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I love wine. It’s more than just a drink -- it’s a moment. It may sound cheesy, but as I pour a glass of red, order in sushi, and curl up with my favorite show on Netflix, I feel like the main character.
Wine has that effect. It elevates the mood, adding a sultry or bubbly aura to any event. Oftentimes, though, I find the act of drinking wine to be overcomplicated. Someone at the table wants red, but someone else wants white. Or, maybe you just want one glass on a Sunday night, and the rest of the bottle ends forgotten in your fridge.
If you’re looking for a simple way to enjoy excellent wine, meet Usual.
Embracing The Usual
While most brands pride themselves on being unusual in some way, Usual is doing the exact opposite. The brand was founded on the premise that the perfect glass of wine should be simple: great grapes, no additives, minimal intervention. Today, it’s commonplace for brands to cut corners by adding chemicals and sugars to make their wines taste better for less. Contrarily, Usual stays true to what the brand calls “the artful approach to making real wine.”
The product selection is limited, but well-curated: one red, two rosés, a brut, and a few fruity canned spritzes. The smaller selection makes it easy to find what you’re looking for. Choose from a box of 6, 12, 18, or 24 glasses (starting at $48). You can even purchase a wine subscription to get a fresh delivery of Usual wines every month. There’s really something for everyone without too many options, which can always be hard to navigate when you’re not an oenophile.
In every blend, the grapes come from sustainable farms in California. You’ll never find any pesticides, chemicals, sugars, or other funky additives. And everything is neatly packed up in a chic, beaker-shaped glass bottle.
The Perfect Pour
Usual has a lot going for it, but the packaging is by far my favorite part of the brand. It’s genius. Each bottle of Usual is 6.03 oz, equivalent to one large glass of wine poured with a heavy hand.
While I know single-serve wines have been around for some time, Usual nailed the category in a way I’ve never seen before. The sleek glass bottle is embellished with just enough writing so you know what’s inside. It looks like the kind of beverage you would find stocked in your effortlessly cool friend’s fridge. You could give me plain tap water in this bottle and I’d melt. There’s just something about the beauty of the bottle that adds to the allure of the experience.
If you can tell, I’m a sucker for great packaging, but even better than the fact that Usual is so chic is that it’s so practical. I hate wasting, but I’ve too often opened a whole bottle just to have one glass and then ultimately forget about the rest until it’s too late. Usual solves this problem seamlessly with its single-serve bottles. And, because there are no corkscrews, if you don’t finish your glass, you can just pop the top back on and save it for later. In the case that you do forget to drink it, at least you didn’t have to waste a whole bottle.
Another conundrum Usual solves is drinking with others who have different preferences. Having a wine night with your friends but everyone wants to drink something different? Does your partner hate red but it’s your favorite? With its personal serving sizes, Usual allows everyone to drink the wine they actually want to drink. Isn’t that how it should be?
The Taste Test
Of course, a wine review would be incomplete without actually tasting the wine. For the purposes of this article, I tried the Mixed Pack ($96/12 glasses) which features the Red, Rosé, and Brut.
The Brut is the one I expected to like the least, but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s delicious. I don’t like bubblies that are too sweet or too carbonated, but this one is crisp, dry, and super refreshing.
The Red is a blend of Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petite Sirah grapes. It’s dry and tannic (gives your mouth that dried out feeling that’s common from red wines), but still has a sweet, fruity flavor. If you’re intimidated by the boldness of a red wine, I think this would be a great option. I chilled it, but much preferred drinking it at room temperature.
The Rosé was the standout of the bunch, in my opinion. The blend of Grenache, Grenache Blanc, Vermentino, Cinsault, and Viognier grapes makes for a completely unique flavor. It’s fruity, but dry, and not overly sweet. It tastes like fresh strawberries in the best way. I think if you bring this to a beach day or a picnic with friends, you may become the most popular person there.
I will 100% be purchasing from Usual again. I love the idea of having the bottles around for when I have friends and family over, and those days when I’m craving just a glass for myself. Usual makes it easy to enjoy delicious wine how you want it, when you want it. And at $8 a glass, Usual feels like the perfect luxurious-but-not-breaking-the-bank-luxurious kind of wine.
5 More Reasons To Love Usual:
- Repurpose or recycle: The glass packaging not only looks great, but makes for easy recycling. Even better, use it as a bud vase or salad dressing container when you’re done.
- Subscribe and save: If you opt to get a delivery of Usual every month, not only do you get convenience, but you can save over 15%.
- Homegrown: If supporting local means something to you, you can feel good about buying Usual’s California-based wines.
- No hangover?: Okay you still may get a hangover, but with 0 added sugar and no additives, you’re less likely to suffer a day after drinking Usual.
- Pair with anything: Usual’s versatile flavors go well with whatever you’re eating. Right now, the brand has an awesome collaboration with Cheez-It, showing how to pair your favorite humble, cheesy snack with wine.