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tasting room review

Tasting Room Reviews: Wine Tasting Kit, Cost, Promo Codes

tasting room logoOur review of Tasting Room Wine Club: Are you seeking a wine experience that’s all about you? According to its website, Tasting Room is ready to offer wine aficionados and amateurs alike precisely this.

Tasting Room, by Lot 18, is an international winery collective that provides personalized wine shipments to members. (They have a promo so that you get the tasting kit for $7, including shipping!) 

Once they’ve sipped and savored a Tasting Kit of six whites and reds, Tasting Room members craft profiles based on their likes and dislikes, tailoring future wine shipments. Members can also easily purchase full bottles of any of the wines they love for as little as $13.

Given my own proclivity for a rich pinot, and given Tasting Room’s international sourcing, I decided to try this wine tasting service. I must say, my Tasting Room trial run proved to be no small delight!

Here’s my comprehensive review of this wine provider: how Tasting Room works, the cost, plus a coupon for new members. Sip on!

*Update: After rating the tasting kit, I got my first shipment of 6 bottles of wine!


Our Review: How Tasting Room Works

tasting room wines

“Lot 18 Tasting Room is the first wine club to get it right.” The Huffington Post

“The Tasting Room wine club eliminates the guesswork and uncertainty of shopping for wine… bringing an unprecedented level of customization and personalization to the wine club market.” – winebusiness.com

Tasting Room claims that “wine should be accessible, fun to learn about, and easy to enjoy.” These terms accurately sum up the experience of becoming a Tasting Room member. Here’s an explanation of how the wine club works from tastingroom.com:

how tasting room works infographic

Getting started: Prospective tasters register for a Tasting Room account by providing contact details and answers to three key questions about flavor preferences. Sample questions may include:

  • Which type of chocolate do you prefer? (Milk, dark, or neither) 
  • I drink my coffee: (Black, with sugar and cream, or I don’t dink coffee)
  • The fruits I like best are: (Apples, bananas, or berries)

These flavor-specific questions, I presume, help the provider generally narrow down members’ first Tasting Kit; a helpful point, as members are more likely to stay with the service if it begins by catering to their broader preferences.

A week or so after submitting this information, Tasting Room members receive their first Tasting Kit, a little black box of six wine varieties. Each miniature bottle holds 50 ml of wine, the rough equivalent of one third of a glass of wine.


OK, I Got My Wine Tasting Kit!

tasting room kit box and card

Fun little box with tasting kit

My kit arrived with four reds and two whites, an accurate combination as I tend to prefer full-bodied reds to whites. I had, after all, listed dark chocolate, black coffee, and berries as my flavors of choice.

tasting room kit

Tasting Room Kit Arrives, Fun!

tasting room kit instructions

Tasting kit comes with simple instructions

The box itself contains two cards:

  1. A welcome card with instructions for rating wines
  2. A tasting mat for lining up and ranking wines.

Once members receive their first Tasting Kit, the sipping can begin! Members simply navigate to their online TR profiles and select “Let’s Start Tasting!”

(*You can get started for $7 with this coupon!)


How the Tasting Kit / Process Works

In your account you’ll get these tasting instructions:

  • You’ll taste wine in pairs, just click the one you prefer
  • Undecided? If you like or dislike both wines, juct click the, “No preference” button
  • Take small sips – you may taste and compare wines 2-3 times
  • It’s OK to hate a wine. The goal is to find the wines you love and loathe!

Tasting Room will then walk members through the tasting process, which requires tasting and comparing two wines at a time. I began with my whites, which TR advised me to chill for twenty minutes prior to beginning and pour into glasses set on my tasting mat.

red wine tasting mat

Tasting mat for red wines

Tasting Room emphasizes the value of taking small sips to ensure members really distinguish flavors. After my tasting of the white wines, I decided that I preferred Wine #1–a sauvignon blanc; and that this preference was not too dramatic. I also had the option to choose “I liked both” or “I disliked both.” (see below)

tasting room rate wine

Compare and rate the wine you tasted

Members make these ratings for every pairing they try. At the end of the tasting, TR asks if there were any wines members would not like to see in a future shipment and what combination of wines they’d like to receive (reds only, whites only, or reds and whites).

tasting room dislike wine

Tasting Room: Did you dislike any wine?

Then, Tasting Room generates a Wine Profile. Wine Profiles are relatively comprehensive, detailing the type of wine members prefer. For example, my White Profile claims that I prefer fresh, zesty whites and suggests ideal flavors, pairings, sources, and grapes for my future white selections. The profile even advises how to order white wine at a restaurant: allegedly I should tell my server that I like bright, crisp whites with flavors of honey and grassiness and smooth, buttery finishes.

Tasting Room then uses Wine Profiles to generate member shipments of full bottles of wine. Members can choose what they want to receive: 2, 6, or 12 bottles at a time delivered every three, two, or one month(s). Members can see the wines that will appear in their next shipments and modify these at their leisure. 

Ok, now that they have a wine profile for me, they can send me my first shipment of wine!


My First Shipment of Wine! (6 Bottles)

Once Tasting Room generates a custom wine profile based on Tasting Kit preferences, it will assemble full-bottle shipments for users based on these preferences.

To reiterate, tasters automatically receive a Tasting Room membership once they sign up for a Tasting Kit. To simply enjoy the tasting experience without having to purchase sets of full bottles, users will have to cancel their subscription. (Luckily, this is easy to do. Simply navigate to “Account Settings” and select “Cancel Membership.”)

