expensive than getting it from the grocery store, and the selection and quality are better than what most supermarkets offer.

Omaha Steaks Ribeye

And ordering your steaks, pork chops, burgers, lobster tails, and all sorts of other meats and sides from this hundred-year-old company is a whole lot cheaper than dining at a steakhouse. With all the variety Omaha Steaks offers, from entrees and sides to desserts and even wine, it can easily become a one-stop online shop for most of your dinner-making needs.

What the food from Omaha Steaks is like

Insider Reviews contributor Steven John tried out a combo called The Best of Omaha Steaks ($60, temporarily sold out), which came with two four-ounce filet mignons, two four-ounce top sirloins, four pork chops, four jumbo franks, four apple tarts, and a seasoning packet for the meats.

He says, “One night, when my brother and his wife and kids were visiting, I cooked up all the steaks and chops, serving three adults (my wife is a vegetarian) and three kids (four were present, but being five months old, my daughter isn’t really eating steak yet). So six people ate, and I still had the hot dogs and tarts for another time. Assuming those would create the centerpiece of another meal for four, we’re talking about 10 servings of food for $60, or $6 a person. Not bad at all.”

Other members of the Insider Reviews team have tried a variety of meat, sides, and desserts from the company. We loved the taste, not to mention the excuse to indulge in dishes like bacon-wrapped sirloin, crispy steakhouse hash browns, and red velvet cake.

Some of the best deals on the site currently are the Stock-Up Packages and Free Shipping Combos, which will help you get all the protein and sides you need to feed your house for a while – all delivered straight to your door.

Convenience and prep

omaha steaks review

Beyond the value of ordering from Omaha Steaks, there’s plenty to be said for ease of prep.

Everything you get from Omaha Steaks comes carefully wrapped in vacuum-sealed plastic, making freezer storage simple and allowing you to choose the exact portions you want each time. On the back of each box, the company provides step-by-step preparation and cooking instructions, which helped Steven grill some of the best steaks he had cooked in months.

Standard shipping costs range from $17.99 to $21.99 depending on your cart total, and there are expedited shipping options available as well. Right now, you can expect your order to be delivered within eight to nine days with standard shipping.

The bottom line

If you don’t have access to a butcher shop, which will generally be the best place to get your meat locally, consider Omaha Steaks. And if you need a great gift idea for an uncle or your boss, a box of meat is always a fine option.

Shop all meat from Omaha Steaks here

Read the original article on Business Insider

ReserveBar is an online store for luxury wine and spirits – I was impressed by its selection of top-shelf liquors and the shipping experience

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

reservebar

  • ReserveBar is an online luxury spirit and wine store that specializes in rare bottles, gift sets, and fine drinkware.
  • When it’s a special order – especially an engraving or a last-minute gift – ReserveBar is a go-to.
  • You’re not going to want to shop here for everyday beer or table wine, which you can buy at better prices elsewhere.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyBlanc De Blancs (small)

This content is intended for readers 21+. Please drink responsibly. If you or anyone you know is dealing with alcohol abuse, get help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) provides a free, confidential, 24/7, treatment referral, and information service.

ReserveBar is an online delivery platform offering everything from bottom- and middle-shelf wine and spirits to the very tippy-top (think Armand de Brignac Blanc de Blancs), all available in upscale gift packaging.

Thinking about gifting someone special an engraved bottle of Perrier Jouet Grand Brut? Well, why not toss in a pair of Waterford crystal Champagne flutes? A bottle of Jefferson’s Reserve small-batch bourbon? Why not get it engraved? Of course, no one is going to shame you for treating yourself, but that doesn’t mean you should forego the fancy glasses, bottle holders, and other add-ons.

What is ReserveBar?

ReserveBar can be a wonderful website for finding just the right top-shelf bottle or special gift, especially when it comes to Champagne, wine, liquor, custom engraving, barware bundles, and more.

What to buy from ReserveBar

If you’re seeking out a prodigious bottle of Champagne or Cognac for a special occasion – maybe Remy Martin Louis XIII) – ReserveBar has it. There’s also a whole category dedicated to rare and fine bottles.

Occasionally, you’ll find great promotions, either on shipping or credit when you buy a certain number of bottles at once. At the time of this update, you can get a $25 gift code if you spend $150 or more with the code “MARCH25“.

What to buy elsewhere

We generally won’t look to ReserveBar when restocking the bottom and middle shelves of our liquor cabinet or getting regular old beer or wine.

For example, a fifth of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey from ReserveBar is $34. That’s not a deal when Drizly’s price is around $25 (price varies depending on your location). It pays to shop for run-of-the-mill brands offered for less elsewhere, and the easiest option may be your local purveyor.

I went through the checkout process for a fifth of Tito’s Handmade Vodka at Wine.com (about $20) and Drizly (about $22) only to find the same bottle for $39 at ReserveBar. The above prices are all without taking into account sites’ shipping and handling charges, as well as taxes (which obviously vary from state to state).

So long as your local retailer isn’t marking up its prices too badly, you probably won’t pay much more than $30 for that same delivery from them, not to mention that it’ll likely arrive within the hour. Support your local retailers when and where you can, but also when and where it makes financial sense for you.

How to shop ReserveBar

reservebar

Before you start shopping, select which state you’d like to have your order shipped to in the top right section of the screen, just below “Customer Service” and to the left of “Corp Gifts.”

Then – and this might be our favorite part about ReserveBar – you can shop by category and subcategory based on everything from vintage to gift sets, limited offerings, and quality. This type of curation is smart and helpful; for example, under Scotch, the drop-down tab lets you choose between “luxury,” “single malt,” and “blended.”

If it’s in your budget, the “Rare and Exceptional” selection is worth a look and potential sip.

Before you order anything, scour the website and check the retailer’s Facebook page, which often posts deals you might not otherwise find.

We ordered from ReserveBar using a gift code on April 15 in the afternoon, and our box arrived on April 21 at midday, through economy or ground shipping. Everything was safe and sound thanks to empty cardboard inserts and bubble-wrap. I went for a couple of gift sets for upcoming occasions as well as one just for me: a bottle of Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blanc 2007, a bottle of Goslings Family Reserve Old Rum with a pair of Dartington glasses, and a bottle of Remy Martin XO, also with a pair of Remy Martin glasses. Prices were comparable elsewhere, and while some items were a few dollars more on ReserveBar, I felt it was worth it when my purchases arrived so elegantly packaged.

It’s important to know that some wines and spirits can’t be shipped to certain states – on the right side of every product page, you’ll find a list of places that a particular bottle can be shipped to. As with any alcohol delivery service, ReserveBar requires someone 21 or older to be present with a valid ID to accept the order.

Does ReserveBar have any deals?

Yes.

While a lot of ReserveBar’s offerings are available on other popular online liquor stores, ReserveBar stands out for its luxury packaging and gift sets, such as a Woodford Reserve’s gift set collab with Sugarfina, as well as its occasional but outstanding deals, like $21 off an Aviation Gin gift set.

Currently, you can get a $25 gift code if you spend $150 or more with the code “MARCH25“.

The bottom line

ReserveBar is the place to go when you want to give a personalized present, or something a little more special than a generic bottle of scotch or Bourdeaux with a nylon bow on it. It’s where you turn for custom engravings, fancy crystal and barware sets, gift baskets full of top-shelf liquors and luxury snacks, and so on. ReserveBar is not geared toward facilitating regular orders, and while you will find a selection of middle- and lower-shelf brands, it will do you well to compare prices before completing your purchase.

