Two things make wine beginners successful shoppers:
- A wine budget
- A shopping plan
It’s not unlike going to the grocery store without a list. You end up buying on impulse. You fill the cart with things you don’t need. Stuff ends up expiring before you have a chance to enjoy.
Here’s the scenario:
- Your budget is $105 (USD)
- Purchase at least 7 bottles
- Maximum price of $20 per bottle
So, let’s come up with a game plan.
Double Down on Values You Like To Extend Your Budget
If there’s a wine you love, buy it and consider it part of your baseline strategy.
For me, it’s Famille Perrin Côtes-Du-Rhône Rouge. It’s so consistently delicious that I buy it by the case. But, you might love an inexpensive white blend! And that’s perfectly fine too.
In this scenario, I’m buying 3 bottles at the regular price of $9.99—4 if it’s on sale.
Seek Out Obscure Regions and Less Popular Varieties
Most shoppers think the safe bet is a California Cabernet or Chardonnay. WRONG! You’re overpaying for something that is dull on flavor and excitement.
Instead, seek out places like Spain and Portugal. Even lesser known regions of France and Italy that are full of value.
I’d go two ways here:
- Depending on the season, I’m stockpiling Vinho Verde or bigger reds Spain and Portugal around $9.
- I’m splurging on a nicer bottle of Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley, France. At around $20, you get something unique and beautiful.
Expand Your Savings Opportunities By Shopping A Multiple Stores
I love the local wine shop, but big box stores and grocery stores offer buyers the opportunity for big discounts.
For example, let’s take this wine: Matsu El Picaro Toro 2020. It’s listed at $13.99, but often available for $8.99 with a discount at a large chain near me. That’s a huge value, and I’m buying that anytime it’s on sale.
Use the 6-pack savings deals to your advantage, and buy more of the wines you love for less.
Take Some Gambles On Closeouts and on Non-Standard Formats
If you’re bargain hunting, you need to search for closeouts and markdowns.
You can typically find savings on last year’s rosés and previous vintages of red wines. Often still very drinkable. I’d avoid most inexpensive white wines, because they aren’t built to last.
Also, don’t shy away from canned wine and boxed wine. Because of reduced packaging costs, you can find value. A 3L of white or rose for the fridge is perfect for summer and going to extend your budget.
- Stockpile the stuff you love, especially when you can buy in bulk and save.
- Shop for deals at multiple stores and search for closeouts.
- Don’t be afraid of new formats, varieties or places.
Free Run Juice
*free-run juice is a wine term for the grape juice that comes from their own weight prior to pressing. These are weekly tidbits that came out from my own wine reading.
Inspiration from a Legend
This week’s newsletter was inspired by a great article from the Jon Bonné archive. Sadly, we lost Jonathan Waters last week, a great wine human who worked at Chez Panisse.
Consider this email an ode to finding wine values as a tribute to him.
It’s amazing that so much of the advice from 2008 is still true today!
Embracing The New Yorker: I Liked The Doggy
Wine and The New Yorker are among snobbiest things people can like.
That said, the two can unite for some hilarious stuff.
Enjoy this cartoon from Asher Perlman, and we have to give credit or some charlatan might steal a Ziggy.
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