Once I received my wine profile, I noticed that Tasting Room had already set my shipment preferences to twelve bottles, to be delivered within a mere handful of days.

This is perhaps the only complaint I have with this service; many tasters are unlikely to want twelve bottles delivered monthly, and for $149.99 + shipping at that! To my knowledge, Tasting Room does not inform tasters of this automatic preference selection, at least directly.

I quickly opted for a six-bottle delivery at $79.99 + shipping, to be delivered every three months. (Tasters can also opt for 2-bottle deliveries). Given the fact that I prefer red wine, I requested a 4 red / 2 white combination. Users can also select all red or all white bottles for individual shipments.

Wine aficionados can schedule deliveries at any time, without any apparent time constraints; it seems possible, for example, to schedule a delivery three or six months in advance.

Once my order was processed, Tasting Room assured me that I would receive my bottles within seven standard business days.

I also received a sneak peek at what I could expect come Wine Arrival Day. (It is always possible to view these details by selecting “Past Shipments” or “Next Shipment.”) Users can view additional information about each wine–including flavor profile, suggested pairings, and regional source–simply by clicking on each thumbnail.

Delivery

I tracked my wine delivery religiously–Tasting Room provides tracking information to all customers–only to learn that several bottles had been damaged in transit. My initial shipment was thus returned to its source in California.

Unfortunately, Tasting Room did not notify me via email–as it had promised–and I had to reach out to its customer support team to arrange refunds and schedule a new shipment.

I will say that despite my disappointment, Tasting Room’s customer service is impeccable. I received a friendly and apologetic email response within an hour of my complaint. While Tasting Room had to package an entirely new combination of wine bottles for me, the next shipment arrived within a week, undamaged.

tasting room wine shipment

Tasting Room packages its bottles well, despite the fact that my initial shipment sustained damage. All bottles appeared as promised, although each was (strangely) coated with a fair layer of dust. I assume this was merely due to warehousing.

tasting room wine shipment box

delivered wine bottles cost

Which Wine Should I Drink First? (That’s a First-World Problem!) 

The next difficulty proved simply to be the question of which bottle to open first! I opted for the Garnacha-Syrah, a deep-bodied red suitable for these colder months. It did not disappoint:

tasting room wine description

la pintada garnacha syrah wine

Tasting Room: La Pintada Garnacha-Syrah

Despite the hassles of shipping, I realized once again the advantage Tasting Room offers wine aficionados and newbies like myself: its capacity to bring truly delicious wine to anyone’s doorstep, eliminating the tedium and gamble of the grocery-store selection process. Tasting Room’s desire to inform its tasters, particularly in terms of flavor profile and pairings, surpasses even Wine Spectator’s attempts to educate sippers around the world.

For this reason, Tasting Room wine bottle shipments are worth their shipping cost and potential hassle if you like to have several high-quality wines on hand, find yourself wavering in the wine aisle, and/or simply want to expand your fine wine horizons without having to do the research yourself.

Users also do not have to sign up for Tasting Room shipments in order to experience this collective’s offerings. A visit to Tasting Room’s Bottle Shop is all wine lovers need to select the bottles they crave, without the need for regular shipments. (Note: Ordering from the bottle shop does not eliminate shipping costs.)


Tasting Room Cost:

Tasting Room kit bottles

What the tasting kit looks like

To receive their first Tasting Kit, new customers pay $6.99, (with coupon) which Tasting Room claims is $30 off of standard manufacturer value. (I’d say, more like a $20 value) 

Future shipments (every 1,2, or 3 months) will depend on preferences selected. For example:

  • 12 bottle shipment is $149.00 (+ $19.99 shipping) 
  • 6 bottle shipment is $79.99 (+ $9.99 shipping)
  • 2 bottles are priced at $29.99 (+ $9.99 shipping)

Naturally, larger shipments are more cost-effective, as a twelve-bottle shipment equates to just over $12 per bottle of wine, many of which would cost $20 or more if purchased individually.

It is also possible to buy a single bottle of any of the wines provided in Tasting Kits or shipments by navigating to Tasting Room’s Bottle Shop.


Tasting Room Coupon:

If you’re going to try out Tasting Room, be sure to use their new customer promotion. Here’s the best available coupon to get started:

tasting room coupon

New Customer Promo: Save $30!

*Click to view their coupon for new customers. ($30 $7 for a wine tasting kit, including the cost of shipping) 


About Promo Codes:

While Tasting Room does have an option to enter a promo code (it’s almost comically hidden as white text on their homepage!) the best promotion is their new customer coupon giving you the tasting kit for $7. 

tasting room promo codes

Can you even read where it says, “have a promo code?”

All of the other promo codes that I was able to find on coupon sites give you the same deal, or actually save you less money by increasing the price of the tasting kit to $9.95. It seems that members will occasionally be emailed a promo code good towards a gift set or bottle shop purchase.


Is Tasting Room Worth It?

Overall, I would agree that Tasting Room offers an interactive and engaging wine tasting experience for wine connoisseurs. It is easy to sign up for a Tasting Kit and rank wines accordingly; members can also savor high-quality wines sourced from state-of-the-art wineries all over the world.

Tasting Room seems to be an informed wine collective, too. The wine profiles it generates were relatively comprehensive and gave unique insight into my sipping preferences.