Shop premium spirits at ReserveBar

Read the original article on Business Insider

Vinebox is an affordable wine subscription that sends vials of wine instead of full-sized bottles – here’s how it works

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

best wine club 2021 Vinebox

  • Vinebox is a quarterly wine subscription that sends you nine “glasses” of the world’s best wines for $79.
  • But instead of full bottles, you’ll get vials that hold about a glass of wine each that’s perfect for sampling.
  • It can be a good way to try different high-end wines you would otherwise never be able to afford.

Quarterly Wine Subscription (9 glasses) (small)

Finding out which wines you like can feel more like an accident than any sort of comprehensive, efficient effort. My own history more honestly resembles stumbling around in the dark – and asking my local wine shop experts for blind personal recommendations.

 

It’s exactly this obscurity that makes intelligent wine subscription services like Vinebox so uniquely appealing. Vinebox is a service that sends subscribers nine of the best wines in the world to taste – by the glass – once every three months for $79. Each glass comes out to about $9, which is along the lines of what you’d pay at a nice restaurant. 

While you might be used to this concept when it comes to bottles, it makes sense why Vinebox would send by the glass; the high-end wine selection would cost the average person a small fortune (and probably some plane rides), and trying only by the glass is a really low-risk commitment that encourages you to expand your palette. You’re able to try a variety of really diverse, premium wines for a fraction of the cost required for full bottles, and you won’t be stuck with a wine you hate if you take a chance sampling something more adventurous. If you love one, you can buy your own bottle.

How Vinebox works

  1. Order your first box: You don’t need to take a quiz or sign up for an account first. Just visit this page to view this quarter’s box and decide if the wine assortment sounds interesting.
  2. Taste the wines: Vinebox will send you nine 10 cL vials of wine every quarter and each holds a full glass worth of vino. They come nicely packaged in a sturdy box and with a booklet full of information like tasting notes and how to pronounce the names of each wine. You’ll get to suss out your favorite kinds of wine, learn more about the regions in and processes by which they’re made, and get the most out of the luxury wines sent to you.
  3. Discover favorites: If you love one glass more than most, you can buy a full-sized bottle, or Vinebox will make suggestions for a similar wine. Members also receive credits to buy full-sized bottles so you can save while finding and stocking up on your favorite wines. Quarterly members receive $15 in credits while yearly members receive $30. The credits expire at the end of each quarter.

Vinebox book

What the wines are like

Of more than 11,000 fine wines tested by Vinebox, only about 1% make the cut into your box. They’re not the same as your local wine store options (even the really nice ones) – you won’t find anything mass-produced here. Though Vinebox handles the bottling and distribution, all the wine is imported from various winemakers and vineyards in Europe. 

Quarterly releases are said to be the best wine of the moment – from old vintage cellar releases hitting their “sweet spot” to those that mesh perfectly with current wine trends (which you are now, by virtue of this subscription, apparently on top of). They’re curated by the company’s wine director and sommelier for delivery every three months. 

The company uses a closed-nitrogen environment to prevent the wines from ever coming in contact with oxygen. The use of inert gas allows the wines to “maintain their complete bouquet, flavor profile, and mouthfeel” throughout the process. Once they’re encapsulated in the vials, the wines are good for up to three years – though you’ll want to pour yourself a glass much sooner than that.

Vinebox image

Price of Vinebox

For a quick look at the membership: 

Subscription price: $72 to $79

Subscription frequency: Every 3 months 

Shipping fee: Free 

A la carte shop: Yes 

Vinebox only has a quarterly subscription and each box is $79. Delivery is always free, and you can cancel at any time. You can sign up here.

If you’d like to gift Vinebox, you can either buy an individual box of wines here or sign up the recipient for a six-month or one-year subscription. These are non-renewable payments so no one is surprised or stuck with an unwanted membership. 

The six-month plan comes with two boxes of wine and $15 credit towards full-sized bottles per quarter, totaling $158, or $79 per box. The one-year plan comes with four boxes of wine and $30 credit towards full-sized bottles per quarter, totaling $288, or $72 per box.

If your Vinebox gift is for two people instead of one, you can double the plans and save 10% off your price. That means the six-month plan for two comes out to $284.40 total and the one-year plan for two comes out to $518.40 total.

Review of Vinebox 

Vinebox’s latest collection for fall is called Back to the Classics. It’s an ode to the “classic” wines of regions like Tuscany, Italy and Burgundy, France and contains four reds, four whites, and one rosé. 

All the wines in this particular edition are light- and medium-bodied, so if those are up your alley, you’ll love the box. I enjoyed trying and sipping on all the wines, especially because I tend to be a casual, low-commitment drinker. I hate opening an entire bottle knowing I won’t be able to finish it in one night (or even a few nights), so I really appreciated Vinebox’s unique design. It’s also convenient because all the bottles have screwtops – no bottle opener or corkscrew necessary.  

In particular, I liked the Le Gabier Blanc, a medium-bodied Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon blend with notes of apple and peach, which felt appropriate for the transition from summer to fall. Unfortunately, Vinebox didn’t have a full-sized bottle but it had a similar one – a Godello wine. This was slightly disappointing and I haven’t yet bought the full-sized alternative. It turns out Vinebox didn’t have any of the exact same wines as the samplers for the box I tried, so it might be best not to fall too head over heels for a particular bottle. 

Other than the quarterly seasonal offering, Vinebox brought back a holiday favorite: 12 Nights of Wine (currently sold out), a fun take on the traditional advent calendar. This limited-edition box contains 12 bottles and comes in one of three beautiful holiday-themed packaging. Each of the slots is labeled by number, letting you work through the collection one day at a time.

12 nights Vinebox

The bottom line

If you’re looking for an affordable way to try premium wines, or you just want to stop wasting time and get smarter about wine or your own preferences, Vinebox is worth checking out.

The wines are delicious, and the service is convenient. There’s very little chance you’d have the power, money, or time to first become an expert sommelier and then test thousands of wines to pair them down to the perfect quarterly litmus test for yourself. This way, you get to maintain your life the way it is and still get to try the best wines of a high variety so you can get into a new hobby, impress dates, or just have less trouble ordering in restaurants.

Quarterly Wine Subscription (9 glasses) (button)

Read the original article on Business Insider

18 places to buy alcohol online – from general online liquor stores to monthly wine delivery services

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

where to buy alcohol online 2

This content is intended for readers 21+. Please drink responsibly. If you or anyone you know is dealing with alcohol abuse, get help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) provides a free, confidential, 24/7, treatment referral, and information service.

For something that’s supposed to make your night more fun or relaxing, shopping for alcohol isn’t exactly easy. 

Even if you go into a liquor store knowing what type of alcohol you’re looking for, there are countless brands to consider. And, after you make your purchase, you have to keep those glass bottles safe and secure through a bumpy car ride (or worse – a long walk home). 

 

Luckily, online delivery services are making the ordeal of buying alcohol much more convenient and enjoyable, as they do for most things (see: buying mattresses, gourmet foods, and even large house plants). You won’t have to figure out how to lug five bottles of wine home or make a mad dash to the store 15 minutes before your virtual happy hour starts. 

Companies that sell alcohol online also help you discover new varieties. With the help of personalization algorithms, their recommendations are often scarily accurate. You’ll waste less time and money by taking advantage of these online guides. 

