Wineist: Drink Something New!

8 Mar

I’m no stranger to the wine mini-bottle approach, having written about The Tasting Room “A New Model for Tasting: The Mini Bottle” so when Wineist asked me if I’d like to try their model, of course I was interested.

The Wineist concept is that a consumer buys (or is gifted ) monthly (either single, six or 12 month) subscriptions which arrive as a box containing six different mini bottles of wine. The package is compact, cheerful and straightforward, designed for simplicity and cost-effectiveness while providing both an attractive and safe-to-ship packaging. I noticed immediately the use of cute subheadings: “Small in size, big in wines.” Upon opening the box, just below the wines is printed: “Start your wine journey”. As an oenophile, already I found this experience fun, exploratory, and exciting. Were I a neophyte to the wine world, it would be even more so. 


wineist box


The samples are airline-sized 50ml bottles that pour a 1.75 ounce taste into a wine glass. Accompanying the six samples is a small brochure that offers initial lessons in how to taste and classify your wines, followed by individual details on each sample and winery or winemaker, with a brief description and pairing suggestions.


Wineist lineup


The goal of this packaging is to engage the consumer while developing their tasting profile over monthly subscriptions from which you can then order full-sized bottles. A different monthly theme is created, obviously designed to expose the consumer to a complete view of the wine world instead of finding their immediate comfort zone.

The package I received had one wine from Germany, two from South Africa, two from Spain, and one from Italy. They are focused on providing new wine tasting experiences to people who most likely have never seen them before- four of these wineries I had never heard of, only one of these I knew well. So yes, a new way to taste wines that are new to you!

wineist paper


An interesting aspect is that the bottles are labeled with roman numerals; the taster is encouraged to take notes in the space provided on the newsprint. The consumer won’t be tempted to ignore the details as it becomes key to knowing what wine one is drinking if they want to have more.


wineist white


Being able to come home from work late a night and find a sample box with six wines surely makes finding new wines easy! Pop a few screw tops, taste a few wines, order a bottle of what you enjoy, and know it will be in your mail in a few days. It offers the customer ease and reduces time constraints with little pressure. On the other hand, unless you share your samples with a friend, the social aspect of tasting is lost, but if that gets the consumer to try several wines from regions that are far outside their comfort range, then why not?


wineist rose


Wineist is a start-up company based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The business model is reported to function as a way for wineries to get greater exposure to buyers (and increase product demand), while simultaneously allowing consumers the opportunity to taste a wide array of wines with minimal liability and expense, thereby removing the wine-store worries a consumer might have that they will have to buy a 750ml bottle of something they won’t like.

What remains to be seen is how Wineist determines the likes and dislikes of the consumer. In their advertising, they advertise a unique feature of Wineist as “profiling our subscribers” to “analyze their taste in wine based on their feedback and over time create a unique wine DNA” for better, more personal recommendations, similar to having a personal sommelier.


The looming business question for customer retention and continued growth is how the wine DNA will be determined for each consumer? Obviously any time that a customer orders a full sized bottle from Wineist will qualify that wine as a “like”, but what about their dislikes? How do they calculate if the consumer prefers warm or cold climate wines, if they prefer South African or Australian Shiraz, or Italian reds from Piedmont instead of Tuscany? If a consumer has a very narrow range of preferences, will Wineist be able to retain them with an appropriate selection, or keep them interested with a worldly view?

If a customer subscribes to a full 12 month set of tastings, one might expect that emailed questionnaires become a key part to finding out that the consumer like samples number 2 and 5 from January and samples 4 and 6 from February, but there is no indication of such a program as of yet.

Regardless, I found the Wineist experience both fun and exciting. If I enjoyed it, many other people will as well, and I would suspect that this business venture has a future.

Wineist provides another exciting way to try wines from around the world with a unique angle. In a Harpers UK article,  Peter Bruner from Wineist was said to have reported that 70% of their then-current consumer base was in the USA, with 15% in the UK. Currently their website has prices listed in Euros, but with more consumers from the West coming aboard, that is likely to change, or become a selectable option if they have a savvy webmaster.

Is this the right tasting model for you? How do you feel about mini bottles of wine as a way to try new wines, wine regions, and winemakers? Please share your thoughts in the comments section, below.


à votre santé!





5 Responses to “Wineist: Drink Something New!”

  1. talkavino March 8, 2016 at 10:34 am #

    This is interesting – not sure it is economically and logistically viable. I had similar experience about 3 years ago ( What I find indicative is that I didn’t see any mentions of such mini tasting bottle approach anywhere, so it seems that in the last 3 years, the idea didn’t necessarily caught up. Overall, if I would have to pay for it, I think I would much prefer to pay for one full size bottle than to get such a sample set.


  2. Jill Barth March 8, 2016 at 10:33 am #

    I wonder how they go about partnering with the wineries? Interesting approach to finding new connections for winemakers & consumers.

    Thanks for sharing!


  3. the drunken cyclist March 8, 2016 at 9:38 am #

    I had a decidedly different experience….


  4. the drunken cyclist March 8, 2016 at 9:36 am #

    Reblogged this on mwwcblog.



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