It is so tempting to buy a bottle of wine on sale, you see a beautiful bottle of Cabernet and it’s on sale for $4.99. Do you purchase it? Most people will go with a wine around $12-25 a bottle. Although the wine at $5 could be just as good, there is a common misconception that the more expensive the bottle of wine the better it will be.
How do you know if it’s worth picking up that $5 bottle of wine? Or should you fork over a little bit more cash to have a bottle of wine that won’t end up being cooking wine? These are the questions every thrifty wine lover is asking. How do I truly identify a good bottle of wine rather than trial and error? Let me say from experience, there is nothing worse than buying a discount bottle of wine, going home getting dinner ready and relaxing only to find the wine is so poor you can’t even drink it.
Along the way I have learned these 5 rules that have guided me in thrifty wine buying habits.
Rule #1: Look at the Region
Not just simply look at the region and if it is foreign it has to be exotic and good, why else would a local wine shop import it? But look at the specifics of the region, the more narrowed down the region the better. For example you don’t want a wine that is from “Italy” “New Zealand” or “California” these geographic terms are broad. Although some would argue that California is not broad because it is a specific state in the United States. California is one of the largest producers of wine. Rather you want to look for labels that say “Piedmont, Italy” “Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand” and “Napa Valley, California”.
This is a fast way to determine if it’s a wine you even want to pick up and entertain the idea of in the first place.
Rule #2: Take a Stab at the Less Popular
I know it sounds strange, some wines are more popular because they have great marketing and rightfully so. But, it’s been my experience that picking up a wine that I’ve never heard of has never been upsetting. This is usually due to fundamental business decisions, when more money is put into the production of the wine the quality and care of the final product is better. Whereas if there is a lot of marketing people are shouting their own good name rather than word of mouth buyers who are surprised by a great wine from a label they have never heard of.
Rule #3: Check the Color Out
When drinking liquids of any sorts it is a good rule of thumb to always check the color. The more natural the colors are, generally the more we feel “safe” drinking them. In the case of thrifty wine, to get a good quality wine it’s best to hold the neck of the wine bottle up to the light so you can see the color. The darker the wine the better it is, if you can see right through it then there is usually a low quality associated. If it’s a white wine the more yellowish the tint the better the flavor and sugar qualities.
Rule #4: Shop Online
If you have time, I have found that shopping online for wine is the best way to learn a lot about wines fast, find the cheapest deal with reviews already there, and often they have discounts in bulk. So it’s kind of like skipping all the steps that you have to go through in a liquor store walking aisle after aisle. My favorite place to go online is www.liquormart.com for general wine purchases. I also like going to Wine Searcher to find the best wines at the best price.
Rule #5: Buy in Bulk
Although this sounds like a no-brainer many thrifty wine buyers forget the basics of buying in bulk. I especially do this after I have found a particular wine I like. Although, this tip comes with a warning sign, always try the wine before you buy in bulk. There is nothing more upsetting than buying a case of wine and it ends up being awful, you can’t gift it because it’s almost rude to give away a poor bottle of wine.
But, once you have found a great wine, buy in bulk.
You’re armed with my five trusty thrifty wine tips. You’re ready to shop fearlessly and saving a few dollars on your way. Make sure to remember to check the labels for the region, don’t be afraid to purchase a wine label you haven’t heard of, check out the color of the wine, search online, and buy in bulk (after you have tried the wine).
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The author of this article is Alisa Carscaden. I am a traveler and lover of wine and food. If you enjoyed this article please follow on Twitter @liquormart. If you are looking for discount wine go to www.liquormart.com for the best discount wine online.