You may want to impress a date
or live a la the Europeans, but your wallet won't let you go wild with wine. Thankfully,
there is a way to tingle your tastebuds while keeping the jingle of change in
To find cheap wine, don't limit yourself to the screw-top
bottles at the convenience store. Good bargains are everywhere -- local wineries,
small liquor stores, national chains and your grocery store.
"Don't be afraid to discover and explore.
It's supposed to be enjoyed," says Gail Bradney,
author of "Best Wines! Gold Medal Winners from
the Leading Competitions Worldwide." "You
absolutely don't have to spend a lot of money."
wines at terrific prices ... by following these tips.
for different varietals (that means "grapes" for us regular folks).
you know there are at least a dozen other kinds of wine besides Chardonnay, Cabernet
Sauvignon and white Zinfandel? Don't keep buying those old popular standbys. They're
the most common, and therefore least likely to be a bargain. Yes, you can find
cheap Chards and Cabs, but that won't mean they're good.
more likely to find a good price on a different white wine such as Pinot Grigio
or Chenin Blanc. You can also find a treasure in a bottle of red wine like Malbec
or Shiraz. Besides saving some money, you might learn a thing or two -- even enough
to become a certified wine snob.
Look for different countries.
Yes, France is the home of some of the finest wines in the
world and some of the most expensive. Sure, if you hunt long enough, you can find
an inexpensive and palatable French wine. But save yourself some time by checking
out a lesser-appreciated country, such as South Africa or Argentina. You'll find
some fabulous bargains.
"Find emerging wineries or wine
regions," advises Bradney. "There are some incredible wines from Chile and Argentina.
They're inexpensive because they're trying to break into the market." She says
some of these South American wines may cost less than $10, but they are the same
quality as an established winery's $30 bottle.
You can also
look for less common regions within the U.S. Though California dominates American
wines, nearly every state produces wines. New York and Missouri are two of the
largest producers after California.
Look for winners.
"I only buy gold medal winners," reveals Bradney. Unfortunately,
it can be difficult to find out which wines have won competitions without a lot
of research. That's why Bradney wrote her book. A chapter in her book identifies
Best Bargain Wines that cost less than $15 and have won a gold medal in a tasting
Even if you can't find a particular award-winning
wine, because that year has sold out or it's not available in your area, try another
wine by the same winery. "Some of the same wineries win awards year after year,"
says Bradney. "It's really the winemaker. A good winemaker can work with what
If you're lucky
enough to live near a winery, you might save some money buying direct. But you
can find bargain wines everywhere. You'll get more expert help at a wine store,
but you'll probably find great prices at the grocery store. And when you find
something you like, better buy more than one bottle. Because before you know it,
that vintage will be gone forever.