We’ve all indulged in a bargain bottle of wine, and there’s no need to feel guilty about it. Many inexpensive wines are pretty tasty! We’ve done some further research into the topic of bargain wines and developed a few compelling arguments for why you should consider more affordable wines at your next dinner party.
Our Psychology Leads Us to Prefer Expensive Wine
When comparing expensive and budget wine, people tend to prefer expensive wine — but only when they know which wine costs more. In fact, in blind taste tests, even the most advanced sommeliers struggle to discern noticeable differences between $40 bottles and $9 bottles.
While there are certain advantages to drinking expensive wines — the pleasures of terroir and name recognition — the actual difference in quality is less than what most of us think. When we start focusing less on status and more on finding hidden gems that showcase our ingenuity, economical wines can be just as enjoyable as their more expensive counterparts.
Wine-Making Science Makes the Process Cost-Effective
As the science behind making wine continues to become more advanced and refined, producing quality wine consistently at a lower cost is easier than ever. Winemaking’s most expensive variables have been replaced with cost-effective solutions to recreate the same effects.
For instance, the oak barrels that were traditionally used to age wine can be replaced with steel vats and oak chips. The nuanced flavors, colors, and even textures in artisan wines are created using grape blends and food science techniques. While scientists probably won’t be able to recreate the exact flavor that comes from growing grapes on a rocky French hillside, the fruits of their labor create a more effective product that is delicious in its own right.
Trimming the Fat in the Wine Packaging Process
The way in which wine is packaged, labelled, and shipped also affects the price. Simplifying these factors helps keep the price of bargain wine low without affecting the quality.
For example, real corks can cost up to 50¢ each, but using artificial corks or even screw tops reduce costs without affecting the quality of the wine. In fact, it’s all about perception - the most significant reason winemakers use a real cork is that consumers think it signifies better wine. Otherwise, there’s no substantial advantage. Producers also keep wine affordable by making it in large batches, simplifying the packaging, and aging wine for less time.
Affordable Wine from Underrated Regions
If you’re interested in affordable wine but would rather avoid boxed or mass-produced wine, look for bottles from lesser known wine regions. Well-established wine-growing regions that produce boutique, small-batch wines often charge at least $20 a bottle just to break even. Wine from newer wine-producing countries or underrated areas is often more affordable than wine from Bordeaux, Napa, or Sonoma. Look for high-quality, affordable options from countries like Argentina, Portugal, South Africa, or Australia.
The Advantages of Boxed Wine
Boxed wine can also be a good choice for folks interested in more affordable options. Boxes of wine are larger than a bottle, so you get more for your money. And because the wine is stored in a vacuum bag, rather than a bottle that’s opened and exposed to air, the wine keeps for longer. Boxed wine is also easier to ship and recycle when you’re finished, making it an environmentally conscious option.
Wine Is About Liking What You Like
When it comes to your wine choices, what really matters is your enjoyment. There’s no shame in the bargain wine game if you like what you’re drinking. If you appreciate the wine in your glass — whether it came from Sonoma or not — then you’re doing it right.
On Sale This Week in Our Stores: 19 Crimes
One of our favorite wineries is 19 Crimes. An Australian wine, 19 Crimes is a high-quality bargain bottle that even comes with short stories of famous crimes throughout history printed on the label. They’re on sale this week in our stores, so stop by and pick up a bottle of 19 Crimes wine today.