If you want to buy your alcohol online, we’ve rounded up our favorite retailers below and divided them into these categories:

  1. General online shop: For when you know exactly what you’re looking for
  2. Discovery-based: For when you’re not sure what you like
  3. Kits and mixers: For cocktail cravings

Most places have implemented contactless delivery and ID scanning, and the elimination of customer signatures to minimize contact with its delivery people, so be sure to pay attention to delivery methods.

Here are the 18 best places to buy alcohol online: 

General online shop: For when you know exactly what you’re looking for

alcohol delivery buy online

1. NakedWines.com

Indie purveyors are brought to the forefront at NakedWines.com, where “Angel” customers act as investors to support small winemakers around the world. To become an Angel, you deposit $40 to your account every month to spend at any time on more wine. This membership gives you access to exclusive wines, discounts (40%-60% off), and tasting events. 

Shop wine at NakedWines.com | Read our review of NakedWines.com


2. ReserveBar

ReserveBar is the perfect place to shop for yourself and pick up gifts because it offers premium brands like Johnnie Walker and Ciroc. It’s also where you’ll find cool limited-edition products such as the Game of Thrones collection and rare beauties like a $3,650 Louis XIII cognac. To make it shine on your bar cart, add a custom engraving to a spirit of your choice. 

Shop premium, limited-edition spirits, wine, and beer at ReserveBar [Spend $100 and get $20 off your next order with the code “BUYANDSAVE”]| Read our review of ReserveBar


3. Thrive Market

Thrive Market is a marketplace focusing on natural, non-toxic, and healthy brands, so its wine selection is narrowed down to varieties that are pesticide-free, have no added sugar, and are even biodynamic. They come in variety bundles or 6-bottle cases. 

Shop wine at Thrive Market | Read our review of Thrive Market


4. Drizly

Drizly has your alcohol needs covered by delivering whatever you’re in the mood for in under an hour. Search the exact liquor, wine, or beer you need on Drizly. The prices aren’t marked up, and the delivery fee is only $5. 

Shop spirits, wine, and beer at Drizly [Use the code “INSIDER5” at checkout to receive $5 off a purchase of $20 or more] 


5. Saucey

Saucey isn’t available in as many cities as Drizly, but it promises even faster delivery (30 minutes) and it’s free, with no minimum purchase required. Get your Bud Light alongside your Ballast Point, then pick up some snacks to pair with those icy cold beverages.

Shop spirits, wine, and beer at Saucey [Use the code “INSIDER10” at checkout to receive $10 off your first order]


6. Minibar

Minibar is available in more markets than Saucey and is great for people who want the option of in-store pickup or exclusive wines. Delivery fees can depend on your local store, but you’ll still get your order within the hour. 

Shop spirits, wine, and beer at Minibar | Read our comparison of the best on-demand alcohol delivery services


7. FreshDirect

FreshDirect offers the full grocery-shopping experience, with none of the inconveniences. The New York-based delivery service carries both local and name-brand alcohol and runs deals every week, just like your local grocery store. It has a whole section of organic wine, plus a category called Select Sips, which features wine and spirits sourced from around the world. 

Shop beer and wine and spirits at FreshDirect | Read our review of FreshDirect


8. Wine.com

It’s exactly what it sounds like. Wine.com is the world’s largest wine store, where you can shop wine from regions as different as Africa, China, and Greece. Though the options are vast, they become a little easier to navigate with a filtering system, professional ratings, and a recommendation engine. Become a member for $49 annually to receive free standard shipping with no minimum orders.  

Shop wine at Wine.com [Use the code “PSCASE10” to get 10% off 12 bottles or “DECNEW100” for $20 off orders $100+ for new customers] | Read our review of Wine.com

Discovery-based: For when you’re not sure what you like

where to buy alcohol online 8

1. Winc

California-based winery Winc, which was co-founded by sommelier Brian Smith, uses an online Palate Profile, along with your own ratings, to recommend and ship wines tailored to your tastes. The wines, which come from winemakers all over the world as well as Winc’s own vineyard, start at $13 a bottle. There’s no fee or commitment to join, and you can skip a month’s shipment any time you want. 

Discover wine at Winc [New members receive $20 off their first box] | Read our review of Winc 


2. Firstleaf

Note: Firstleaf is providing contact-less delivery by eliminating customer signatures.  

The barriers of entry to Firstleaf are low: it has a great introductory offer where you get your first six bottles for just $39.95, plus free shipping. Afterward, you’ll receive six bottles at a time, at a frequency convenient for you. The company prides itself on its custom algorithm that predicts which one of its many award-winning wine options you’ll like, and if you don’t like a bottle, you’ll get a refund. 

Discover wine at Firstleaf | Read our review of Firstleaf


3. Vinebox

Every three months, Vinebox sends you a box of nine glasses of wine packaged in individual vials. Vinebox’s unique bottling technology ensures they maintain their full flavor and mouthfeel as they make their way to your doorstep. Each quarter’s box contains seasonal varieties, wines you should be drinking right now, and other fun picks. With each box, you’ll also receive up to $30 in credits to buy the full-size versions. Vinebox also has holiday boxes in festive packaging (currently unavailable), which are great as gifts or a treat to yourself.

Discover wine at Vinebox | Read our review of Vinebox


4. Bright Cellars

Two MIT grads are behind the monthly wine club Bright Cellars, which sends four new wines each month for $80. The company has a competitive curation process — it says it only picks one out of every 12 wines it tries for the monthly collections and promises to show you hidden gems from vineyards in Italy, Spain, Portugal, and South America. 

Discover wine at Bright Cellars [New members receive $50 off their first box]


5. Tavour

The only drawback of loving craft beers is that you can’t always buy all the ones you want to try. Every day, Tavour gives you access to two beers you can’t normally get in your area (say, Anchorage Brewing’s IPA) and you claim the ones you want. It delivers to your door, so you get an international craft brewery tour without ever leaving your house. The experience also connects you to a community of fellow beer lovers. 

Discover beer at Tavour


6. Flaviar

Flaviar is a club for those who love fine spirits and have a desire to explore beyond the usual names (e.g. Jack Daniels, Johnnie Walker). With a membership, you get a complimentary full-size bottle, plus a Tasting Box every quarter, free distillery tours, and access to detailed bottle profiles. It prides itself on sharing rare and previously unattainable whiskey, rum, cognac, and more. 

Discover spirits at Flaviar

Kits and mixers: For cocktail cravings

alcohol delivery buy online 1

1. SaloonBox

Recipe cards, top-shelf spirits, and all the ingredients you need for two different cocktails are included in each month’s SaloonBox. It sends you only what you need to make the drinks, which means nothing ever goes to waste and you don’t have to search high and low for obscure ingredients. Each box is meant for two people, so pick your favorite person to try delicious cocktails like Blueberry Bourbon Collins and Kentucky Rosaritas. 

Shop cocktail kits at SaloonBox 


2. Shaker & Spoon

Shaker & Spoon doesn’t send you the liquor, but it will send you everything else — syrups, bitters, mixers, garnishes — to make 12 drinks. The three recipes in each box are designed and recommended by actual bartenders, who will be sad to miss you at the bar but understand the desire to simply stay in tonight. 

Shop cocktail kits at Shaker & Spoon [Use the code “FIRST5” to get $5 off your first order] 


3. Cocktail Courier

You don’t have to wait each month to shop for a variety of delicious cocktails at Cocktail Courier. They usually come in multiple serving sizes, so you can serve up drinks to your entire friend group, and come with the alcohol. The site also sells barware and party supplies.