Restaurant or wine-bar tastings typically do not generate such profiles; they are designed for the experience alone, and may or may not result in the purchase of a bottle. I will certainly be using these profiles to order wines at restaurants in the future.

I recommend trying out Tasting Room through their new customer promo. For less than $9, such a tasting experience is rare and worth the small investment. Start small, and stay with it for a month to receive your first 2 or 6 bottles. If you don’t like it, just cancel after a month or two knowing you’re ahead of the game with very little invested for what you received. (Plus, it’s really fun!) 


Tip: 12 bottles may be too much at first

Tasting Room is also committed to flexibility. Members do not have to order a 12-bottle shipment of wine immediately after tasting, for example; they can update their shipping preferences according to budget and lifestyle following their tasting.

It is worth noting that it is vital to update these shipping preferences the moment you have generated a wine profile. Otherwise, Tasting Room will automatically prepare a shipment for delivery. I was not aware of this until I navigated to “Shipping Preferences” and modified my “next shipment date.” Also, Tasting Room does charge for shipping.

*Related: Our Winc Wine Club Review


Negative reviews?

The Achilles heel of any monthly club is that there is a cost involved for shipments. This is even more significant with the meal delivery food clubs like Home Chef, Omaha Steaks, or diets with perishable frozen foods like Nutrisystem.

Ok, so even though there’s a lot of value and fun in the “monthly club” process, some tasters may argue that the price is too high, and they can just as easily purchase wine at $12-$15 a bottle locally without having to pay Tasting Room’s shipping costs. On paper that’s true, but what attracted me to the idea of a wine club is that I’m not very good at picking out wine at the store, and usually just buy something around $12 with a nice label. That’s not fun, and I’ve bought bad wine a number of times!

Another complaint we found from negative reviews is that some tasters may not find themselves consuming four bottles of wine every month.

For that reason, we suggest that if you do sign up to try Tasting Club, start small, and consider opting to receive a shipment every 2 months instead of monthly. Then, choose a day of the week that’s you’re designated “Tasting Club” day to enjoy a bottle of wine.

Yet it can be difficult to identify fresh and intriguing wines from local providers, particularly if you have exhausted community selections. It is also possible to request a two-bottle shipment per three months if you only occasionally indulge in fine wines.

For this reason, Tasting Room is valuable for wine aficionados who are seeking a cost-effective means of discovering and enjoying new wines. Even if members opt only to receive a Tasting Kit, doing so can provide valuable insight into their unique sipping preferences and broaden their vineyard horizons!

Why not give Tasting Room a try with their $7 promotion here?

winc wine reviews

Winc Reviews: How It Works, Cost + What Some Customers “Wine” About

winc logoReviews of Winc – Is it worth it? A few years ago a company called, “Club W” set out to be the “Netflix of Wine.” Apparently they did something right, as they reached $1 million in revenue in their first 12 weeks! Well, that company is now called, “Winc,” and they have become hugely popular with wine lovers as is evident with their half-million Facebook fans.

So, being a wine lover myself (with a gourmet blog), I figured I’d use their $25 off coupon (view all) and try Winc out to see how it works. Here’s my review for Winc’s monthly wine club.


First, How Winc Works:

Some years ago companies started to realize that simplicity is king. Restaurant’s like Chipotle reduced their menu down to a minimalist’s dream, (sorry, diners!) and other sites like Netflix, Easy Canvas Prints and Home Chef stripped their sites down to the studs to make ordering a streamlined process of a few clicks. Simplicity is what Winc is going for, too. Here’s how it works according to Winc.com:

  • Winc delivers 4 bottles of wine to your door each month, shipping cost is included
  • Pick your own bottles or let them make recommendations to match your taste. Wines start at $13 per bottle and come with pairing recommendations & recipes
  • There is no membership fee, and you can cancel anytime

Ok, let’s get started! 


Winc Cost?

The costs for Winc are straight-forward, and shipping is “free,” and included in your total. Wines start at $13, so your total cost will just be the sum of the 4 wines that you choose. That means the minimal cost will be $52 per month. I substituted one of the bottles for a nice $20 alternative, so it made my order a little bit more expensive. You can also opt for “Winc Select” which has premium wines starting at about $20.

Here are the monthly costs of Winc:

  • First month: $52+ $27 (with coupon)
  • Subsequent months: $52+
  • Winc Select: (1+ bottle upgraded) $60+*

*The first month price is discounted when you use a coupon. (View all Winc coupons)

If you choose to upgrade to Winc Select, you can choose from highly-rated, more expensive bottles of wine

If you rate 10 wines, you’ll receive a $10 credit on your account. If you refer a friend, you get a $26 credit. Orders of 12+ bottles get a 10% discount.


Ordering = Minimalism + Simplicity

As a new user you’ll just want to click to activate the “4 bottles for $28” promotion, then click the “Get Started” button on the top of their site. You’ll then be prompted with a few questions so that they can better understand your palette. These questions include a few multiple choice prompts like, “How do you like your coffee?”, and “Do you like citrus?”

