So you know these giant Coke machines that can dispense literally any soda your heart desires?
And you know how they kind of make you melt into a puddle of indecision right on the floor of the store, but also fulfill every one of your basic needs for instant gratification? Well, Taste Wine Company in NYC is like that, but better, because alcohol.
Forget the days of entering your local wine store, motivated by a particularly shitty workday, and being forced to wander around, squinting at labels while pretending to know and/or care about anything written on that $12 bottle. No more ignorant and embarrassing statements like, “I’m really just looking for something cheap and red, please.” Then you get home only to realize you are drinking what appears to be a red Kool-Aid that someone poured vinegar in and then left outside in the sun for two and a half years.
Taste Wine Company has changed all of that. On a Sunday afternoon, I meandered into the lovely East Village space and was greeted by the owner, Gary.
He, along with the rest of the knowledgeable staff, encouraged me to download their app and take a 6-question quiz to get to know my wine tastes. Now, I was nervous for this quiz because my wine knowledge doesn’t extend far beyond “I like it” and “don’t drink more than two glasses of the red kind unless you plan on seeing Babe later.”
But fear not, because the questions were really simple — like whether you like spicy foods, if you prefer coffee or tea, and your stance on Brussels sprouts — apparently there is a link there. I didn’t question it.
After the quiz assessed my tastes, I was ready to start sampling. Gary walked me through the different sections (light and fruity, spicy, earthy, etc.) and gave me some suggestions.
When you see a wine you’re interested in, scan the QR code above it to see its rating from other samplers. Based on what you read, choose to pour it or move on. Each sample costs you a certain amount of points, but if you give your own rating after you taste it you’ll get points back. So you can basically just twirl around tasting wines all day long. This was my strategy. I left insightful comments for fellow samplers like “yum” and “maybe you will like this but I did not like this.”
I know what you’re thinking — this is for fancy people who spend over $20 on a bottle of wine and care about “quality,” or whatever. But much to my surprise, this is something you can fit into your “$1 pizza and tepid tap water” lifestyle! Every bottle I sampled fell between $10 and $35.
Granted, I was three mimosas deep from the Sunday brunch that preceded this excursion, but I must admit, this idea is just fantastic.
And not just fantastic for wine drinkers, but the company, too. It’s good for the company because after sampling, I was boozed up enough to buy a $33 bottle of wine, which I have literally never done in my entire life. BUT, since I tried it and I knew I liked it, I didn’t have to force it down by making it into a spritzer with an old 7-up I found in the corner of my fridge. I was able to sample the wine — I knew it tasted like rich mahogany in the best way — and I can now treasure it and enjoy the wine-drinking experience.
After I had my wine fun, I sat down with Gary to get a better idea of his vision for Taste Wine Company.
“We wanted to bring the winery experience into the city, and make learning about wine more accessible to everyone,” Gary explained.
And I can say, they are definitely succeeding. Not only can you explore your tastes with the Taste Wine Co. app, but they also have (surprisingly affordable) classes that let you go one step further. They’ve also started offering other wine-centric events like Paint and Sip, but act fast, because these are often completely booked. You can check out the full calendar of classes and events here.
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Taste Wine Company has even been called the “Spotify of wine,” as your app will start to learn your tastes and make recommendations for future purchases.
With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I couldn’t help but notice that this would make the perfect date idea or Galantine’s day activity if you’re flying solo. This weekend, you can sign up for a Romantic Reds tasting class, or you can simply enjoy the experience of tasting wines in a beautiful space.
To make it even easier, Taste Wine Company is offering a special 10% discount to 20something readers.
Simply say “20some” while checking out in store, or type in this promo code when checking out online (where you can have your wine delivered or scheduled to pick up later) or through the app. Offer is valid today through February 14 *praise hands emoji*.
Whether you need a last-minute wine pairing for your romantic dinner, or want to drink away your single-lady sorrows, we’ve got you covered. Olivia Pope would be proud.
Oh, and in case you’re curious, here’s the delicious Cab I bought. Absolutely no ragrets: