Tips On Shopping For Wine, Red Vs. White & Recognizing A Cheap Wine From A Bargain
I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to spend a lot of money on wines when I’m at home and by myself.
And in this COVID-19 era, I’m at home and by myself a lot these days. As such, in order to add a little “excitement” to my evenings since I can’t go out to a pub, club or even a restaurant, I enjoy having wine with my dinner.
So I’ve become a master at being able to find great bargains on quality wines and in this article I will tell you how and where to enjoy good yet inexpensive wines for stay-home drinking. And when I say bargains, I’m talking $5 or less a bottle.
Where You Shop For Wines Is Important
First, don’t shop the major grocery stores. They only have major-brand products from the big wineries. Yes, you can indeed fine sales and many stores offer one bottle free when you buy five, but you generally you don’t get some of the real bargains.
Instead, go to Trader Joe’s or a local bargain market. I use Grocery Outlet, and it’s great.
The reason these places are so great for wines is because they often get excess wines direct from the wineries. You can tell when this happens at Trader Joe’s because they put out the wines in big displays. Not all of them are $5 or less but most are less than $10.
The day I wrote this article, in fact, I picked up four different wines for $3,99 each. And there were more available, too. Two of my all-time favorites are Geiser Peak ($4.99) and Barrel Ax ($3.99), both outstanding reds from Napa Valley. These wines are limited or sell-offs, so they come and go and are not there all the time. But that’s why they are so cheap!
TJs does have regular wines at great bargains everyday. My favorites are both the reds and whites that starts with a “P” and has a lion on the label. Sorry, can’t remember the name offhand and with a Grocery Outlet just down the street I don’t make it into TJ’s nearly as often as I did in the past.
Costco and other warehouse stores have their own wines for less than $5 and these can be decent or really bad. You’ll have to get a bottle and judge for yourself.
Reds vs. Whites In Bargain Wines
In my experiences, inexpensive red wines are a whole lot more drinkable than white ones. In fact, most white wines I’ve tried for less than $7-8 are terrible. Red wines just have more flavor and I suggest sticking with reds when purchasing bargain wines. Personally, I prefer red blends.
Being Able To Tell A Quality Wine From a Cheap One
Check the label. The first thing I look for is the location of the winery. Now I may be slanted in my opinion here since I live in the Golden State but whenever I see California, I am confident that I am getting a quality wine. And here, California wines are easy to find. That may not be the case in your location.
Another thing to look for on the label is the label itself. If it is basic with mostly a couple of words and no artwork or only one color on it, chances are it’s a low-quality wine. Now I know it’s easy to be drawn in by a nice-looking label, it has been my experiences that the nicer the label, the better the wine.
Bad cheap wines just look cheap by their labels.
Bottom line is that a lot of this is trial and error and your taste may be different from mine or other people. But if you follow these principals – going to local markets, looking for reds and paying attention to the labels – then you can find enough good and inexpensive wines for drinking at home during stay-home orders.