Shop cocktail kits at Cocktail Courier


4. Mouth

For gourmet gifts like fancy chocolate, creatively flavored popcorn, and picnic-worthy charcuterie boards, we love shopping at Mouth. It’s also where you can shop the drinks to go along with these delicious snacks. The mixed drink kits, unfortunately, don’t contain the liquor. However, you’ll be more than happy with the artisanal mixers, seasonal specials, and quality barware offered by the site.  

Shop cocktail kits at Mouth

Read the original article on Business Insider

Take a look inside billionaire lawyer David Boies’ California ranch, which includes 6 houses, 4 lakes, and is up for sale for $23 million

Diamond B house
  • Superlawyer David Boies is selling his California ranch for $23 million.
  • Boies is one of this generation’s best known lawyers, and he has represented Al Gore, Harvey Weinstein, and some of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims.
  • The 1,183 acre property, known as Diamond B, contains five houses, extensive vineyards, and four lakes.
  • The ranch, vineyard, and equestrian facilities, located in the Lower Lake area, can be operated commercially, estate agent Red Oak Realty said in the listing.
  • Take a look inside.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Billionaire superlawyer David Boies, who has represented Al Gore, Harvey Weinstein, and some of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims, has listed his California ranch for $23 million.

Diamond B, as the property is known, contains five houses and extensive vineyards.

Located off the major wine corridor Highway 29 in the Lower Lake area, and two hours from San Francisco, the ranch spans about 1,183 acres and includes four lakes and a pool.

“It offers the ability to create an entirely off-the-grid, organic ecosystem employing the closed system biodynamic philosophy, and a rare opportunity to live safely and independently away from it all,” estate agent Red Oak Realty said in the listing.

The owners can “easily” operate the ranch, vineyard, and equestrian facilities commercially, it added, and there are potential locations to add a helicopter landing pad.

Boies is one of this generation’s best known lawyers. He represented Al Gore in the 2000 Bush v. Gore case, led the federal government’s antitrust case against Microsoft, and has fought for same-sex marriage rights. But he’s also represented some controversial clients, including Harvey Weinstein.

An investigation this year by Insider spoke to more than 50 people about a massive shakeup at his elite law firm Boies Schiller that saw more than 30 members of staff leave the company.

Their investigation uncovered pay rifts, a partner divide, and a threat at the Ritz Carlton.

Read more: Elite law firm Boies Schiller just named 3 new managing partners, including lawyers who have represented Epstein accusers and Hunter Biden’s business partner

Diamond B spans around 1,183 acres in total …

Diamond B view

… including five houses.

Diamond B ranch

The main property is a traditional three-story log cabin.

Diamond B house

The interior is spacious …

Diamond B  interior

… and it has five bedrooms and five bathrooms.

Diamond B bedroom

Between the five properties, the ranch has 12 bedrooms.

Across the main property and four additional ranch homes, there is plenty of space to host and entertain guests.

Diamond B  lounge

The properties have stunning views across the ranch, too.

Diamond B balcony

The property is dominated by 18 acres of vineyards, and has permission to extend this to 58.

Diamond B wine

The ranch currently is home to 15 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, and one each of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Sirah.

The site also includes an equestrian center with both indoor and outdoor riding facilities.

Diamond B house stables

The property has a covered 14-stall, cedar-lined mare barn and a covered indoor arena with stadium seating.

The site offers “everything a horse lover needs, plus the opportunity to host equestrian events and horse breeding operations,” Red Oak Realty said in the listing.

As well as horses, there’s plenty of space for cattle. The ranch currently has more than 30 Highland cattle.

Diamond B cattle

The property and its surrounding area is also full of wild turkey, boar, quail, vultures, hawks, deer, coyote, and mountain lions and bears, Red Oak Realty says.

The property also includes four lakes.

Diamond B lake

These are well stocked with catfish, black bass, minnows, and red ear sunfish, according to Red Oak Realty.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The ultimate guide to the best Champagne and other sparkling wines for any budget

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

Champagne Toast (4x3)

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Champagne is sparkling wine from a specific region in France and tends to start around $40. 
  • Alternatively, you can find other great sparkling wine for less than the cost of Champagne. 
  • Champagne-style wines from the United States are also terrific options.
  • There are sparkling wines to fit almost every occasion, taste, and budget.

This content is intended for readers 21+. Please drink responsibly. If you or anyone you know is dealing with alcohol abuse, get help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) provides a free, confidential, 24/7, treatment referral, and information service.

Champagne is often the drink of choice for celebratory events, due to its high price and status as a luxury item. And while a glass of the best bubbly is something special, it’s cost prohibitive for most people if they’re looking for something casual, say, to pair with dinner. But there are misconceptions about what Champagne is and isn’t, and you don’t actually need to spend a lot in order to make a toast.

Firstly, Champagne is just one type of sparkling wine, which comes from its namesake region in France. It’s aged in individual bottles, and many enthusiasts prize the limestone soil where the grapes are grown. Because of the region’s rules and prestige, bottles of sparkling wine labeled Champagne are generally more expensive than those from other places.

But sparkling wine comprises more than Champagne. You can find excellent options originating from different parts of the world – including Prosecco from Italy and Cava from Spain, to name two popular sparkling wines. There are even quality Champagne-style wines from California, made in the traditional method. And, these tend to be much more accessible and affordable than Champagne. 

While sparkling wine is often thought of as golden in color, there are some that are red, like Lambrusco, or pink, like rosé. We focused on sparkling wines made from grapes, so you won’t see a sparkling sake, for example.

For our guide, we recommend a variety of options at various prices, based on consultations with wine experts and our research. Because you can ask several experts for their suggestions and see no overlap – which is what we did – we took into account that taste is very subjective, and that’s why there is no single winner. 

The market is also tricky: You can find certain brands everywhere, while smaller producers tend to distribute in limited areas. That doesn’t mean one is better than the other, but we tried to factor in availability with our choices.

With the holiday season upon us, many of these options may be sold out or low on stock – call your local wine shop for availability.

Updated on 12/18/2020. We expanded this guide with additional options, consultation with wine experts, and extensive information on what to look for when purchasing. 

Cheat sheet to picking a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine

Shopper buying Champagne

Short on time? If you need a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine now, here are our recommendations if you can’t explore our entire guide.

The best Champagne

The best Champagnes under $65

The selection of Champagne at your grocery store will mostly consist of big-name makers, with prices starting around $40. To be called Champagne, the wine must be made in a specific region of France. While perhaps not priced for most people’s weekly wine budget, you can still find many champagnes that come out to around $10 a glass. 

“We try to kind of really combat this stigma of Champagne being celebratory and kind of pretentious,” said Ariel Arce, owner of Air’s Champagne Parlor in New York City.

Most of the choices at these prices will be non-vintage, meaning winemakers may mix different varietals or grapes to ensure their signature wines taste the same, year after year. These are perfect for drinking right off the shelf for an impromptu celebration. 

What our experts particularly like

The specialists we consulted recommend Agrapart & Fils Les 7 Crus Brut NV, Chartogne-Taillet Sainte Anne Brut, Cheurlin Brut Spéciale, and Marie Courtin Résonance Extra-Brut. “There’s almost nothing better than grower’s Champagne,” Chevonne Ball, owner of wine-focused travel company Dirty Radish, said about the Chartogne-Taillet. “Crisp and elegant, this true Champagne is worth the price.”