Then, you can choose red, white, or a mix of both for your 4 bottles of wine delivered each month:

winc red white wine

Choose red or white wines

Now, click, “see your wines,” and voila! They have created a selection of 4 wines based on your tastes:

winc wine selection

You can now click on any of the selected wines to read about them in more detail. Feel free to substitute other wines if you’d like:

winc wine review detail

Read about any Winc wine in detail

Winc gives you a plethora of well-presented and helpful info on each wine selection including:

  • Cost ($13 and up)
  • Body: (Full, medium, etc)
  • Alcohol Content
  • Balance (Fruit, earth, wood)
  • How to serve: (chilled or room temp?) 
  • What it pairs well with (fish, red meat, pasta, sushi, etc)
  • Wine description with origin and interesting history

I then double-checked my wine selections by googling them for reviews. For the 2015 Rogue Admirals Cabernet Sauvignon I saw that it got an impressive 3.7 star review. One of the “red blends” that was recommended didn’t get a great review, so I easy substituted it.

If you do want to make a substitution, just click on any bottle and choose from a wide variety of replacements that are sortable by several filters including price.

Want even better wines? You can click “upgrade” and your wine bottles will come from the more expensive, highly-rated “Winc Select” selections. You can switch back and forth any time.

OK, I’m happy with my 4 wines, time to complete my order.


Place Your Order (Use a coupon!)

At this time you just enter your shipping and billing info, and enter a promo code if you don’t already have a great discount applied: *Apply a $25 off code now!new

enter winc coupon voucher

Enter a coupon or voucher if a good one isn’t already applied

Ok, for my first order I’m paying $34 for 4 good bottles of wine including delivery. Now, let’s see what happens!


Unboxing Winc:

My wine arrived in only 3 busines days. That’s fast! Here’s what my wines look like:

my winc wine review

My Winc wines

The wines were very well-packaged, and came with a booklet that includes “the A-Z of Wines,” to help you appreciate all of the aspects of wine that you may not have given much thought like, acidity, body, minerality, and descriptions of varietals like “Pinot Noir” or “Cabernet Franc.” Interesting and fun!

So far we’ve only tried the Rosa Obscura Red Blend, but it was really good! Tastes like a $10-15 bottle of wine to me, but the experience of trying something new, learning new things, and being mindful about the wine I was drinking was what I liked best.

winc rosa obscura

Rosa Obscura from Winc. Mmm….

“Lush with jammy California goodness, full body and an ultra smooth texture, this 2016 blend is what we call a Big Red. Zinfandel is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for juicy notes of cherry, strawberry, cassis, cocoa and violet. Drink this versatile red with a steak dinner…” – Winc description

I did have it with steak, and it was great! I actually have never bought a “red blend” before, but I certainly will now, and that’s the beauty of Winc. While I don’t expect any $13-20 bottle of wine to blow my socks off, I really look forward to appreciating these new wines, learning more about them, and being more mindful when I drink them.

Buying wine through Winc isn’t a “deal.” You could probably find similar wines from better-known brands at your local liquor store at a cheaper price. But then again, that’s not the point of Winc. Part of what you pay for is the experience. Its really educational, fun, and kind of like having a friend who is a sommelier (wine guy) picking out bottles for you.

Personally, I think choosing wine at the store is an intimidating experience, and I end up making my choices based on the labels and price. (Duh!?) Winc gives you well-researched recommendations from sustainable sources, and even provides recipes for meals to pair with the wines.

Getting 4 new bottles of wine each month also means that my wife and I will choose one night each week to enjoy a new bottle, drink it, read and talk about it, and then make sweet love by moonlight. (not sure about the last one!) I really like knowing that a new selection of wines is arriving each month, and it’s exciting like a Christmas gift to open!

*Related: Our review of Tasting Room Wine Club


Get wine-pairing recipes + rate your wines

Go into your account and you can also find free recipes that pair well with each of your wine selections:

winc wine recipes

Your wine pairs well with…. free recipes!

Did you enjoy the wine? Winc let’s you rate and review each bottle that you ordered to learn more about your palette and refine future recommendations.


Winc reviews:

Here’s what people like about their Winc subscription, as well as the biggest complaints common in negative customer reviews:

*GOOD reviews:

review goodI’m not the only person to think this is a fun experience. Winc generally does a great job, and you can tell that they care immensely about their business. That’s why most reviews for Winc are stellar.

“WINC has amazing wines and top notch customer service! They recommend wines based on your palate profile you complete and send you wines every month. You can cancel or skip a month anytime. Joining winc has allowed me to appreciate wine more, expand my palate, and try new wines and flavors. I highly recommend winc to everyone!” – Jamie B

Common themes in good reviews include:

  • The monthly club format enables you to try new wines and learn about them and about wines in general. It’s fun!
  • FedEx Shipping is “free” and very fast + great packaging
  • Great customer service and well-run company
  • Focus on sustainability, not cheap wine from big brands
  • The more wines you review, the better the future recommendations to your taste
  • Monthly clubs are fun!

*BAD reviews & complaints:

review badNo monthly club has a 100% rating. Here’s what people don’t like about Winc:

“You can probably do just as well or frankly better at Trader Joe’s for the money in addition to the high shipping cost.” – Ryan C via Yelp

  • Their $13+ bottles of wine aren’t mind-blowing, some reviews describe them as “mediocre” “overpriced,” or at worst “undrinkable”
  • It’s inconvenient to cancel your subscription (you have to call or online chat during business hours)
  • You may have to sign for the package in some states

Is Winc Worth It?

