Full disclosure- I originally joined Naked Wines in 2015 as the result of a promotional card in something I ordered. They offered me $100 worth of free wine- what was I supposed to do? After my first case of wine, I was impressed enough to become an Angel, the group of wine lovers responsible for financing the winemakers who sell their wines through Naked Wines. After a few months, I left the program, not because of anything they did, just because I was trying to save money. I thought about them off and on for a while, and finally rejoined as an Angel. Now that I’m back, I want to share my experiences with you. Obviously, I have had a good experience or I would not have rejoined. But, there are some things I didn’t fully understand when I joined that I want to share with you. Here’s a summary of how Naked Wines works, some of the things I like about it, and some things I think potential Angels should know.
Naked Wines started in 2008 in the UK and has since expanded to the U.S. and Australia. There are currently 75,000 Angels who fund winemakers up-front in exchange for pretty significant discounts on their wine. Naked Wines sells a variety of wines ranging from $14.99 to $59.99 for non-Angels and $8.99 to $24.99 for Angels. These prices may seem more on par with average quality wines, but these are anything but. The winemakers take great care with their grape selection and the winemaking process, which shows. The reason the prices are so good is the Naked Wines funding process cuts out many of the costs and the savings are passed on to the Angels.
There are a lot of reasons I love Naked Wines. Here are a few of the main ones:
- The wine is really good. The first chardonnay I ever liked came from there. I don’t remember which it was but it was delicious! I also just had a really good shiraz from Carmen Stevens- it was bold and slightly peppery. They also have a satisfaction guarantee and will refund anything with which you’re unhappy. The first time I joined, I had one bottle that I think had something go wrong with it because it was horrid! It didn’t taste anything like wine ever should. I emailed Naked Wines and they immediately credited my account for the bottle. No questions, no hassle, just an account credit. That is excellent customer service and makes me very comfortable trying wines from them.
- Naked Wines is all about the communication. If you want to chat with the winemakers and other wine lovers, this place is for you! There are many groups you can join with chat forums, including ones with the winemakers. They keep the Angels posted on what’s going on in the vineyard, and Angels can post their thoughts on the wines. The winemakers are very responsive, which is a really cool change from most other wine clubs and buying wine at the store. Although I don’t post often, I love the opportunity to do so.
- I also really like that you can choose between pre-determined cases and choosing your own wines. One of the complaints I’ve heard about wine clubs in general is eventually you get tired of letting someone else choose for you. I have experienced the same thing- it’s frustrating to repeatedly get wines made with the exact same kind of grapes when you want to try some new things. With Naked Wines, you get to decide if you want to choose your own adventure or let someone else do the work for you.
- On a related note, Naked Wines also has a feature that suggests wines based on your ratings of other wines you’ve received. That’s a nice way to help you branch out and try some new things. There is even a feature that tells you other Angels whose tastes match yours that allows you to follow them and see what they’re drinking. Who knows, it might inspire you to try something new and delicious!
Now here are a couple things I think potential Angels should know:
- The initial Angel deposit this time aroundwas a surprise this time and I recall it being a surprise last time as well. I had an email several days prior but I think it just said I was close, not that they were charging me on a specific date. I feel they should give 24 hours’ notice.
- You also don’t actually receive a free bottle every month- you receive a free bottle when you place an order. If you don’t order every month, your free bottle is taken away. The website now has a line on it (maybe it was there all along but I don’t recall seeing it before) that says the gift bottle is “popped straight in your online basket ready for when you order a case.” That does help clarify, if you see it.
- Finally, the wines sell out pretty fast, so if you like a bottle and want more, you need to order quickly. I have had several instances where I liked a bottle and tried to order more but they were long gone.
When I rejoined Naked Wines, I had to go on the waiting list before becoming an Angel. When I signed up, there were around 12,000 people on the waiting list and I achieved Angel status within a month or so. While I was waiting, I went ahead and placed an order because I am slightly on the impatient side. Here’s what I received in my order, which was a combination of the Everyday Luxury Case and the Angel in Waiting Welcome 3 Pack (free from Naked Wines because I had to wait to become an Angel):
- Carmen Stevens’ Angels Reserve Shiraz 2015
- Leigh Meyering SeriousLeigh North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon
- Tomas Buendia Verdejo Chardonnay 201
- Donaldson Blanc de Blancs NV
- Scott Kelley Pinot Gris Willamette 2015
- Matt Parish Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2014
- Stephen Millier Black Label red Angel Red Blend Calaveras County 2014
- Janus Pinot Grigio Veneto 2015
- Arabella Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
- Rod Easthope Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015
- Richard Bruno Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
- Franc Dusak BXR Red Wine Sonoma Valley Sonoma County 2013
- Cordero Langhe DOC Arneis 2014
- Karen Birmingham Reserve Zinfandel 2014
- ROX Scott Peterson All Blacks Sonoma County 2014
I already tried the Carmen Stevens’ Angels Reserve Shiraz and ROX Scott Peterson All Blacks and enjoyed them so much I immediately ordered a few bottles of each. I’ll post more on the other bottles as I sample them!