Q for you, fans of wine (aka everyone) do you think your tastebuds and your buds’ tastebuds can actually tell the difference between a cheapy bottle of Chuck and a glass of the stuff you wouldn’t dare order unless your parents were taking you out for dinner on them? This just-launched Kickstarter wants to show you that everything you thought about wine is wrong. Or… right.

The latest pledge-worthy crowdfunding campaign we’re putting on your radar is Bottle Bracket, an interactive wine club that turns wine tasting into a game for you and your friends. This isn’t your red cupped beer pong or your similarly outfitted flip cup, but it is angling to be your new favorite activity that combines alcohol + revelry. The idea, like many others of the great to genius varieties, all started with a bet. A friend challenged psychology researcher Natalie Johnson that she couldn’t tell the difference between a $20 and $40 bottle of fermented grape juice when sipping both “blind.” She took the bet, lost and Bottle Bracket was born.


A monthly wine club with the competitive social spirit of March madness, Bottle Bracket sends you four bottles of wine (all locally sourced from wineries the team has visited and vetted) with their labels hidden, plus playing cards and a spill-proof game board printed with a bracket on it. You assemble your favorite wine-os into four groups, give everyone two cups and it’s game on, first pitting wines 1 + 2 together, then 3 + 4, deciding which of each is the more expensive sip. From there, the supposed pricier pair faces off and the chosen cheaper set goes cork to cork and so on ‘til each team has ranked the four bottles from most to least expensive. Then, it’s time to reveal and see who’s playing favorites and who should quit their job for that winery life in Sonoma County STAT.


From there you’ll have the option to take your party’s ratings to the web to see how you and your group compared to your fellow Bottle Bracket-eers. Save your favorites, discover new wines to try and order bottles directly through the site while you wait patiently for next month’s shipment.


Two things I should disclose while I have you guys asking for a refill: I am friends with the three women who founded this company (see: Agatha Kluk, Natalie Johnson and Emily Gu above) and launched the Kickstarter (but I was pretty sure you would forgive me for introducing you to them and your next game night. The other thing I should admit is a little dicier: I, um, well, I don’t — don’t is a strong word, but, um, also a correct one — like… wine. You heard me — I DON’T LIKE WINE. SORRY, okay!? I’ve tried, but it’s all bitter juice to me. This unfortunate fact should make me everyone’s least favorite Bottle Bracket partner, and yet, when I got a test run last month I performed on par with friend and BB co-founder Agatha (a lawyer, btw, #girlboss much?) who has a dog she named after a favorite variety of white wine.


Whether you’re a sommelier-in-training, a devout follower of Franzia or a gal who just wants to attend the tasting to eat cheese and gossip, Bottle Bracket is about to make game nights a thing again all while introducing you to new, local (for you West Coasters) wineries you might love. When someone tells me to “just pick up a bottle of wine” as a response to my “what can I bring tonight?!” text (#manners) it’s like asking a goldfish for advice on sneakers. After a round of BB, I’ll pick up that bottle of $20 red that three out of four teams thought was the most expensive and all enjoyed, now knowing it’s a clear crowdpleaser.


Bottle Bracket will start shipping their first round to select states on April 1 if you sign up before March 22. The membership rings in at $100 a month (when you sign up there’s a Venmo prompt in case you want to share the love with the folks you’ll be playing with ;) but check out their Kickstarter page for pledges to score membership discounts, access to tasting parties, vineyard visits and more. If they meet their goal over the next month, they plan to expand shipment to more states later this summer. Don’t forget to invite me over for your first Bottle Bracket night. I’ll bring the cheese…

Do you think you could tell the difference between a $10 and $40 bottle of wine? Share below!