Food & Beverage

How To Buy Wine on the Cheap

When you are living on a budget, it’s important to still be able to enjoy a luxury now and then. The trick is figuring out how to do it cheaply. For example, getting a manicure on days when they offer a discount (Mon-Wed for many salons), or getting your next massage through Groupon. Wine is no exception–you can do a good wine on a budget, but you have to know how and where to look.

Liquor stores (or package stores, as we call them in the Northeast) can be overwhelming. You walk in and are surrounded by hundreds, maybe even thousands of bottles. What to do? One strategy is to pick up the cheapest possible option. Not a good strategy. Another is to go with one that looks pretty (also not a good option). You really only have two options: 1.) Ask for help 2.) Follow our advice. Better yet, do both.

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Buying

  • You can begin with Wine.com for a range of wines at different price point. This is a good idea if you’re not too comfortable with wine shopping and need a judgment free zone to learn at your own pace. We also love NakedWine.com for their array of amazing deals. Shopping online gives you opportunities for deals and promos, unlike a traditional store experience.
  • If you’re going to ask for help, shop at a local boutique-y shop. These people are more likely to be in the business because they know the business and like what they do. Think of them as professionals. Don’t assume they want to give you something expensive because you don’t know better. Assume they give you what you want so you’ll come back.In fact, they will often let you do a taste test. Conversely, if you shop at a SAV RIT Liquore store, some 18 year old kid behind the register more than likely doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
  • Wines from Spain Portugal are the best values for wine. The grapes are richer and more complex. Look for “old vines” on the label, making the wine the most concentrated and hence, tasty.
  • Do a quick Google search. There are hundreds of pages devoted to wines and most of them offer a guide to inexpensive wine, organized by type of wine (red versus white, Malbec versus Pinot Noir).

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Serving

  • Don’t assume that a cheaper wine doesn’t deserve to be served well. Decant your wine to aerate it, giving it more oxygen, maximizing
    the flavor.
  • Be sure to stock up the right glasses (and you can get cheap glasses at Target, Walmart, or anywhere else, like Pier 1 Imports for a bit of pizzazz. The shape is most important. Red wines get bigger glasses, allowing the more complex flavors to breathe. Swishing unlocks all fo the flavors. White wines are in smaller glasses to keep the aromas in the glass, improving the taste. Sparkling wines (with bubbles) go in the flute so the bubbles stay in the glass.