Tips For Buying Awesome Wine That Won’t Break the Bank
By Taryn Lachter, Staff Writer
Understanding and appreciating the true greatness of wine is something that takes time and knowledge, and also a little bit of money. The misconception usually is that the higher the quality, the higher the price will be for a good bottle, however, that isn’t always the case. Of course, if you’re in France and the wine is at it’s perfect age and the grapes came from Bordeaux, you may pay a higher price, but it doesn’t always have to be that way.
There is something called the Quality Price Ratio, or the QPR, that is simply the value of wine versus the cost of the wine. Granted, buying the four dollar bottle from your grocery store is probably going to taste like four dollars no matter what, but there is no reason you can’t get a fantastic bottle for under $15 or $20. Simply put, there is no correlation between the price of the wine and its quality. Here are a few tips to getting great wine for an affordable cost:
Pay Attention to Regions
Of course, there are many, many regions that produce fantastic wines, but some are better than others for their costs. We know that France is the number one location for producing the highest quality wines, which is why they tend to cost more. Rather than go for the the fanciest of the Francois, check out vineyards from places like Portugal, Spain and Chile. You’ll find a wider variety of wines across a larger spectrum of prices.
Track Large Brands Back to the Source
Many of the lower cost wines (read: under ten dollars) come from big brands, or sub-labels of big brands. If there’s a particular bottle you’re fond of, track it back to the source and seek out other labels like it. For example, Jackson Family Estates is very popular, and they have wineries all over the world, meaning they have many brands.
We all know the rules about pairing wines with foods, and that there are only certain meats to be eaten with red or white wines, and all that good stuff. However, it’s okay to break those rules if you’re on a budget. Red wines tend to be slightly higher in price so if you’re looking for quality that won’t break the bank, consider switching to whites, or maybe just alternate some in instead of reds.
Buy in Bulk
Find a brand or a bottle that you love? Buy it in bulk! We all know the beauty of Costco, so apply that to your wine buying for a more affordable purchase. Many wineries sell online now too, making it easier to buy more bottles at once and having them shipped to your home. Check out places like Total Wine or BevMo for bulk buying. Even if you’re buying in a store and not online, many will offer you great discounts for buying six or 12 bottles at a time.
Blends Are Better
The beauty of a blend is that the winery mixes the expensive stuff with the less expensive stuff to make a more average-priced bottle of wine. This is a great route to go if you want a nice red wine but can’t afford to drop the dollars for an expensive bottle. Look for blends that are based on Malbecs, Cabernet Sauvignons or Merlots, and avoid those made with Pinot Noir.