Let’s look at the pro’s and con’s to decide if a subscription to Winc is worth the money:

  • Pro’s: Getting 4 bottles per month of unique wine from small winemakers is really fun. Actually, I happen to like monthly clubs in general, because getting a box on my porch is a little bit like Christmas morning. The wines I got were good, and the notes that came with them helped me to learn more about wine, and appreciate it more as I drank it. However, there’s no cheap way to ship 4 bottles of wine, so $52 per month can seem expensive
  • Con’s: If you live near a wine store, you could, in theory, go pick out 4 bottles of wine for under $40. However, the quality may be hit-or miss, and there isn’t a lot of fun or learning in the process.

So, I’d say that it’s definitely worth trying Winc for 1-2 months because of the great promotion they have for new customers that brings the price down significantly. If you aren’t thrilled after the second month, just cancel, and know that you got a good deal.


In conclusion…

Well, there you have it. Most of the reviews, including my own review for my Winc subscription, are quote positive. Even though some people rightly complain that you can buy similar wine at the liquor store for less money, it’s really the experience that you’re paying for. I mean, it’s a lot cheaper to just drink a Heineken at home rather than go to a nice bar and pay $6, right? Same concept with Winc.

Like most monthly food or wine clubs, Winc is about putting something fun and educational on the calendar each month. It makes you appreciate the whole experience, and not just the wine itself.

Considering trying Winc for a month? Here’s a coupon for $25 off your first order, plus check out today’s best Winc coupons here!

winc coupon

Have you tried Winc? Leave your own rating and review below!

*Related: Our review of Easy Canvas Prints | Winc named a top wine delivery subscription service at forbes.com

home chef cost

Home Chef Costs | Price Per Meal, Week + Food for Thought (New!)

How much does Home Chef Cost? HomeChef has become one of the top names in the meal kit delivery service space, which has exploded in popularity. Because of the fresh, top-quality ingredients that are shipped weekly to your door, these meal delivery services can be expensive. However, most customers who try it think it’s worth the price, as it’s a fun and convenient way to make healthy meals yourself. Here are the latest costs for Home Chef:

Home Chef Cost: (Per Week)

The price of Home Chef meals are always $9.95 per serving. You can choose from a minimum of 2 meals per week for 2 people all the way up to 6+ meals per week for 6 people. Here’s their full weekly pricing info:

Per Week:2 Servings:4 Servings:6 Servings:
2 Meals: $39.80*$79.60$119.40
3 Meals:$59.70$119.40$179.10
4 Meals:$79.60$179.10$238.80
5 Meals:$99.50$199$298.50
6 Meals:$119.40$238.80$358.20
Premium Meals: $14.95-19.95 per portion

*The new customer promo for $30 off + free shipping significantly reduces these prices for your first order.

*Shipping is free for $45+ orders, but will cost you $10 if your weekly order is less than $45


Food Expenses & Some Food for Thought

Most of the leading meal delivery services, including HomeChef, aim to stay around $10 per person for meals. That can seem like a lot of money to spend on dinner. However, we have a few statistics about Americans’ food expenses that might make you see meal delivery services in a new perspective:

  • The average person eats 4.3 meals out each week (source)
  • The average meal eaten outside the home costs $12.75 per person
  • Americans spend over $300 per person each month on groceries (source)
  • 40% of food is wasted in the U.S every year (source)
  • The average American household throws away $2200 of food each year
  • 20% of the food bought at the grocery store is never eaten
  • Portion sizes are one of the main contributing factors for our obesity epidemic (source)
  • Having a personal chef costs about $20-30 per serving each meal

Now consider that meal delivery services like Home Chef are probably less expensive than the meals at your favorite quick-serve restaurants. They also help to reduce food waste, most are healthy, and they are and already portioned for each person.

Hmmm… Now Home Chef is looking like a pretty good investment, right?


HomeChef: How Much Do Premium Meals Cost?

home chef premium filet mignon

Home Chef premium meals cost more

Whether it’s for a holiday or just a special night to cook at home, Home Chef makes premium meals available. So, what exactly are premium meals? These are extra-fancy meals like filet mignon, lobster thermador, and grilled lamb chops that you can upgrade to in your account.

How much do HomeChef’s premium meals cost? Each of these premium meals costs $14.95-19.95 per person depending on the meal. Want to make them on your own? The recipes are always free for members!

Cost of Optional Add-Ons:

While most people just stick with the weekly dinners, there are some other optional extras that will cost you more. You can add the following items to your weekly delivery at any time:

  • Smoothies or Fruit Basket: $4.95 per portion
  • Premium Meals: (When available) $14.95-19.95 per portion

The settings are also easy to change, so if you want to reduce your costs, consider getting fewer meals each week. It’s also easy to pause your deliveries at any time!

Lower the Cost With a Coupon

If you are considering trying Home Chef, check out our coupons to save up to $40 on the cost. Orders over $45 always ship “free” at no additional cost.

home chef 30 off coupon

HomeChef featured promotion

If you’ve already tried Home Chef, share your thoughts about cost with us below!

Related costs: BistroMD | Weight Watchers

how long wine last after opened

How Long Does WINE Last After Opening? Red, White, & Box Wine

How long will opened and unopened wine last? One of the best things to come home to is that opened bottle of wine we forget we had waiting for us. We pour it in a big glass, swirl it around and breathe in the sweet aroma.

