Bright Cellars' personalized wine club turned this beer drinker into a wine person

I consider myself a beer person. My go-to order at the bar is a Miller High Life or Stella Artois. I know the difference between an ale and a lager, and I frequent the local microbrewery. It's not that I only like beer; I just haven't found another drink I like quite as much. Granted, I also haven't tried very hard to find one. So, when I was presented with the opportunity to give Bright Cellars — a wine subscription company that helps you discover wine you'll love — a try, I thought "wine not?"

Taste Palate Quiz: Perfect for Picky People

Bright Cellars doesn't just send you a random assortment of fancy wines, hoping you'll find one you like. Instead, they focus their energy on actually learning about you and your preferences. Since I'm extremely picky, this was a huge perk for me.

I took the taste palate quiz, where I was asked questions about my chocolate of choice (none, actually — I prefer fruity candy), favored beverages (tea, juice, etc.), and hobbies. You can also select if you'd like to play it safe or get experimental options and whether you prefer reds, whites, or a mix. I opted for mostly whites, with the occasional red and said to throw in a couple experimental options for fun. It took only a few minutes (if that) out of my day and I was presented with personalized matches almost immediately. With only a minor idea of what kinds of wines I actually like, I was willing and ready to learn from the pros — and prepared to try anything.

The Algorithm

The Bright Cellars wine club was founded by MIT grads who wanted to make wine you like more accessible. In order to do that, they created the Bright Points algorithm to match people to wines based on their personal preferences and educate them about their own tastes.

Data engineers and in-house sommeliers at Bright Cellars work together to score wines on a tasting rubric. The Bright Points algorithm then uses that tasting rubric to weed out certain flavors based on your preferences and match you with perfect palate-pleasing wines. You know how Netflix uses other shows you like to recommend what you should watch next? It's basically like that, only with food and drink flavors you enjoy.

Education + Experience

If I'm being honest, when I do actually go to the store and buy wine, I tend to make selections based on labels. Yes, I am fully aware the label has nothing to do with the flavor. But that doesn't stop me. With Bright Cellars, it's the complete opposite. I'm diving into this experience completely based on my taste palate alone — cool labels are just a bonus.

Shipping was quicker than expected and after just a few days, I was presented with an unexpectedly unbulky flat box. They ship wine on its side, rather than vertically, and each bottle had its own little nook to live in during the shipping process. This not only maximizes space and presents nicely but also helps keep the corks moist to prevent drying out or premature aging.

Before you can get to the wine, though, a colorful cardboard sheet on top stops you. Tucked inside is a stack of cards — each with a different type of wine on one side and details and characteristics on the other. There are six; each bottle of wine has its own ID card of sorts to go along with it. I set them up in a row and pulled out the accompanying bottles to pair them up. Just like that, I had my own personal at-home wine tasting ready to go.

The education cards note the wine region, suggested pairings, alcohol percentage, flavor profile, and something I found extra helpful: recommended serving temperature. Like I said, I'm no wine connoisseur; I embarrassingly thought all red wine was served at room temperature and white wine was just served cold. As it turns out, there's a specific range for each kind of wine. Who knew? All of this information was super helpful for a wine noob like me.

Once each bottle was in or around the temperature range the education cards suggested, I had my own little tasting party with my boyfriend. We read the flavor profiles of each wine and pretended to be fancy wine stewards as we sipped each one. The thing is, discovering all of the specific characteristics of each wine actually helped me realize what I enjoy and what I don't — and how to articulate it. I've been picking the wrong kinds of wine all along. No wonder I became a beer person.

Each education card provides a spot to rate the wine for your own reference. But you can also rate your purchases on the Bright Cellars website to better inform their algorithm. Data is everything when it comes to matching you with wines you like, so the more you try, the better the options. The wines are sourced from around the world — my personalized box featured some from Spain, Italy, and California — and each box is sure to have a new wine you haven't tried. And if you happen to not like a bottle, they'll include an extra in your next box and adjust your taste profile — no questions asked. I ended up loving most of mine, with the exception of the experimental bottle I asked for. Fortunately, my boyfriend loved that one, so it all worked out perfectly. 

A Matchmaking Service for Wine Amateurs

Bright Cellars is on a mission to inspire and educate a new generation of wine lovers, and with the experience I had with the brand, I can say with certainty they're on the right path. In fact, next time I reach for a libation, I might just grab a glass of chardonnay instead of a brew. Consider this my swan song of strictly calling myself a "beer person."

Whether you're a wine amateur, like me, or just a casual sipper who hasn't found their drink of choice, Bright Cellars is the matchmaking service for you. Each bottle is like a piece of the puzzle that is your taste palate. The more you try, the closer you get to solving that puzzle. And it all starts with a seven-question quiz.

You can take the taste palate quiz for yourself when you head over to the Bright Cellars website. Then, snag your first six-bottle box from Bright Cellars for 50% off.

Prices subject to change.