When I was 18 I didn’t drink wine, I instead relied on the power of discount vodka and cheap lager to provide the hang-over rite of passage that we must all endure. By my early 20’s I still didn’t know anything so I would try to impress girls by dropping phrases such as ‘plummy’ or ‘good in the nose’ into any wine related chat and needless to say I often walked home alone. After I hit 30 I started to understand that the good stuff was a revelation, streets apart from the paint stripper I had suffered through in previous decades. I’ve done all the supermarket three for a tenner specials, the try before you buy taster evenings and had a few subscriptions to the big online wine clubs and still usually end up with a bottle of £10 disappointment, so how does Clara offer anything different?
Imagine a friend who sends you a few bottles of wine you’ve never heard of and which you would never have chosen for yourself with a note that says, “I thought you might like this.” Well, that’s Clara. Clara thinks about the sort of wine you like and delivers three bottles every month; maybe one to take the edge off the working week, maybe one to take along to an evening with friends and maybe one for, well just because. The idea is that you don’t end up spending hours trying to choose a case of wine only to end up with the same stuff as you ordered last time because you couldn’t decide what to go for, or scouring the supermarket shelves looking for a bottle with a label that you think seems vaguely decent without any actual knowledge of the quality of the wine inside. Clara thinks they can send you something that they are pretty sure you’ll already like.
The premise seemed sound enough and I was interested so signed up without too much persuasion. The process was simple and straightforward; I was guided through a series of questions such as ‘You’re at a friends house and they’ve laid on several deserts, which two do you want to taste? Tangy lemon and lime tarts, light peach macaroons, pineapple and mango crumble, summer berry crumble or chocolate brownie with dark cherries’. They reminded me of one of those personality tests that go around Facebook to tell you what kind of animal super hero you would be (a Parrot with the ability to shoot ice lasers from my eyes, just FYI). It’s loads of fun and I could see where Clara was drawing comparisons with the type of wine that matched the question. Did it work? Did they get a wine based insight into my psyche? Who knows, but it was a very interesting way to learn about what kind of wine they thought I liked.
Once complete, the questionnaire allocates you to a ‘Tribe’, a grouping that designates what kind of wines Clara thinks you will enjoy. With names such as ‘Dazzler’, ‘Lushter’ or ‘Snapper’, there is plenty of opportunity for things to turn into an over-enthusiastically corporate disaster but I was put into the Fizzler Tribe and while inevitable doubts remain as to if I’m now in the Hufflepuff of the Clara world (because who do you know who wants to be in Hufflepuff?), everything I’d seen so far is fun, informative and enjoyable to be a part of. A Fizzler is apparently fresh fun and fruity and you know what? I do like that kind of wine, however I also like other kinds too depending on my mood so I was sufficiently intrigued as to what I would be sent.
My first box arrived in plain brown card, classy and well made. The three bottles contained within were perfectly protected and made it out to me in perfect condition as well as some additional information about each of the wines that I had received along with more background details on the rest of the Clara tribes and shouting loudly that ‘Clara is the UK’s only AI-based, data-driven, 100% personalised wine subscription service, set up by non-experts empowering other non-experts to learn about wine in a relaxed environment.’ The cards really are great and give you just enough information about the wines in the box to pretend that you know what you’re talking about to impress your friends.
And I can attest that the bottles that were sent to me, based on my tribe and personality details, really were good. The white Viognier was as full of as much fruity and floral joy as you can hope for and the proscecco brought exactly the right kind of party to an unexpectedly warm Spring day. I don’t know if I’m going to get any more yet but if I do then you can be sure I’ll tell you all about them. Rates are £48 per month and you can choose 1, 3, 6 or 12 month options. Admittedly that starts getting pricey as you’re paying it all out upfront but the quality of the product is great. I certainly have no complaints.
Clara is a wine club for people who like wine but are too busy or not interested enough to put the time in to working out the huge amount of complexity involved in picking a good bottle. They just want someone who knows what their talking about to come along and say, I know what you like and the chances are you’ll like this. That’s me then basically. So knowing almost nothing about wine and having been given three bottles of very good vino, the question I know you’re asking yourself is: have I used it to show off already? You’re damn right I have.
Clara sent me this pack for free but should the mood take you, you can sign up to Clara here and start exploring some amazing new wines for yourself that you never knew you wanted. Salute!