But when we take that first sip, sometimes it’s not that crisp and bubbly flavor that hit our tongues a couple of days ago. The taste is sour or vinegary, our lips twist and our eyes squint. The wine is spoiled – how on Earth could we let this delightful drink that’s always there for us, down?

It’s okay, wine accepts us for who we are (it does see us sing at the top of our lungs). But, the worst thing is watching our wine pour down the drain (sometimes while crying) – even if it was only a $9 Barefoot bottle. Here are some estimates for how long wine lasts, as well as wine storage advice that explains the Miles Davis photo.

how long wine lasts

How Long Does Wine Last / Stay Good?

The cheap wine, (under $20) most of us buy at the liquor store can last a couple of years if stored correctly. Virtually none of this “cheap” wine is suitable for “cellaring”, (storing for long period of time) but it still might last as long as your average canned good if stored properly. To figure out if your wine is still good, start with the year on the label. Generally better wine can last longer, so that ’06 Yellow Tail chardonnay isn’t fit for drinking anymore!

wine last once opened

Here’s some helpful info on how long wine stays fresh / drinkable:


How Long Does RED Wine Last?

  • Unopened: 2-3 years
  • Opened lasts: 1-2 weeks (in refrigerator)

Red wine varieties include: Cabernet Sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, syrah, malbec, etc. Good for your heart and on the table of a candlelight dinner, all of the luscious varieties of red wine lasts about 1 to 2 weeks in the refrigerator after opening. Uncorked, red wine lasts about 2 to 3 years. This gives us plenty of time to choose between all of the subtle notes we’re in the mood for – from violets, blueberry, cherries and even coffee. Red wine is best enjoyed when it’s room temperature and after some time of breathing in some air to bring out the flavors. Sit it out as a decoration and try not to rush it’s beauty!


How Long Does WHITE Wine Last?

  • Unopened: 1-2 years
  • Once opened, it lasts: 1-3 days (in refrigerator)

White wine varieties include: Chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, moscato, riesling, etc. The elegant and sparkly white wine is a lot more demanding (one of the only kind of demands I’ll be happy to follow). After opening, white wine only lasts about 1 to 3 days because white wine is a lot more sensitive to light and heat. White wine makes me think of a breezy summer day. Light and bubbly — with notes of citrus, melon, apple and much more. Without opening, white wine can last 1 to 2 years.


How Long Does BOX Wine Last?

  • Unopened box wine: 6-9 months
  • Opened box wine lasts: 6+ weeks

Are you training for the “Tour de Franzia?” Unlike bottled wine, box wine actually has an expiration date. Box wine should still taste fine a couple of months past its expiration date.

*Related: Winc Wine Club: review | coupons


How Long Does Fine Wine Last?

Fine Wine can last decades in a wine cellar, but once opened is subject to the same laws of physics as cheap wine.

  • Fine Red Wine: Up to 10 years
  • Fine Red wine: up to 20+ years
  • Fortified wines: Up to 100+ years

*A fortified wine is one to which a distilled spirit, such as brandy, has been added. Varieties of fortified wine include: port wine, sherry, vermouth, madeira wine, and marsala wine

It’s weird to think that a bottle of wine that has been fermenting since the nineties can go bad within days of opening, but all good things must come to an end. The reason wine goes bad is from the same thing that makes red wine taste better: oxidation. As wine is exposed to oxygen (which we can’t cut off completely after opening), it spoils.

*Related: Does Drinking Wine Make You Fat?


Make Wine Last Longer: Keep It COOL, DARK, & HORIZONTAL (Like Miles Davis on His Back!)

proper wine storage last longer

I just made that simile up, and it’s such a nice visual to remember! Anyway, in order to know how to care for your wine, you need to know how to start its life off right when you take it home. The proper place to store your bottle of wine is not going to be right by your side, but it’s okay, it will still be there when you wake up (unlike other things).

The wine that’s stacked beautifully by name on the liquor store shelves are meant to be enjoyed soon after purchasing and not stored for longer period of time. Wine cellars are the perfect, proper way to store good wine, so we want to try to replicate them. Cellars are cool, dark places with a temperature between 50-55°F (13°C).

If you have the habit of keeping your wine above the fridge, near the stove or next to the dishwasher — stop it! Every time you use one of those appliances, their heat will heat up your poor bottle of wine.

how long opened red wine lastFind a spot in your house where it’s cool and dark and where you can place your wine horizontally. Storing your wine bottle on its side keeps the cork moist, which will prevent the horror of air sneaking into the bottle and drying out the cork, causing it to crumble into your wine.

We’ve all had the experience of finally popping that cork only to find pieces of it floating in your glass (Although this doesn’t stop us from drinking it – I’ve been there).

*Takeaway: “If storing wine properly is cool, consider me Miles Davis!” The three easy steps to storing wine are keeping it cool, dark and horizontal. You can find some fun wine racks on sites like Etsy, or just create your own!

*Related: Review of Tasting Room Wine Club


How to know if wine is still good: 4 Simple Ways to Detect Bad Wine

There is no such thing as bad wine, I refuse to believe it!

