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Friday, September 2, 2011

Defining & Defending Cheap Wine (and Moderation)

It occurs to me that I've been throwing around the term "cheap wine" frequently without defining it. Well, it's subjective. But - what it means to me is wine under $15, preferably $10. I don't really trust wine with a regular retail price under $5 ... or really much under $8.

BUT - I don't like drinking crap. In fact, I won't drink crap. If I buy a wine, and it's crap - it goes down the sink. This doesn't feel too bad because it wasn't a huge investment. So that's cheap wine buying tip #1 - No regrets. Obviously, you want to go by word of mouth & friendly recommendations as well. When flying blind, try familiar names, in particular - winemakers that make some good higher-priced wines typically also make some tasty cheap ones.

A couple examples - 

  • R collection by Raymond Vineyards
    • Earlier this summer, my Publix had these BOGO (buy-one-get-one-free). Regular retail for $13. Thus, perfection. A wine toward the upper-end of my cheap wine definition, but I get it for below my lower-end usual purchase price. I got the Chardonnay & the Red Field Blend. Both were great. I'd have been happy to get them for $13. I was ecstatic when they were back on BOGO last week!
  • Penfolds Koonunga Hills Shiraz Cabernet
    • This, along with Monkey's Bay Sauvignon Blanc, were our table wines at our wedding. For whatever reason, we seem to have more occasions to drink the Shiraz Cab - so much so, it's been dubbed our "house wine." The price has gone up the past few years, but this wine still retails for under $15. When it goes on sale, it's worth stocking up! (The Sauv-ey is also a tasty treat btw!)
And here's a wine-drinking tip ... Get thee a vaccum wine saver!

If you live alone or live with someone who can't always partake with you (and you don't want to drink a whole bottle!), this little gadget allows you to have a glass without wasting the rest. So simple, yet totally amazing - cost: $5 ... value: priceless. The longest I've ever stretched a bottle was about 5 days / 3 opens.

And now ... for the possibly bad news.

I also frequently talk about "moderation" - again, this is a subjective term that could stand for a little definition. This is not really subjective. Remember that "glass" I just mentioned? One (5 oz) glass of wine daily is considered moderate alcohol intake for women. Men get 2. Equivalents are 12 oz beer or 1.5 oz spirits. And, no - it doesn't work to average it out & have 7 drinks all on Friday night.

Full disclosure: I probably had 7-8 oz of wine tonight.

Here's to cheap wine, moderation & happy hunting! ... TGIF! :)


  1. Hmm, Publix has BOGO on wine?! I so rarely shop there since the prices seem inflated compared to my usual SuperTarget hangout, but I admit they have much better produce and baked goods. Apparently I need to check out the wine! Do you all have a Trader Joe's near you? We are friendly with the manager and he is very knowledgeable about their wines. We got 10 bottles of a wine that retails for $69 for $18 a bottle because it was deemed defective since the label was bent on one corner. It is delish. I think I have 2 bottles left. I couldn't believe it was deemed inferior just because of a label. Sorry for the ramble!

  2. I love rambling! I think your Trader Joe's is our closest! Super Targets are a hike too! I finallybtried Winn-Dixie. Produce was a disappointment. I'm a Publix girl!