“For those seeking the crème de la crème of the sparkling world, I always have some grower Champagnes in stock, like Laherte Frères,” said Laura Marchetti, owner of Riverview Wines & Spirits

The wines

  • Agrapart & Fils Les 7 Crus Brut NV ($55): A non-vintage Champagne that’s made from 90% chardonnay and 10% pinot noir grapes. Notes: brioche, yeast.
  • Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve NV ($67): Forty percent of this wine is from the reserve selection, which are wines aged an average of 10 years. Charles Heidsieck was one of the first Champagnes imported to the US in the 19th Century. Notes: brioche, apple.
  • Chartogne-Taillet Sainte Anne Brut ($49): Made from 50% chardonnay and the rest a mix of black grapes, mainly pinot noir, this non-vintage Champagne is a split of the previous year’s wine and wines that were aged two to five years. Notes: apple, citrus.
  • Cheurlin Brut Spéciale ($40) This non-vintage Champagne, 70% chardonnay and 30% pinot noir, is from a historic house and is imported to the US by former Detroit Piston Isaiah Thomas. Notes: bread, citrus.
  • Henriot Brut Souverain NV ($45): With 30% of the Brut Souverain coming from reserve wines and an almost equal amount of chardonnay and pinot noir grapes, this Champagne is very consistent from bottle to bottle. Notes: apple, mineral.
  • Laherte Frères Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature NV ($50 to $60): This chardonnay grape Champagne is made from 50% reserve wines from previous years. Notes: mineral, lemon.
  • Marie Courtin Résonance Extra-Brut ($65): This wine is made from pinot noir grapes. Owner Dominique Moreau makes zero-dosage Champagne, aged in the bottle for about two years. Notes: tart, yeasty.
  • Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut ($45): This Champagne, made with pinot noir, pinot meunier, and chardonnay grapes, should be easy to find in practically any grocery or liquor store. Notes: citrus, apple.

The best Champagnes under $150

As you go closer to the over-$100 price point, you’ll start seeing more vintage wines. The grapes for vintages all come from the same year, and the wines are aged longer than non-vintages. Leaving a bottle to sit for three years takes up space, which costs money. There are also constraints on how much is grown in Champagne, France. 

“It’s a small area of land, so they can only produce so much,” said Crystal Hinds, who owns Effervescence, a sparkling wine lounge in New Orleans. “You’re paying for the taste of that terroir, which is usually very limestone.”

At under $150, you’ll also see some cuvées, which is a term winemakers use to designate their very special blends. But there’s no real regulation of the term, so its appearance on a label doesn’t ensure quality. 

The wines


The best Champagnes over $150

For most people, drinking a glass of Champagne from a bottle that costs upwards of $150 is a once-in-a-lifetime — if ever — event. As prices climb, there will be more vintages. Prized wines are made with more care and are aged longer, so they come in smaller batches. Rarity increases the price. 

Producers also make bottles that are meant to be stored before they’re savored. That’s not true of every expensive Champagne, but if you’re spending a lot, you’ll want to ensure you’re drinking it at the best time. To see just how out-of-control prices can get, check out some of the world’s most expensive Champagnes

The wines

The best Prosecco

The best Prosecco under $20

Most Prosecco comes from Italy and is aged in tanks, unlike Champagne, which ages in bottles. “Prosecco is usually super easy to drink,” Hinds said. “It’s not super complex — doesn’t have a lot of different flavors that linger.” 

It’s very easy to find a nice bottle of Prosecco for under $20, which makes it attractive for a lot of people. “If I’m being honest, people are buying for cost,” said Ball of Dirty Radish. “But I would say that people who like Prosecco probably really like a little bit softer of a bubble,” she added. 

What our experts particularly like

Ball is a fan of Loredan Gasparini’s Prosecco. “Inexpensive and available at most grocery stores, this is one of my favorite brunch sparkling wines,” she said. “Delicious on its own or great as a mimosa. I suggest fresh-squeezed citrus!” 

The wines


The best Prosecco over $20

A few years ago, the Prosecco industry was having issues with counterfeit sparkling wine. To try and combat the problem, it created two classifications, Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) and Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG). Both require following strict regulations, but DOCG is more stringent. Not all Prosecco — even some nice ones — will have these marks, but they can help guide your selection-making if you’re feeling a little lost and want a marker of quality. Keep in mind that taste is subjective and it doesn’t guarantee it will be to your liking, though. 

The wines

The best Cava

The best Cava under $20

Penedès, a region of Catalonia, Spain, is known for its sparkling wine called Cava. Compared to Prosecco, Cava is made more similarly to Champagne — aged in bottles. The grapes are very different, though, with many wines being made from a mix of macabeo, parellada, and xarel·lo grapes. There’s a lot of variety when it comes to Cava, including vintages and rosés.  

Like Prosecco, it is much more affordable than Champagne. But just because you can pick up a bottle for $10, it doesn’t mean you need to hold your nose and drink. While inexpensive Cavas do make great choices for mimosas or bellinis, you can also enjoy them in their own right. 

What our experts particularly like

“[The Naveran Dama Brut] has one of the most delicate mousses and mouthfeel,” Ball said. “The bubbles fill your palate with delicious aromas.” Marchetti of Riverview Wines & Spirits recommends the line of Azimut wines from Cellers de Can Suriol “for a classic, traditional palate at an affordable price.”

The wines


The best Cava over $20

When is a Cava not a Cava? When the winemaker doesn’t want it to be called that. Some producers wanted to designate what they see as their wines’ quality, so they’ve begun labeling their bottles with Corpinnat instead of Cava. Raventós i Blanc, meanwhile, uses its own designation for its sparkling wines, Conca del Riu Anoia. 

This doesn’t mean everything still labeled Cava is bad. Corpinnat producers make up only a small percentage of winemakers in the region, so there’s still plenty of Cava to go around. 

The wines

The best sparkling wine

While all of the wines mentioned in this guide are, technically, sparkling wines, the ones mentioned here focus on wines mostly from the United States. 

The best sparkling wine under $25

There are sparkling winemakers all across the United States, all using different methods and grape varieties with unique results. Not only can you find terrific options, stateside products are often budget-friendly too.

“Sparkling wines coming out of Oregon or California are always going to be vastly different than any of the others, because we’re so young and so new,” said Ball of Dirty Radish. 

“There’s very cool stuff happening all around the country in sparkling wine,” Arce said. The problem is, it can be difficult to find Michigan’s Mawby wines or sparkling wines from New York’s Finger Lakes outside of certain areas. You might have a local winery making a sparkling wine that you fall in love with, so they’re worth exploring in addition to some of the more widely distributed brands.

Besides US wineries, there are nice options from other winemaking regions such as Australia and New Zealand. For a bit of prestige, Mumm Napa is an affordable sparkling wine made in the traditional style of its parent company, G.H. Mumm of France.

What our experts particularly like

The recommendations for Gruet Sauvage Blanc de Blancs and McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Sparkling Brut come from our panel. Sunshine Foss, who owns Happy Cork in Brooklyn, New York, says the McBride Sisters’ wine has been popular in her shop because of the name, “but it’s also a really, really good sparkling Brut.”

The wines


The best sparkling wine over $25

It’s not just US winemakers that have vineyards in California. Some big Champagne houses, like Taittinger Champagne and Louis Roederer, have land in the state. That’s why wines from Roederer Estate, for example, are lower than a typical Champagne. Larger producers will often stick to more traditional methods and grapes, while smaller producers might experiment more. Caraccioli Cellars, for example, is a smaller, family-run vineyard in California.