  • Smell: When your wine is sour, the aroma will most likely be sour as well. Instead of a fruity aroma, there will be a musty, moldy smell like wet cardboard.
  • Sight: We love the palette of color that wines can show, so I’m sure we can tell when something is off. If red wines have a brownish hue, it’s as good as dirt. If white wines are darker than usual, ditch them. Another thing you should be able to notice as you gaze at the stream of wine pouring into your class is cloudiness.
  • Taste: Just trust your instincts when you take a sip of wine and it doesn’t make you want to smile immediately.
  • Leaky Cork: The cork gets weird when the wine gets weird. If the cork is leaky or poking out of the bottle more than usual, the bottle has overheated.

wine corksHopefully this post has provided some helpful estimates of how long wine stays good for. (In fact, we’re full of good advice, and recently wrote a post about how to ripen avocados faster!) If all of the above is too wordy or confusing, just go by our ancestors’ rule of thumb: “if something tastes disgusting, you probably shouldn’t drink it!”

Also, you can get some great bottles of wine for under $20 at your local liquor store, so no need to go crazy and order expensive wine from Harry & David or wine.com, unless it’s a gift.

Photo of Miles Davis By Antonisse, Marcel / Anefo

how tell if pear ripe

Are Your Pears RIPE? How to Tell + Make a Pear Ripen Faster

Pears are seriously underrated. They’re pretty on the outside with colors of green and sometimes red, and they’re sweet, juicy and crisp on the inside, and really healthy. Thankfully, pears have been getting more attention (maybe because of Rick Ross’ shout out) and delectable pear recipes have been sprinkled all over the internet.

Pears can be eaten raw in salads, baked in sweet treats and even pureed into a sauce. If you are fantasizing about running to your local grocery store to pick up some pears to eat immediately, not so fast; they might not be ripe yet!

Know Your Pears: How Many Types Are There?

pears make ripen quicklyBefore learning about ripening your pears, you should know about the different types of pears (there are 10 types of these curvy beauties!) and find out which ones you want.

The fancy names for these fancy fruits are Anjous (red & green), Bartlett, Red Bartlett, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, Forelle, Seckel and Starkrimson.

Each kind of pear has their own level of sweetness and texture (just like us; not all of us pear-eaters are sweet!). For instance, Bosc are sweet and best for baking.

The world-famous Royal Riviera pears from Harry & David (view coupons) are actually a type of Comice pear, grown only in Southern Oregon. The Comice is known as the sweetest and juiciest pear, and a favorite to send as a holiday gift.

Most of these pears don’t show a color change when ripening, except for the Barlett. When a Barlett pear (one of the most common pears we reach for) is ripe, the skin brightens to a yellow color – a happy color for a happy, ripe day!


How Long Do Pears Take to Ripen?

After pears are plucked off of the tree that gave them life, they aren’t ready to eat, and need some time for their sugars to develop, and then they begin to ripen.

So, how do we know when the rest of the pears are ripe? If you have your pears at room temperature on the kitchen counter, here’s how long they might take to ripen:

  • Bartlett pears: 4 to 5 days
  • Bosc and Comice (including Royal Riviera) pears: 5 to 7 days
  • Anjou pears: 7 to 10 days.

After you have a ripe pear, that’s when you can store them into your refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.

Note that some varieties of pears will develop brown spots, but this is not bad or a sign of rotting. This is called russeting which is natural and does not take away from the delicious flavor.

Freshly cut pears will start to brown quickly. If you’re serving them and don’t want them to brown, just dip them in a mixture of half-water, half-lemon juice.

*Related: Fruit, including pears, is now zero points with the new Weight Watchers points system


How to Tell If a Pear is Ripe? Check the Neck!

check pear neck ripeIt can be hard to tell when they are ripe because not all types of pears change in color.  If you bite into one, it might have an exciting crunching sound, but you won’t get that sweet, delicious taste.

TipCheck the neck: The USA Pear Bureau (is that who agent Ethan Hunt reports to?)  has an easy ripe test that can pass for all types of pears: check the neck! (I wonder if that phrase will catch on at Trump rallies? Check the neck! Check the neck!)

Simply press your thumb against the pear’s neck (the stem – don’t break its skinny neck!) If the unbroken neck yields to your pressure, then it’s a ready-to-eat pear! If it still feels very firm, try again tomorrow.

Tip: If your thumb gets buried deep in the pear, and juices run through your tightly-wrapped fingers, you are probably harboring a lot of anger. Remember, it’s a pear, not a stress-ball.

Not ripe yet? Check the neck every day until it’s pear-fectly ripe. This may take a couple days to a whole week. If you need your pears sooner, you can do some things to speed up the ripening.

How to Ripen Pears Quickly: The “Brown Paper Bag” Method

brown paper bagOne thing you can do to make a pear ripen faster is the same method known to ripen avocados faster! Pear your pear with a ripe apple or ripe banana and place them into a brown paper bag.

This traps the pear with more ethylene gas (the gas fruits give off during the ripening process) and triggers the ripening process to speed up.

You’ll want to check them a couple of times a day though, as this can double the speed at which they ripen.

Tip: Brown paper bags are preferred as, unlike colored or white bags, they don’t have dyes or inks in the paper which may leech into your fruit.

Ripen Pears Faster: The “Pear-Pressure” Method

bowl of pearsIf you’re in a hurry, another way to speed up the ripening process (once again because of the science of ethylene gas) is to “pear” a bunch of pears together in a basket. 

When one fruit ripens, the others think it’s cool and want to follow along and ripen too. You might even call it, “pear-pressure!” (are you getting the puns yet?)

*Hopefully the ripe pears won’t start cyber-bullying the unripe ones, but it happens.

