Follow this guide, and even your wine snob friends won’t know you’re cheap
A tasty ten-buck Chuck? We got you covered.
Sam’s Club recently announced that it will be adding two new wines — a prosecco and a sangria — to its private-label Member’s Mark wine offerings. It already sells a chardonnay, riesling, cabernet sauvignon and a red blend, all for around $8-$10. “Our members are smart and know they don’t have to pay a pretty penny for a great bottle of wine,” a Sam’s spokesperson told TODAY.
This got us thinking: Can you really get a great bottle of wine for $10 or less? Experts say it’s possible, though you’ll have to know some tricks.
Region matters. Some wine regions give you a lot more bang for your buck than others, says wine columnist Robert Haynes-Peterson. While Napa and Sonoma are out, the Paso Robles and Temecula regions of California are good bets. He also recommends looking for wines from Slovenia, Southern Italy (Puglia, Sicily and Basilicata, in particular) and the Languedoc and Cotes du Rhone regions of France — all of which have high quality, well-priced wines, some of which are $10 or less. He adds: “French wines that come from legally defined AOC regions, like Cotes du Rhone, must adhere to strict productions standards, so you can assume a decent bottle even at a very low price.” Jeanette Pavini, a savings expert for Coupons.com who also owns a vineyard, recommends looking for wines from Chile and Portugal as well.
Look for these grapes. When it comes to say cabernet or pinot grigio grapes, “you get what you pay for” generally and aren’t likely to find a great wine for $10 or less, says Haynes-Peterson. So he recommends looking for grapes that tend to get overlooked and undervalued. His picks: petit verdot, an earthy red; carmenere, another red grape that is used in many Chilean wine; and verdejo, a Spanish white wine that is crisp and full-bodied.
Time your purchase. ““Beginning in January, retailers will be trying to sell off any excess wine from the holidays,” says Pavini. “This is one of the best times to find deals on wine. Look for gift box deals that are still on the shelves. If they are packaged with a holiday theme, even better.”
Shop at these places. Pavini says that Grocery Outlet — a chain of stores that sells discounted groceries — often has incredible deals on wine due to older vintages, label changes and over-production, she explains. “You can get a $15 bottle for $3 or $4 here,” she says. She also likes shopping at a place called K&L, which has a huge, vetted selection of wines for $10 and under.
And you don’t even need to go to anywhere special to get decent $10 bottles, says Haynes-Peterson. Trader Joe’s, Costco, Sam’s, Albertson’s, Safeway and others all have affordable, good bottles. “The key is to do your research,” he says. A quick search on your smartphone of the bottle you’re looking for may yield some reviews. (Added bonus: In many states, you don’t even have to be a member of Costco or Sam’s to buy alcohol there.) There are also coupon codes online for places like Wine.com https://www.coupons.com/coupon-codes/wine/, she adds.
Buy in bulk. If you find a wine you love that’s a bit over your $10-a-bottle budget, buy it in bulk. Pavini says even if a store doesn’t advertise giving a case discount, you can ask them to give you about a 10% discount, or sometimes more, for buying six or more bottles. She says that if you buy it at the grocery store, you can combine deals you get with your loyalty card, with a bulk discount to save even more.
Use this guide. Wine critic Robert Parker and ratings systems like that done by Wine Spectator tend to be good, but they often don’t focus much on the under $10-bottles. If that’s what you’re looking for, Haynes-Peterson recommends using the guide Reverse Wine Snob to research inexpensive wines that taste great.
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