Saving on wines is much easier than seems likely, because the principal challenge is educating yourself on the subject so you can make informed decisions. If you take the subject of wine as seriously as the subject of household finance, you can understand exactly what it is you’re looking for in a wine instead of purchasing selections based on price and being disappointed (which is a common way to waste money).
Some producers may try to charge more for upcoming vintages based on poorly researched reports of a ‘global wine shortage,’ and if you see any wine offers that mention such a shortage you’ll know the merchant is a trickster. The rumour is based on a report from financial services firm Morgan Stanley that’s a thinly disguised sales pitch for a certain Australian vintner’s shares, and the international wine industry tracker says current production capacity is no bar to finding cheaper wines.
Consumer education for the thrifty oenophile
Start tasting. There is no way to train your palate by reading, although studying grapes and the wines made from them can help you interpret what your senses of taste and smell are telling you about a particular wine. Wine tasting opportunities have never been easier to find since the multiples started offering them as a sales technique, and they signal savings because the wines you can sample are frequently sold at special prices during the tasting period.
Make sure when you taste wines at a supermarket that what you’re served is at its proper temperature, because temperature can make a huge difference in your evaluation.
Find a cheap version of what you already drink. If you already have a favourite wine at £20 the bottle, focus your education on understanding that vintage and where it gets the characteristics that make it irresistible. If you start searching under £10 for a comparable bottle, you’ll have much better luck if your standards for comparison are accurate, and the more you can impart to the wine seller about what you’re looking for, the better your chances of savings success.
Learn to love the cheap wines. If you despair of acquiring the knowledge you need to distinguish among wines, you’re not alone. A recent study by the London Wine Academy suggests many amateur oenophiles prefer cheap wines to their expensive counterparts, and the reason for that lies in the difference between what amateurs and professionals look for in a wine. Amateurs want a smooth wine, while the pros seek complexity.
Where to find decent wines for under £10
If you’re ready to begin your venture into the world of cheap wines, the supermarkets stock the widest range of candidates, and if you familiarise yourself with the choices at your local outpost you can switch at will to remain within your chosen price range. £10 as an upper limit gives you access to every wine you’ll ever need for ordinary use, and you can keep your eye on a special £20 bottle for special occasions. A payday loan could help you celebrate those special occasions in style, just check the rates available to you beforehand.
Aldi. Aldi sells some high-quality, low-price brands that were spotlighted in the International Wine Challenge, and stocks a great variety in that range. For under four pounds, you can find Italian red or white, Spanish rosé, claret, chardonnay, chenin blanc, and shiraz. Between four and six pounds, there’s port, cream sherry, Mâcon-Villages, cabernet, bordeaux, pinotage, cava brut, and a host of other wines.
Tesco. For exceptional savings on desirable wines, try the bin ends page (currently offering a case Louis Jadot beaujolais at eight pounds the bottle) and the mixed cases page (World of Sauvignon Blanc mix for £6.17 per bottle, whites for £5.50, shiraz mix for £6, 55 choices total).
Waitrose. Waitrose has a simple online database system with a low to high sort for finding its cheapest selections, beginning at under £3 (the sweet Premium Bucks Fizz, which should be approached with caution). The five-pound range includes Crabbie’s ginger, interesting whites like frascati, sauvignon blanc, and pinot grigio, and even Cinzano.
Window shopping. If you want to peek at deals on the serious vintages, try a deal finder website like Snooth, which provides a special interface for those in the wine trad