How to Slow Down the Ripening Process

If you want to delay ripening, you can put pears in the refrigerator. Put them in a clear tupperware container and cover the top with Saran Wrap. This way you can keep an eye on them and not forget about them.

A pear is perfectly ripe for a short time. If you do forget about your pears for too long (How could this happen? Get your priorities straight, man!), don’t worry. Unlike most fruits, overripe pears can still be just as tasty.

Harry & David suggests that overripe pears are good texture agents in cooking and can still lend sweetness to smoothies, pies, cakes, and other purees. View recipes for Harry and David pears here.

Rick Ross’ shout out to pears:

“They give me fruit to eat… I eat pears and sh*t like that; shoutout to all the pears!”

Well, after Rick Ross’ viral pear-endorsement, all the cool kids are going to be going out and buying some, so get your pears from Harry and David while they last! (Hmmm… his body even has a pear-shape!)

how to ripen avocados faster

How to Ripen Your Avocados Faster: Overnight, or 10 Minutes!

I love avocados, you love avocados – we all love avocados. We wait patiently for when they’re dark in color on the outside, and perfectly green and creamy on the inside. But one of the biggest disappointments is when we cut into our beloved avocado only to find out it deceived us.

Sometimes, the appearance and texture of an avocado can look like its ripe, yet the inside is bruised with brown spots or still hard.

When shopping, we should keep in mind that avocados are not going to be ripe at the grocery store.

So, patience is needed, as it usually takes a couple of days to ripen. But what about when we can’t help but crave fresh guacamole or simple avocado toast and we get stuck with a rock-hard avocado? Lucky for us avocado enthusiasts, there are some tips on how to buy them and methods to use to ripen your avocado faster!

avocados ripen faster

Ripen an Avocado FASTER: “Grab a Brown Paper Bag!”

This method is as simple as the one above, with a little more waiting time. Simply place your avocado with either an apple or a banana (which I’m assuming you have if you are a fruit-junkie) in a brown paper bag.

Leave it overnight and voila – you have a ripe avocado! Not ripe yet? Keep it in the bag and check every day for the next 1-3 days until it’s ripe. Apples and bananas also release that ethylene gas that I mentioned above. So, this method traps the avocado’s ethylene gas along with the other fruit’s to speed up the ripening process. You can also ripen pears this way.

(*Tip: If you are so excited at this point by your perfectly ripe avocado, you may also use the paper bag to control hyperventilation

*Related: 1/4 of an avocado is worth 2 WW SmartPoints


Ripen an Avocado FASTEST: “The 10 Minute, Oven Method”

ovenRipening an avocado in ten minutes!? That’s right – sometimes, you don’t have to wait for the best things in life. For this avocado hack, you’re going to need an oven, a baking sheet, some tinfoil and your precious green baby.

First, preheat your oven for 200°F. After the temperature is set, wrap your whole avocado tightly in foil and pop it in for 10-15 minutes. Try to tame your excitement and hold back from peeking into the oven as if you can see it soften through the foil. Gluing your eyes to the oven will only make the 10 minutes seem longer!

Depending on how hard your avocado was to start with, 10 minutes may not be enough to soften it. If this is the case for your avocado, you can keep it in the oven for up to an hour. Just keep checking it regularly so it doesn’t overcook.

While you wait, ponder this: the reason why this method works is because of the ethylene gas that avocados produce. Usually, this gas is released slowly during the ripening process. Because your avocado is in foil, the gas is able to smother it and push the ripening process into hyperdrive!

After your avocado is done in the oven, it’s ready for you to cut open and scoop out! If it’s too hot and you have the self-control to wait even longer, place it in your fridge until it cools. avocado speed up ripening process

At the Grocery Store: Picking an Avocado

When our eyes meet those seemingly ripe avocados with the dark-green, purplish skin color, we pick them up with no hesitation. But, color is not the only deciding factor when looking for a ready-to-eat avocado. The most important factor is the feel and consistency of the avocado. Just like we’ve been taught to remember since we were young – looks aren’t everything.

You certainly can start picking out your ripe avocado by looking at its appearance. Make sure you look for any large indentations on the outer skin as this may mean that it’s bruised inside. And when judging by color, if the deep, purplish color is closer to a black hue, it’s most likely overripe. An overripe avocado will also be mushy to the touch (yuck).

Now, pick up the prized avocado that caught your eye. In the palm of your hand, gently squeeze your avocado without bruising it with your fingers (you don’t want to hurt it!).

Pretend your hand is a hug for your avocado.

You love it, don’t you? If the avocado yields to your pressure, then it’s ready for your belly! If not, then you will have to wait a couple of days for it to ripen.

(*Note: If you find yourself gritting your teeth and smashing the avocado until it runs like guacamole through your fingers, you are unfit for ANY relationship, and probably an unloveable person.)

avocado ripen fast

Ripe or Overripe? Take the Stem off

If you’re at home, you can take the stem off to tell if it’s ripe. If it comes off easily and there is green underneath, your avocado is ripe. If the removed stem reveals brown, it’s overripe, and you’ll probably find brown spots inside the fruit!

Recap: Green = Ripe, Brown = Overripe

Anyway, whatever way you decide to pick or ripen your avocado, these tips are the way to go. Now that you have your perfectly ripe avocado, find any recipe you’d like to use – new or a favorite. Cut it open, remove the pit, slice it, scoop out and enjoy!

Image credits: pixabay.com