When my friend suggested we get together to do weekly picnics, I was so excited! I bought a red gingham blanket online, and we all brought different foods and drinks like a potluck.

It was so fun, except that I was the one who brought the wine...and the bottle of red I'd been keeping for special occasions turned out to be a stinker. It was disgusting. I don't even know if it went bad or was just really gross.

For next time, I promised everyone I'd bring a better bottle. Honestly, we had a blast anyway. No one cared that the wine was bad, but I still wanted to bring a nice bottle! The liquor stores near me only have small wine inventories, and since I was working from home more often, I figured I could finally try a wine club.

There were so many, but I wanted one for real beginners - getting a whole shipment of bottles right off the bat was a little intimidating. I was searching for a half-step before full-sized bottles when I stumbled upon Tasting Room.

Tasting Room
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Tasting Room starts out with a quiz (like most wine clubs do!), but then, they send you six miniature bottles before sending shipments of 4 bottles a month. It sounded perfect - and also a super affordable option at about $13 per full-sized bottle.

I signed up to get the initial six bottle Tasting Kit for less than $10, and when it arrived, I set up a glass for red and a glass for white and went through tasting them. With the instructions, I finally understood what a "dry wine" meant (it's like that unripe fruit taste!), which helped a lot. I rated my wines, and with Tasting Room's keywords, I was able to articulate why I did - or didn't - like some of them.

After ranking, I got my full-sized shipments. I went for a mix of reds and whites, but you can choose only one if you prefer. For the picnic, I decided to bring a California Pinot Noir and a white from South Africa - a Chenin Blanc. One ol' stand-by and one wild card.

Thankfully, my friends had really gone to town on cheese buying, so we were able to drink the wines (in very swanky plastic cups) with a variety of cheeses and other snacks.

We all were obsessed with the Pinot Noir - they said it was a classic, quintessential California bottle. The white was great, too - it didn't go as well with the cheese, but it was perfect with the sandwiches we'd packed.

There were 7 of us, and for a while, we were split 3/3 between favorite bottles - our friend Megan spilled the last of her white, so she never tasted it and, unfortunately, we'll never know the true winner.

But I've still got two bottles for our next picnic, so we can do it all over again!

As I keep rating wines, my picks from Tasting Room will get more and more detailed. Still, I enjoy all wine, so I'm confident I'm going to love whatever they send me.

At such an affordable price, it's an amazing value, and the kit's so fun! Such an excellent introduction to quality wines - and such an enjoyable way to buy and experience them. Plus, it's great to always have wine on hand for any event - parties, evenings, or gifts, even. I'm sticking with Tasting Room for the long haul.

Follow this link to get your wine tasting kit for only $9.95 (that's $30 in savings!)

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