“The big differences between a big house and a small house (a big producer and a small producer) is how they’re handling the wine,” Ball said. Smaller operations often lack machinery, so they hand turn or hand riddle the bottles. That’s one reason it took some US winemakers a while to get into sparkling wine, she said: “It takes a lot of work.”

You can find sparkling wines from the United States that cost over $100, for bottles producers have taken extra time and attention with or that come from a particular vintage. There are many quality wines for closer to $50, though. 

What our experts particularly like

“Corollary Wines is the husband and wife duo Dan and Jeanne’s passion project,” Ball said. The Cuvée One is a mix of grapes from five Oregon vineyards, grown in different soils and climates, and that interest in the varying terroirs of the state comes through in the wine, she said. 

The wines


The best sparkling wine in a can

Sometimes you want a glass of bubbles without the glass part, and that’s where sparkling wine cans come in. Over the past several years, more and more winemakers have started making more portable versions of their products. You won’t find Champagne in a can, but you can still get some great bubbles for on-the-go — or at home. 

The wines

The best Crémant

Crémants are sparkling wines from eight regions in France — including Loire, Alsace, and Burgundy — and one in Luxembourg. They’re made in a similar style as Champagne but are just a fraction of the cost. Some are made with grapes you won’t find in Champagne. There’s not an easy way to describe the taste, because there’s a lot of variety. 

The prices of many of these sparkling wines are much, much lower than Champagne. “I feel like you can find great value,” Ball said. 

The wines

The best sparkling rosé

The best sparkling rosé under $20

There are several ways to make rosé sparkling, and it’s going to taste different depending on many factors. Despite its pretty color, rosé doesn’t have to be sweet. As with Champagne, you’ll find bottles labeled Brut to be on the drier side. 

“I think a lot of people think that rosé is maybe something that’s going to be sweeter or more fruit-forward, which that category, again, has so many variations within it,” said Arce of Air’s Champagne Parlor. 

For under $20, you won’t find pink-hued Champagne, but there are lots of Cavas and other sparkling rosés from around the world (including other parts of France) at that price. 

What our experts particularly like

The experts we spoke to mentioned Landmass Papi Sparkling Rosé, Lve Rosé by John Legend, and Rivarose Brut Rosé as some of their go-to rosés. “It’s really delicate,” said Effervescence’s Hinds of the Rivarose. “It’s not overly sparkling.” She also said the modern-looking bottle makes it perfect for gifting. 

The wines

  • Campo Viejo Cava Gran Brut Rosé ($11): Made from 100% trepat grapes, the rosé was aged in the bottle for nine months. Notes: strawberry, citrus.
  • Graham Beck NV Brut Rosé ($15): This rosé from South African winery Graham Beck, a mix of pinot noir and chardonnay, undergoes its second fermentation in the bottle. Notes: raspberry, apple.
  • Landmass Papi Sparkling Rosé ($15): From the Willamette Valley in Oregon, this sparkling rosé is made from tempranillo grapes. Notes: apple, strawberry.
  • Lve Rosé by John Legend ($17): John Legend’s Lve rosé is made in the Charmat Method, like Prosecco, from mostly unspecified white grapes, along with some pinot noir and grenache grapes. Notes: strawberry, mineral.
  • Mas Fi Cava Brut Rosé ($12 to $14): This Spanish Cava is made from trepat grapes and is aged for 11 months in the bottle. Notes: cherry, strawberry.
  • Raventós i Blanc de Nit Rose 2017 ($22 to $27): A sparkling wine from the Penedès region of Spain, it’s made from xarel·lo, macabeo, and parellada, as well as monastrell, which gives the wine its color. Notes: floral, strawberry.
  • Rivarose Brut Rosé ($12 to $15): A rosé from the Provence region of France, Rivarose’s sparkling wine is a blend of syrah and grenache grapes. Notes: strawberry, pear.
  • Segura Viudas Cava Brut Rosé ($10): Segura Viudas’ affordable and ubiquitous Cava was made from mostly trepat grapes. Notes: strawberry, raspberry.

The best sparkling rosé under $50

Closer to $50, you can start to find rosé Champagne, but the majority of sparkling wines under that price are from other regions. There are many rosé Crémants from France that are around $25, but you can also get bottles from Italy, the US, and elsewhere for a similar price. 

What our experts particularly like

“I would definitely hold [the Domaine Franck Besson Rosé Granit] up against any of the other sort of higher-end wines that you would find out of Champagne,” said Ball of Dirty Radish. Hinds recommends the Murgo Nerello Mascalese. “You can smell the smoke on the nose of that wine,” she said. “It’s a beautiful light pink and it’s just so delicate and delicious.” 

The wines


The best sparkling rosé over $50

Just like other Champagnes, you can find bottles of rosé that cost hundreds of dollars, including Krug and Dom Perignon. Vintages and some cuvées will cost more, because winemakers take more care with them, and some of them are aged for longer. For under $100, there are lots of delicious choices from Champagne, as well as many sparkling rosés from elsewhere. 

The wines

The best pét-nat

Pétillant-naturel (pét-nat) wines are bottled while still undergoing their first fermentation. Some winemakers leave the yeast in the bottle, so the final product will be cloudy, with sediment on the bottom. “Pét-nats have become super-big right now, because it’s on the sparkling side but it’s done in such a natural way,” said Sunshine Foss of Happy Cork. 

The results tend to be less predictable than something like a cuveé, which is reliably blended from known reserves. “A lot of wine geeks love that funky taste, like strawberry cola,” said Crystal Hinds. “Some taste like sour beers.” 

What our experts particularly like

Hinds recommends both the Kobal Wines rosé and the Les Tètes Nat Igny Rusé ($29): “It’s just so beautiful and delicate,” she said of the Les Tètes’ wine. “You can hardly tell that it’s a pét-nat.” 

“Being Italian I’ll always have a few Prosecco Col Fondo — the Italian version of pét-nat,” said Marchetti of Riverside Wine & Spirits. “Those are old-school, unfiltered Prosecco.” She suggests offerings from Carolina Gatti and the Col Tamarie, as well as Rodica’s sparkling malvasia from Slovenia.

The wines

What is Champagne and sparkling wine?

With a few exceptions, Champagne is sparkling wine that comes from Champagne, France. The Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) oversees production and enforces the strict regulations that govern virtually every aspect of the process.

“When you’re paying for Champagne, you’re paying for some of the techniques that are used,” said Crystal Hinds, owner of Effervescence. “They can only pick at a certain time. They can only pick so much per hectare.”

If you pick up a bottle, and it has the word “Champagne” on it, the wine is almost certainly from this region and was made in accordance with the rules. “California Champagne” is quite different and is essentially the product of a loophole.  

Cava, Prosecco, and other sparkling wines are made from a variety of methods, with different grapes, and in different regions and countries. Consider this glossary a crash course in Champagne 101.  

Assemblage: The process of blending wines from different vineyards, grapes, and years. You might see the assemblage listed as a percentage of each type of grape. 

Blanc de Blancs: It means “white of whites,” so these wines are made from all-white grapes; in the Champagne region, this usually means 100% chardonnay. 

Blanc de Noirs: Noir is French for black, and only red grapes go into these wines, but the resulting wine is still a pale golden color, because it uses the juice and not the skin, which is where the reddish color comes from. 

