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A Review of Tasting Room By Lot18

Posted: Jun 28 2013

Over the last few weeks, my Facebook feed has been filled with an ad for Tasting Room by Lot 18.  Maybe you’ve seen it too.  Curiosity got the best of me and I talked my wife into giving it a try. This review is a brief explanation of what TastingRoom is, what to expect, and if it is worth the price.

So what is TastingRoom by Lot 18?  Essentially it is a personalized wine club that helps you to discover what your preferred wines are and customizes the club selections to your palate.  This is done by creating a wine profile after tasting a few samples and rating them online.

Getting Started

It is easy to get started with TastingRoom provided you are of legal drinking age and live in a state that allows shipment of wine.  Fortunately for us, we meet both of these conditions.  The first step is to sign up to received your wine sample packet by heading over to www.tastingroom.com.  For $9.99 you get a box of samples.  This price includes shipping.

Shortly after signing up, about 5 days later, we received the sample package in the mail.  When you open it up you will find 6 small sample sized bottles of wine.  These bottles are packaged using the TastingRooom proprietary technology to get the wine into the tiny bottles and without losing quality.  We received 2 whites and 4 reds.  I’m not sure if everybody gets the same samples or it varies depending on where you live, so this photo may not be exactly what you get.

Review of Tasting Room by Lot18

To get started tasting the samples you need some wine glasses (check) and a laptop or tablet (check).  Inside the sample packet you will receive a little card with numbered on each side, 1 and 2 on the front, 3-6 on the back.  If you look closely at the mini bottles you will see that they are numbered too.  The next step is to log into your account at TastingRoom and go to rate your wines.   From here, there is some easy to follow directions and the site will guide you thru the tasting process.

The rating program starts with the white wines.  You pour the white wine samples into two separate glasses and set each glass on the corresponding number 1 or 2. Wine number 1 was the Ten Sisters Sauvignon Blanc and Wine 2 was the Loophole Chardonnay.  The website then guides you to taste each wine.  Tasting Rooms asks do you prefer Wine 1 or 2.  You click on the image of the wine that you like the best and viola you are done with the whites.  We preferred Wine #1 the Ten Sisters Sauvignon Blanc. At this point you can dump the wines or drink them.  We chose to drink them.

White WInes Tasting Room by Lot 18

Red wines were up next.  The red wines we received in tasting order were Hang Time Pinot Noir (3), Tour St. Georges Bordeaux (4), Elelin Malbec (5), and Fortuna Cabernet (6).  Tasting Room starts you off with wine 3 & 4 and you chose which you prefer.  We chose wine 4. Next we were to compare wine 4 with wine 5, again we chose 4.  Last we were asked to compare wine 4 with wine 6, and again wine 4 was preferred.  I’m guessing that if you chose one of the other wines you liked better that would have been the wine you continued comparing the other wines too.  And that concludes the tasting portion.

Red Wines Tasting Room by Lot 18

After you've completed the sample tasting, the computers start cranking up and instantly return your tasting profiles for reds & whites.  No surprise, we prefer earthy natural wines.  From your profile TastingRoom creates a personalized wine club for you.  About 30 days later you receive your first club shipment and each month after until you cancel.  We elected to cancel, simply because, we have our own wine store.  The wine selections that were scheduled to ship were quality wines and in the price range you'd expect to get for the cost of the club.

Final Thoughts

I think overall it did recommend a wine profile that I think we already knew we had so that was pretty accurate.  I did have some questions about how the results would have been different with different samples.  Most of the time, I do not prefer Bordeaux over other wine.  I chose the Bordeaux over each wine for the following reasons:

  1. Pinot tasted like strawberry water and was too fruity. I don’t always think this of Pinot
  2. The Malbec had a grain alcohol bite to it that made me prefer the Bordeaux more.
  3. The Cab which usually is my favorite, I didn't choose because I thought it tasted like ham.  My wife said “bacon”

Perhaps if the wine samples were different we would have had different results.

You may be asking, is it worth it, or maybe you’re asking why a wine store would rate its competitor?  Well, I can answer both questions.

For $9.99 you get a fun little wine game to play.  For most wine aficionados, I don’t think you are going to learn anything about your palate that you may not already know, so this may not be worth it to you.  If you like gadgets and trying new things, this could be a fun thing for you, and for $10 it’s a good value.  If you are just getting started with wine and don’t know your palate or what you like, I definitely think it’s worth a try, as it will steer you in the right direction. But take the results with a grain of salt, just because you didn’t like one of the samples doesn’t mean you will not like every wine varietal that is similar, and as your palate evolves you may find yourself liking wines you previously didn’t care for.  The good news is you have a starting point and if you continue with the clubs, you will get some good wines that you’ll probably love.

We decided to review our competitors’ products because we want to know what’s out there and what the consumer has options.  We think it’s great anytime a company can do something that is going to get more wine in front of more customers.  There’s a saying that a rising tide lifts all ships and it applies in the wine industry.  If TastingRoom can get more people interested in drinking wine; then that’s just going to help grow the whole industry.

