The two co-founded Usual Wines with the goal of making quality wine that doesn't come in a 750 mL bottle. No cork, just a twist off cap and a glass you can grab out of the fridge after work without thinking through what happens to the rest of the bottle. The founders want Usual to be your new go-to (hence the name), and they know how you prefer your wine: delivered directly to your door, like a true millennial.
With ease in mind—do you really know the difference between a cabernet and a merlot?—they launched last year with just two varietals: a red blend and a rosé. The red is made with Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown in Sonoma and has 13 percent ABV. The rosé mixes Syrah, Sangiovese, and Malbec grapes from Santa Barbara and has the same amount of alcohol. Both come in 6.3-ounce bottles, equal to 187 mL, or about a fourth of a bottle of wine. It's a tall boy, if you will—larger than an average four- or five-ounce pour, but not so large you'd worry about not finishing it in one sitting.
This fall, after many customer requests, Matt and Rachel added a limited-edition sparkling white wine to the line-up. People liked Usual Brut so much, it sold out in three weeks. Editors at Delish who tasted the drink agreed—this stuff tastes good. It's easy to drink, has just the right amount of bubbles, and isn't overly dry or sweet.
And the packaging? It's made to stand out on a shelf. Or in 2019 speak, on Instagram. Right now, Usual Wines is strictly an e-commerce business. They're experimenting with pop-up shops and planning a brick-and-mortar store, spaces where the bottles' unusual design will surely draw people in (already, in Los Angeles, their product is sold at Hi-Lo Liquor Market). Instead of being tube-shaped, the glasses almost look like beakers. The triangular shape is eye-catching and easy to hold. The glass bottles, it's worth noting, are fully recyclable.
Coto Red Wine
Design and quality aside, the brand has one more trick up its sleeve when it comes to differentiating themselves in the crowded space that is personal-size booze right now: accessibility. Each box of wine comes with a card inside: "Hi, This is your personal wine hotline. My number is 415-941-0440. Save it in your phone. Text me when you want more wine," it reads. Then, underlined so as to drive the point home, it says "Seriously."
And you can use it! You can text that number to tell Usual Wines reps you love the wine, or hate it, or would like to see a new varietal, or would like another shipment sent to your house (since you've already purchased a box, they have your card and address on file). It's pretty genius: People are comfortable texting, so why not give them that option, the co-founders explain. Plus, the instant feedback only helps the business improve.
For those who've not yet tried it, single-flavor or mixed packs can be purchased online in quantities of 6, 12, 18, or 24. Between the insanely easy re-order process, nontraditional design, and most importantly, the high-quality wine, expect to see much more from Usual Wines in the months and years to come.
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