If you’re a true connoisseur of wine, you’ve probably been tempted by some sort of “wine club” or other wine subscription service. Perhaps you’re wondering whether such a program makes sense for you. The truth is that some of these services are really great, but others are considerably less robust. Even the good ones aren’t a great fit for all wine lovers, so it’s important to look at the specifics of any program before signing up for it.

The following four factors should be considered before choosing a wine subscription service.

1. Convenience

The best attribute most wine subscription services bring to the table is the convenience that they provide. Most of them start your membership with some kind of questionnaire to a get a rough sense of what you’re looking for in a wine. Once you answer it, the service can recommend wines monthly based on your stated preferences, increasing the chances that you truly enjoy every bottle.Wine subscriptions can certainly be convenient.

Some services allow you to provide feedback on your recommendations as well, further refining the selection process to your own taste. It would take a lot of research to find new wines that meet all of your criteria on your own, making wine subscription services a really time efficient way to try new options.

Did you know that subscription services in general have grown nearly 800% since 2014? Learn more about subscription services in this recent article. (Updated 10/11/18)

2. Repetition

Unfortunately, there is a downside to trying wines based on your existing preferences. You could end up with the exact same thing over and over again, virtually ensuring that you never try anything outside of your comfort zone.

For example, one test I recently took recommended four roses for my box and literally nothing else. I love roses, but I can also appreciate a good red or a subtle white. I don’t want to drink only roses for the rest of my life!

You are also limited by the manufacturers that any given wine subscription service has a relationship with. For instance, if they offer primarily white wines sourced from southern Italy, you’re getting a lot of Italian whites no matter how you fill out the questionnaire. Italian whites can be great, but there are other great options too.

3. Cost

Cost varies wildly depending on the service, so it’s very important to do your homework here. Many wine subscription services are outrageously overpriced, making you pay a premium for the little bit of convenience they provide.Some wine subscriptions are just too pricey.

However, I’ve seen values as well. One service I recently looked into charged about 15 dollars per bottle, a very affordable price point for a nice bottle of wine. If you can get a deal like that on a monthly basis, it could well be worth it for you.

Make sure to factor in shipping costs in your calculus though, as they can add up in a hurry! Wine is relatively heavy and subject to legal restrictions when shipped, so shipping and handling are often considerably more expensive than your average Amazon purchase.

4. Discover New Favorites

If you use a wine subscription service to get out of your comfort zone, there is a chance for every bottle that arrives to help you discover your new favorite wine. If you’re truly passionate about the industry, nothing could be more exciting than that! In fact, I’d even argue that it’s worth the occasional dud if a service can eventually come up big for you!

This is even more true if you rarely venture outside of your box on your own. Sometimes, you need a little extra nudge to find something spectacular.