For a better way of experiencing new wines, join the Vino Paraiso wine club where you receive 2 great wines, risk free each month. The wines we feature are our personal recommendations. Getting started is easy, and you can cancel anytime.

By: Nathan Peo helps out his wife, Yvette, with the day to day challenges of tasting wine for the family owned small-business, Vino Paraiso Wine Store.  You can also follow him on Twitter @VPWinestore. Cheers!

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  • Posted by Jackeline on May 21, 2015

    Terrible wine and service. They claim not to be able to give partial refunds when they ship 12 bottles without acknowledgement and when at least 4 bottles that are repeats. The wine is rancid and they have no solution! LOT 18 wine was not so bad when I ordered it over a year ago, but this Tasting Room experience has scarred my view of wine clubs. They are just waiting for a class action.

  • Posted by tina on April 16, 2015


  • Posted by Sy Rodriguez on March 09, 2015

    DO NOT USE THIS SERVICE; it is a SCAM. I can personally echo the experiences expressed by the thirteen (13) complainants listed above. This outfit charged my account $168. for a case of wine I did not order. I received the tasting kit and assumed they were free samples (as I did not request them), I gave them away to a neighbor who was moving. I NEVER logged onto their address and thought nothing more of this until I received the notice that MY shipment had been shipped and my account charged. I called and spoke to one of the rudest customer service representatives I have ever encountered. I could literally not get a word in edgewise. She advised me that I could not cancel the order because it had already been processed (I did not get a tracking number, so how could it already have shipped?) She told me I could refuse shipment on the order, but I would be held liable for all shipping charges (including return shipping) as well as a restocking fee. I demanded to speak to a supervisor and was told I could not speak to one at that time, and that a supervisor would contact me later. Out of curiosity, I contacted the neighbor I gave the wine samples to and was told they were ‘garbage’ wine. I was left fuming. I have contacted my bank and filed a complaint with them and will likely follow up with Attorney General’s office and any on-line means that are available to me. I visited their Facebook page and left a comment, but this will likely be deleted as they screen all comments before allowing them to post. I don’t understand how this outfit gets away with doing business in this manner.

  • Posted by Gill on December 17, 2014

    As everyone else here, cute tasting box with horrible wine. Tried to cancel and they still shipped the next shipment and charged me $15 re-stocking fees

  • Posted by harpsm on December 10, 2014

    Maybe Tasting Room has changed the way they operate, but it’s easy to cancel online at https://www.tastingroom.com/account. Just a few clicks and I got a cancellation confirmation emailed to me. The wine samples they sent me were mostly pretty bad, but they don’t seem like a shady business.

  • Posted by Christina on October 14, 2014

    I received the six bottles today of wine I did not order and would not let me cancel even though I called ten days ago as soon as I received an email I was being charged $63 for six bottles of wine I never ordered. I Googled all of the wineries on the bottles. All are non-existent wineries. I think this is an even bigger scam than we are aware of. I am going to find out if any newspaper or magazine wants to do an expose on tastingroom.com / Lot18 I think they simply print beautiful labels and put it on bottles of wine that are actually lots of cheap wine sold by wineries for next to nothing when a batch does not come out right. There is an interesting article about $2 buck chuck not really being wine but actually sort of a leftover from wine making. I think tastingroom.com lot18 is doing something similar.

  • Posted by Christina on October 08, 2014

    I had the exact same experience as everyone else. Jerome, the address I have for them is in New York. I think they have a few addresses linked with their business. As a business owner, it is so sad to see a business deceiving it’s customers. It would be so easy if they just sold good wine to the customer, after YOU ACTUALLY ORDER IT! I got my samples, had no time to try them, received an email today: shipment on the way! Pleaded with customer service to call their warehouse and cancel the shipment, (especially after seeing the list of wines they were sending with names I recognize from brands sold at Grocery Outlet for $3.99!) They make no effort to cancel the shipment. I emailed the manager, same lame story: I agreed to the TERMS AND CONDITIONS.. Filed a complaint with the BBB noticed Tasting Room doesn’t even come up in the BBB search..it is under LOT18 so I hope somehow anyone who does search BBB for Tasting Room sees the 52 plus complaints filed in New York alone! Called my bank to cancel, was told if it’s in the Terms and Conditions can not cancel. So I was charged $63 for six bottles of wine that were said to have shipped today :( What a pathetic scam! I live in California so I will file with that BBB as well and perhaps as many as I can, and make sure I use the name tastingroom.com in my complaint. Please file a complaint with BBB if you haven’t already. It only takes a minute.

  • Posted by Nancy on October 02, 2014

    My experience is similar to some of those of you who found the TR to be a type of scam. I thought it would be fun evening for my friend and me to taste the wines, but there were only one or two that we actually liked. When we tried to rate the wines online, my account was not recognized and we never entered a profile online. A week or so later, I received 6 bottles that I did not recall ordering. When I tried to return these, the TR representative reported that they do not take returns! At least it was not a lot of money down the drain. I am afraid the wine might either go down the drain or perhaps be used in cooking!

