You can actually get a nice bottle of wine for $10, Werlin says. The secret is to have a vendor you trust who can make a solid recommendation.
Wines in this price range include:
- Beaujolais nouveau: Traditionally released annually in late November and consumed within the next few seasons, "This is not a wine you save; this is a wine you drink," Werlin says. "It's meant to be fun." A good one is Georges Duboeuf.
- Cava: A Spanish sparkling wine that is often affordable, Werlin says. One budget-priced selection she likes is Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut. If your budget allows, pair it with a few ounces of Manchego cheese for a gift with a Spanish theme.
- Prosecco: A popular Italian sparkling wine, "It's a good way to have bubbly without having to pay a bundle, and I know people who prefer it over champagne," Werlin says. Zonin is a brand that is good as well as budget-priced.
And one way to test whether your vendor's recommendation hits the mark: Buy two bottles and sample one before you give the other, Werlin says. "In the end, there's no substitute for tasting."