Note: I’m not being paid or reimbursed for writing this post. Naked Wines has not asked me to do this, either. I’m just a wine lover reviewing my experience.
I’m super skeptical of “deals” since they can mean spending money on something I wouldn’t have bought anyway. When I first got a $100 voucher for Naked Wines among some clothes I ordered from Kohl’s in 2020, I threw it away. The next time I got one, I was a little more open to at least exploring the site.
The voucher gave me a case of 12 wines with 3 gift wines for about $80. They chose what wines to send me. Delivery was free. However, using the voucher meant I was automatically subscribed as a Naked Wines “Angel” — basically, $40 is automatically deducted from the card you have on file every month, and you can use that money toward buying more of the wines they offer on their site. You can let it build up until you have a lot of money to spend on their wine, like using $120 from three months of payments toward a 12-bottle case. You can spend more than you have on your account, but $40 is going to keep being charged on your card every month until you unsubscribe.
Being an Angel means you get discounts on wines, and each wine is a different price. After you use the voucher, you can choose which wines you want to get, unless you want them to choose for you again.
One of the things I really liked was being able to review the wines I’d purchased or been sent, and I can see others’ reviews too. The more you review, the better able Naked Wines can figure out your tastes and recommend wines you might enjoy. I also liked being able to leave comments for the winemaker — and in a couple of cases, they sent me a message back. Any wine I thought was faulty or that I really didn’t like, I got refunds for. How awesome is that?
Over time, I came to understand which winemakers I enjoy (F. Stephen Millier and Jen Pfeiffer, to name a couple) and also which specific wines and vintages I liked. For instance, I liked Jen’s Diamond Durif from 2017 (I gave it 5 stars) more than her Diamond Durif from 2018 (4 stars).
There are also those I will probably avoid in the future. Dave Harvey’s 2019 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon got 2.5 stars from me, so I doubt I’ll order other vintages that might be available. Of course, with wine, a bad harvest due to weather (too much rain, too little rain, etc.) can mean some years (vintages) are better than others. And, of course, wines taste differently to different folks, so something I like may taste awful to you, and vice versa. And just because a wine is more expensive does not mean it’ll taste better than something cheaper.
For various reasons, wines can be a guessing game until you try them. This article, though, explains the basic differences between cheap and expensive wines and why a cheap wine may taste better to a “non-enthusiast.” You can also find documentaries about the process of wine making and how expensive does not necessarily mean better.
Later in 2020, I unsubscribed from Naked Wines so I could save money since I was unemployed. They recently sent me a $100 voucher in the mail, asking me back like a grade school crush. I’ve been drinking hella wine lately, so I used it. Still got 15 bottles for under $90. Still can review wines on the site, order more, and reserve future vintages. Still like F. Stephen Millier! (His Lodi red is killer, and even better the next day.) I’m excited to keep working my way through the case I got and hope to write more posts about the wines I love.