Brut: In the traditional method, Champagne goes through two fermentations. After the second, winemakers add sugar, which is known as “dosage.” Drier, less sweet sparkling wines will have the word “brut” on the label. Here’s the scale, from driest to sweetest:

  1. Brut Nature 2. Extra brut 3. Brut 4. Extra dry or extra sec 5. Dry or sec 6. Demi-sec 7. Doux 

Brut Nature: The driest of the dry, brut nature has no added sugar. It may contain some leftover sugar, up to three grams per liter. 

Cava: Cava is sparkling wine from Spain. However, not all sparkling wine from the country is labeled as such. Compared to Prosecco, Cava is more similar to Champagne. Winemakers mainly use three varieties of white grapes to make Cava: macabeo, parellada, and xarel·lo. 

Champagne, France: This region is in the northeast of the country, about 90 miles from Paris.  

Cru: Traditionally, Champagne houses purchased their grapes from growers. There are 319 crus, which are also known as villages or vineyards, in the region. There are some grower-producers that use their own grapes, and so you won’t find these designations on some very good bottles of wine. 

Crémant: Crémants are sparkling wines from France but made outside of the Champagne region. “Crémant is a really great way to go if you’re looking for a good glass of sparkling wine, but without the cost of the Champagne tag, if you will,” said Chevonne Ball of Dirty Radish.

Cuveé: In Champagne-making, the first pressing is considered the best, and it’s known as the cuvée. Subsequent pressings are the taille. Some winemakers also call their special blends cuvées, but there’s no guarantee that something labeled with that word will be spectacular.   

Disgorgement: During riddling, the yeast sediment collects in the neck of the bottle. To get it out, winemakers submerge the neck into a freezing solution. Then they turn the bottles right-side up, take off the cap, and the carbon dioxide inside pushes the frozen chunk of sediment out. 

Fermentation: For the second fermentation — which gives the wine its bubbles — producers add the liqueur de tirage, a solution of sugar and yeast. Champagne and Cava undergo this second fermentation in individual bottles. For Prosecco, it happens in a tank, so it’s a much less labor-intensive process. 

Grapes: Some types of sparkling wine use a limited amount of grape varieties. Champagne is most often made from chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier grapes. Cava are mainly macabeo, parellada, and xarel·lo grapes. Glera grapes are typically used for Prosecco. 

Lees: After the second fermentation — once the yeast has consumed all the sugar and died — the wine isn’t quite ready. Champagne stays in the bottle for at least 15 months before it’s released. Non-vintage cuvées stay in the bottle with the lees, or dead yeast deposits, for at least 12 months. Vintage cuvées must rest on the lees for three years, minimum. 

Liqueur de tirage: The mix of sugar, yeast, and sometimes a bit of wine that producers add to non-sparkling base wine to start the second fermentation. The yeast consumes the sugar, creating carbon dioxide and alcohol.   

Méthode Traditionnelle: The traditional method of making Champagne, where the second fermentation takes place inside an individual bottle. Many sparkling wines outside of Champagne are made in this way.       

Non-Vintage: The vast majority of Champagne is non-vintage. It’s not about how long the wine was aged. Rather, it means that the wine is a blend of different vintages or types of grapes, or it comes from grapes in different vineyards. Using a mix allows winemakers to create a more consistent wine. 

Prosecco: Prosecco is made in Northeast Italy, primarily using glera grapes. Unlike Champagne, Prosecco is made with the Charmat Method. Instead of the second fermentation taking place in individual bottles, it happens in a tank, in larger batches. The method is faster and less expensive, so the resulting wine costs less than Champagne. 

Pét-nat: Short for pétillant naturel, this style of sparkling wine has grown in popularity over the past several years. Non-sparkling wine undergoes a single fermentation when yeast transforms sugar into alcohol. The CO2 is released, so the wine is still instead of bubbly. With pét-nats, winemakers bottle up the wine during this first fermentation, retaining some of the CO2. 

Riddling: To get the yeast sediment into the neck of the bottle, winemakers slowly tip the bottle so the bottom is up. It can take a week or months, depending on the quality (and eventual price) of the wine.  

Rosé: There are a few ways to make sparkling rosé or rosé champagne. Winemakers may add still (unsparkling) red wine to give some color or they may “bleed” juice from tanks of macerating grapes that will be used for red wine. Even when it’s described with words like fruity, rosé can still be dry. 

Sec: On the scale from driest to sweetest, Sec is on the sweeter side, while brut has less sugar.

Sparkling wine: Champagne, Cava, and Prosecco are all sparkling wines. They all have bubbles. You can find sparkling wines from practically anywhere. They may be made with different methods and different grapes, which is why they are priced and taste differently. 

Terroir: When people discuss terroir, they mean the climate, soil, grape varieties, landscape, and other factors that make wines distinct. 

Vintage: Vintage wines come from grapes harvested in a single year. That year will be on the label, so it’s easy to tell vintages and non-vintages apart. These are the wines people buy and store in cellars. Non-vintages are meant to be drunk right off the shelf.

Advice from our experts

Champagne and wine experts Sunshine Foss, Ariel Arce, Chevonne Ball, Crystal Hinds
For our guide, we consulted four experts (from left to right): Sunshine Foss, Ariel Arce, Chevonne Ball, Crystal Hinds, and Laura Marchetti (not shown).

To help us narrow down some selections of Champagne and sparkling wines, we spoke with five experts and got advice and recommendations for choosing what to drink. 

  • Drink what you like: “Prior to even this new wave of making wine more accessible, people thought, ‘Okay, well you have to have this vocabulary to be able to speak to the wine and understand the wine.’ For me it’s just really about how it tastes and what I like to drink,” said Sunshine Foss, owner of Happy Cork in Brooklyn, New York. 
  • Sometimes, smaller is better: “I don’t think like you have to go to that $150 splurge point to find a good bottle of Champagne,” said Ariel Arce, who’s been called the “Champagne Empress of Greenwich Village” by the New York Times. For $65 to $80, she said you can get a nice bottle from a smaller producer, who both grows the grapes and makes the wine. She owns Air’s Champagne Parlor in New York City and recently published “Better with Bubbles: An Effervescent Education in Champagnes & Sparkling Wines.”
  • Taste a lot: “There’s not really a way to learn about wine other than to try it and to taste it,” said Chevonne Ball, who owns Dirty Radish, a travel company that specializes in wine tours. 
  • Look outside of Champagne, and France: “That’s one of the fun things that we do, is look for these different sparkling wines from different countries and give it a try,” said Crystal Hinds, who owns Effervescence, a sparkling wine lounge in New Orleans, Louisiana. 
  • Try to be a little extroverted: “If visiting a boutique wine shop, I’d ask what the staff is drinking right now,” said Laura Marchetti, owner of Riverview Wine & Spirits in Jersey City, New Jersey. “Ask what’s new and exciting and what wines their go-to wines are. Once you get the staff pumped up, it’s often hard to get them to stop working for you.” She knows this can be intimidating for some, but she adds that she’s an introvert as well.

How to choose what Champagne or sparkling wine to buy

woman shopping in a wine shop

To gather our lists of recommendations, we consulted our panel of experts and looked at expert lists of best Champagnes, sparkling wines, Cavas, Proseccos, Crémants, and more from Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Food and Wine, Decanter, Wine Folly, The New York Times, and The Chicago Tribune. If you feel overwhelmed in the store or while searching online, here are some things to keep in mind. 