    Wine lover beware, this is not a good value for your money and is a waste of time. Learned the hard way,

  • Posted by Eric on September 02, 2014

    Agreed with everything above. They send you a tasting kit to customize the wines to your taste, but the next case is already on its way before you have time to respond. You receive the 6 bottles and they taste like $10 bottles; not a very good $10 bottle, but an average one. Then the big order comes and they don’t take returns and you cancel. They say you can’t return it because wines are perishable and get hurt during shipping, making it impossible to resell. Tell that to the WSJ wine club and their excellent customer service. I will not touch a single bottle and will not pay for this. Do not sign up. It’s not a scam, but it’s mediocre wine with terrible service.

  • Posted by jay t on August 20, 2014

    this service is PURE FRAUD
    they charge for deliveries never made, and will not refund. make deliveries w/o notification.
    Had to get Credit Card company to cancel the charges.

  • Posted by karen on August 12, 2014

    The tasting room is a huge scam. I signed up and got the first shipment of 6 bottles for $60 with free shipping, as promised. The next shipment was 12 bottles(2 of each brand/type of wine) and they charged me $149 plus shipping. I emailed protesting and they cancelled my account but refused to refund any money or accept the return of any wine. They said it was in the user agreement but I didn’t see any of that information in it.

  • Posted by Brian on July 29, 2014

    Sadly I did not cancel in time, according to Tasting Room / Lot 18 so they are trying to force to to accept a shipment for $149.00 plus $19.99 shipping.
    Wine is just OK at best. Customer service is terrible, they do not answer their phone, EVER!
    In the beginning the 6 bottles for $9.99 seemed like a great deal, but there is so little wine and you need to taste them a couple times. It was just OK at best, I should have cancelled on the spot then.
    Customer service reply to my request on why I didn’t know the shipment would be coming and give me a chance to cancel and the stated they sent me two emails, I went back to look for them and I cannot find anything from them. She then stated her technical department has confirmed I opened them.
    They are pretty tech savvy for a company that does not answer the telephone.
    Back and forth with more than a few emails now, but they still won’t pick up a phone.

    This company even if they had a good product is not worth the hassle.

  • Posted by Larry on July 25, 2014

    Yep definitely a some sort of scam. No way to cancel account. It’s exactly as Jerome describes it. I will be refusing all further shipments and informing Amex to not process anymore charges from them. The wine selection they sent me was garbage.

  • Posted by Emily on July 23, 2014

    Yeah don’t use this service, it’s a borderline scam. They are terrible. It’s basically the Columbia Record House of Wine. The wine is just OK at best. Go to Trader Joes instead.

  • Posted by Jerome on July 14, 2014

    This is a SCAM!

    I tried to cancel my subscription to http://www.tastingroom.com several times, throughout June 23 thru July 3, 2014. It is impossible to cancel your account/delete your subscription electronically through their website. There is no way to delete your credit card information through their website as well. Additionally, I attempted to call http://www.tastingroom.com throughout the workweek. However, each attempt I made, which was about five, required an hour plus wait.

    My wife and I initially subscribed to enjoy a wine tasting kit for $9.99, however, I did not know that my credit card was going to be charged $59.99 a month later for a big box of wine. As soon as I received email notification that items were being shipped to my address I called http://www.tastingroom.com again, and after waiting an hour I gave up. I then sent an email to their general email address (thinking that it was a donotreply address) as a last attempt to cancel everything. I received a reply from Melissa who told me that because the order had already been processed, and because we checked the terms and conditions box, I could not cancel or return the items. She also stated that tastingroom.com sends notification emails. However, the notification emails have subjects like, “Great Wine Coming Your Way” or “Open a Bottle and Get Grilling”. It wasn’t until I received “Your club shipment is on its way” when I realized an order had been placed. I also believe that Melissa still had the entire day on 7/7/14 to cancel this order which was placed without my knowledge, as it was processed on 7/8/14. But she responded to my email late.

    I invite you to call their customer service any day they are open before subscribing and attempt to speak with someone. It is impossible to cancel your account, I will personally drive to California and dump the wine on their doorstep. What a scam!


  • Posted by Andy on June 10, 2014

    We received the cute tasting box and was immediately disappointed. Not a single taste was decent. The credit card I had on order was due to expire and I let it lapse. I received several emails from tasting room stating my card had expired. Move the clock forward 6 months later and all of a sudden an unmarked box shipped from a shipping house near Napa Airport arrived. We were completely perplex on the source of the box which contained 6 bottles of wine. On the wine labels we noticed in fine print lot18. This led me to login to the tasting room account to see that somehow my credit card had been updated. I associated the credit card update with a recent online purchase at ticketfly. We tried 2 of the bottles and found the wine absolutely terrible – just like the cute taster bottles. So – we are in the hole for about $70 and I have tried to cancel via email and phone calls with no response yet.
    I strongly advise not subscribing to this club. They are sending junk wine with marked up prices. The wine is not $7 quality, the wine is very much $2 quality.

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