One of the pros of signing up to a monthly wine subscription service is that you’ll always have a bottle on hand chosen by someone who knows what’s what in the wine world.

It’s an easy way to find new drops, but you also risk uncorking the occasional bottle you wish you hadn’t.

Secret Bottle mitigates the risks of the lucky dip by sending out single-glass pours each month – meaning you can try before you buy.

“We spend a lot of time tasting wines and discovering the hard-to-find vineyards across Australia,” says its chief wine activist Paul Walton (the “activist” title is a nod to employees’ commitment to sourcing high-quality wines at fair prices, both for consumers and producers).

Before the pandemic that meant sommeliers travelling to some of the 75 or so wine regions from which the company sources its wines, as well as attending multiple wine festivals and events.

“Each month we select three different producers from three regions across the country and we feature a red and white wine from each of them,” says Walton. “We try to always include something that is a little different whether it be from a region, a varietal, or a style that is less known or a little different.”

Secret Bottle uses technology from Bordeaux, France, to decant the wines into 100-millilitre pours, which are delivered to members with the option to then buy their favourites at discount prices.

“It’s a great way to expand your wine knowledge – complete with tasting notes and wine education – and try something new without committing to buying a full bottle,” Walton says.

Subscriptions can be three, six or 12 months, costing from around $37 a month.

The vast majority of the wines come from independent, family owned and operated wineries – many of which were hit hard by bushfires, Covid-19 and recent trade sanctions from China.

“Supporting local has always been a focus of ours, but it is more important than ever to support Australian producers in 2020,” says Walton. “Many winemakers were affected by the bushfires at the beginning of the year, whether it was fires directly burning down vineyards in the Adelaide Hills, or smoke tainting the grapes across many regions. [It’s been] an especially challenging year for the wine industry, with more uncertainty ahead.”

Christmas tasting subscriptions and gift cards are available now. Spend $149 for free shipping.

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