  • Start with the price: If you must have Champagne from France, the cheapest bottle is going to cost around $40. Sunshine Foss, who owns Happy Cork in Brooklyn, said she thinks people should also be flexible on price. “You might come in saying, ‘Okay, I’m going to spend $50 on a bottle,’ but you might get two or three bottles for that price that are all going to be amazing,” she said.
  • Buy by brand: If you definitely, definitely want to buy Champagne but are still stumped, you can look at some well-known brands and feel confident about what you’re getting. “It’s not my first recommendation, but I do think there are certain brands that make an incredibly consistent and quality product,” said Arce, owner of Air’s Champagne Parlor. She recommends Charles Heidsieck, Bollinger, Philipponnat, Henriot, and Delamotte. “Those are five really beautiful houses, all of which are going to have their non-vintage Brut at an affordable price point,” she said.  
  • Look outside Champagne: There’s Cava from Spain or Prosecco from Italy, but South Africa, England, Brazil, Australia, and lots of other countries are also in the sparkling wine business. “You’re going to be tasting different grapes, like a malbec or like a blaufränkisch, grapes you’ve never even heard of, something different than the chardonnay and pinot noir and pinot meunier,” said Crystal Hinds, who owns Effervescence. “You won’t compare them as much to Champagne if you’re tasting a totally different grape.” 
  • Don’t expect all sparkling wine to taste like Champagne: “There’s nothing worse, in my opinion, than sparkling wines that are trying to compete with a region that’s been making wine for hundreds of years,” Arce said. “I think American sparkling is more fun when it’s made in its own way, with its own unique grapes.” Compared to France, Oregon, California, and other states are newer to making sparkling wine. “It’s different soil. It’s different terroir,” said Ball, who owns Dirty Radish. “It’s different grapes, and the rules are different. So we have a lot more freedom here because we have less of the regulations than they do in something like France.”
  • But if you do want something similar to Champagne: There are plenty of winemakers that use Champagne-style methods outside of the region. They’ll label their bottles with méthode Champenoise or méthode traditionnelle. They’ll also use the same grapes: chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier. “I really liked the wine from Caraccioli Cellars, if you’re looking for something to be similar to champagne,” said Arce.

What are vegan, organic, biodynamic, and natural wines?

Champagne bottling process at winery
  • While you might assume all wines are vegan, some winemakers clarify their wines with egg whites, gelatin, or other animal products. Wines labeled vegan will instead use clay or charcoal for this process. 
  • US organic wines, certified by the USDA, are made without synthetic fertilizers, and the yeast and other additives must all be organic. If a US wine is labeled “made with organic grapes,” then the yeast and additives might not be organic. The European Union follows similar guidelines for its organic wines, but it might contain more sulfites. Other countries may have different practices. 
  • Biodynamic winemakers follow many organic practices, but their wines may contain more sulfites. They also follow a strict calendar, when certain tasks like pruning or watering take place. 
  • Natural wines are low-intervention, so the producers don’t add yeast or sulfites. These are often made in smaller batches.

What’s your palate? A crash course on tasting notes

Probably one of the most difficult ways for newcomers to wine is figuring out what they do and don’t like based on taste. After a few tries, they might realize whether they’re fans of dry or sweet, but it can be hard to distinguish apple or citrus notes, then articulate what it is that’s appealing or off-putting. “Sometimes, people don’t even know what their palate is,” said Sunshine Foss of Happy Cork. Some will assume dry means bitter, for example. “They’ll tell me, ‘Oh, I don’t want a dry wine, but then they’ll point to something that they’ve already had, and it’s like one of the driest wines,” she said. Brut wines will be on the drier side, while dry, sec, and doux will be sweeter.

“I’ll ask about style and price point, if it’s for just sipping or also meant to go with food,” said Laura Marchetti, who owns Riverview Wine & Spirits. “However, usually the key is to engage with the person, to get them to do the talking in their own language and then for us to decipher from there.”

“A lot of times, you break down people’s first experiences by asking them just simple questions,  like, “Do you like something a little bit fresher and brighter or something with more fruits?'” said Ariel Arce, owner of Air’s Champagne Parlor. “And then if you liked something on the lighter end, ‘Can we dabble into flavors of berries, apples, and pears? Do we like minerals and lemon zest?” 

All those questions will help a professional track down something you’ll love, but you can start by paying attention to what you like when there’s a bottle actually open in front of you. “You’re on your phone all the time throughout dinner, so why not take a quick note, take a quick photo of that wine?” said Chevonne Ball, owner of Dirty Radish. 

If there’s something you can pinpoint about what you like, that will be helpful for the next time you go into a wine shop, but it’s not necessary. “It doesn’t have to be very specific,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be lemon zest and lavender fields and blah, blah, blah.” 

The more you taste sparkling wine, the better you’ll be at distinguishing what you like. It’s the only way to learn, said Ball: “You don’t know that you like your burgers medium rare until you’ve had a medium-rare burger.”

What should I eat with Champagne?

Champagne at dinner table

Champagne and sparkling wine has long been associated with celebrations. That means people often think the meal they eat with their wine needs to be special, too. That’s not the case, according to Chevonne Ball and Crystal Hinds.

“I dare you to find one thing that doesn’t go with Champagne,” Ball said. “You can’t — it goes with everything.” 

Hinds agrees. Unlike red or white wines that pair well with select foods, “everything goes with sparkling wine,” she said. “You can go through your entire meal with sparkling wine.” But you can also open a bag of potato chips. At her sparkling wine lounge, Effervescence, Hinds takes housemade chips and pairs them crème-fraîche, chives, and caviar. The bar also serves popcorn with nutritional yeast, paprika, and olive oil. “Even plain popcorn with a little salt and butter is delicious with bubbles,” she said. 

Hinds also recommends pairing sparkling wine with fried foods. “The acid in the bubbles cut through the grease and the fried tastes and the fat, and it goes beautifully with the fried chicken,” she said. “I would have a glass of something with a big plate of onion rings and be just fine.”

Hinds gave a few suggestions for wine and food pairings. 

  • Jean Vesselle Brut Oeil de Perdrix NV ($54 to $60): “This particular wine, which is 100% Pinot Noir, carries me from appetizer of warm brie to turkey, beef, or pork and on to dessert — if it lasts that long,” Hinds said. “I poured from a magnum this year. It was that kind of year.”
  • Claude Branger “L’éClipse” Méthode Traditionnelle ($19): “For an everyday bubbly to pair with the raw oysters, I pull a bottle of Claude Branger’s L’éClipse, which is made entirely from melon de Bourgogne,” Hinds said. “We at Effervescence call it the oyster wine.”  
  • Gusbourne Brut Reserve ($58): “Of course when I want to impress a special guest with something new and amazing, I pair the Gusbourne Brut Reserve (2013) from Sussex, England,” Hinds said. “It usually surprises our guests that it is not from Champagne, France, but England.” 
  • Peter Lauer Riesling Sekt Brut Réserve ($50 to $65): “Lastly, I find Peter Lauer’s Riesling Sekt Brut Réserve from Saar, Germany the perfect bubble for most of our desserts, which are seasonal and made in house. They are not usually overly sweet,” Hinds said. “The Peter Lauer has a hint of ripe apricot and peach, with lime and slight biscuit notes that complemented our Citrus and Crème dessert (makrut lime meringue, pistachio, satsuma, Tahitian vanilla whipped cream) perfectly.
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