How to Find the Best Cheap Wines
Finding a delicious and affordable bottle of wine can sometimes feel like searching for a diamond in the rough.
But what if we told you there are simple, reliable ways to find vino that treats you and your wallet, right?
1.Identify Inexpensive Bottles Made by High-Quality Producers
If a winemaker produces an array of expensive, high-quality bottles, it can be easy to assume they do not make affordable options for the average buyer.
Oftentimes, this could not be further from the truth:
Many world-class winemakers understand the majority of the wine market purchases their vino at <$20 a bottle.
To account for this, they often divert a great deal of time and money into producing delicious wines that uphold the standard of their brand without alienating the average drinker.
If there is an expensive/world-class wine you enjoy or want to try, research the winery behind it and peruse their full range of products.
As you will soon realize, any first-class winemaker worth their salt will put a great deal of effort into every bottle they put their name on -— regardless of price.
2. (Responsibly) Buy in Bulk
Buying wine in bulk is often a great way to get the most bang for your buck.
As we detail in our Guide to Wine Cases, the pricing model of a bulk vino purchase often works in your favor as a customer. Let’s explain:
The typical “case” of wine holds 12 bottles and costs between $150-300 -— indeed, more than the average customer is looking to spend on one purchase of wine.
However, the secret of traditional cases (aka wine “sets”) is that they typically save you 10-20% per individual bottle, which really adds up when you purchase 12 bottles of delicious but affordable wine.
For example, let’s say you’re buying a $200 case of wine. That may sound like a lot, but here’s the catch: you’re getting $20-25 bottles for around $15 each. This means you can try a selection of higher-quality, usually expensive bottles without the guilt of feeling you’ve exceeded your budget.
As with any wine purchase, it’s also essential when buying in bulk that you do not fall prey to misleading discounts or low-quality vino falsely marketed as upscale bottles.
Do your research, compare prices, and be aware of each bottle in your full or half case of wine.
Wine Insiders Tip: Wine comes in a variety of bottles larger and smaller than your typical 750 ml option. For more information on getting the best value on bottles ranging from 187.5 ml “splits” to 3 L “Double Magnums,” check out our Guide to the Basics of Wine Serving Sizes.
3. Sample Lesser-Known Regions
Looking for good cheap wine can sometimes lead you to varietals, blends and regions you are unfamiliar with.
While it is fun to stick with your favorites, new growing areas and bottles can expand your palate and benefit your budget -— especially if you know where to look.
Instead of opting for uber-expensive vino from Tuscany, Bordeaux, and the like, take time to explore less famous regions with delicious but affordable options like:
Though these regions may not be as well-known as France and Italy, they consistently produce excellent bottles that are budget-friendly and unique.
Within each, you can find new versions of popular favorites, like Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, German Pinot Noir, and South African Chardonnay, and unique wines you may not have heard of, such as New Zealand Syrah and German Gewürztraminer - - one of the best cheap white wines.
As with anything new, there will be lesser-known wines you love as well as ones you do not, but the key is to approach your experimentation with optimism.
Pair new bottles with your favorite meals and share them with friends. Explore areas of the wine world that fascinate you. Take responsible risks with your discoveries.
Before you know it, your vinicultural knowledge and appreciation will expand far beyond famous growing regions and wines everyone knows to include underrated gems you never imagined.
4. Keep Track of Cheap Wines You Enjoy
The search for inexpensive wine requires casting a wide net over many types of vino from a diverse range of producers and regions.
This exploration is often an enjoyable and educational journey, as you identify the varietals and blends you love and, just as importantly, the ones you do not.
However, this endeavor is only valuable if you take the time to record and monitor the wines you like.
While there are many ways to do this, we suggest creating a nifty list or spreadsheet of the bottles you enjoy and populating it with vital information about each.
Note each bottle’s region, producer, price, and the retailer from which you purchased it. Keep this document updated regularly.
Using it as your guide, periodically browse retailers like Wine Insiders for your favorite bottles and options similar to them. Learn about sales, promotions, and buy-in-bulk options. Sign up for notifications regarding any changes to your bottles’ statuses.
Using all your resources, identify the best time to purchase a certain vino from a specific buyer and order your bottle(s) at the price point that works best for you.
Eventually, your list of wines will significantly expand, as will your capacity to find and purchase them at the ideal moment.
Wine Insiders: Your Home for Affordable Wine
Now that you understand how to find delicious and cheap wine, it’s time to explore Wine Insiders’ affordable selection of fantastic varietals and blends.
Whether you need a bold, tannic, and cheap red wine for your barbecue, a brisk, acidic white for your seafood dinner, or an exciting sparkler for a special occasion, we have the vino you need to boost your palate and collection in style.