Our guide to the best cheap wines (that taste good, too)

You may have a bubbly taste on a bottled wine budget, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for a bottle of wine that tastes like maroon vinegar. Or just plain vinegar.

Wine can run the gamut from Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chuck to wine that can cost more than our homes.

You’ve probably read those stories about wine selling in the hundreds of thousands, but perhaps the most interesting is the $3669.97 2015 Petrus Pomeral that Total Wine sells online. Tasting notes give these wine connoisseurs a rap: “…touches of anise, lavender, beef broth, wild thyme plus a lump of crushed rock.” crushed rocks;

But there’s something to all this knowledge about wine (crushed rock just means a metallic flavor) and we’re here to help you find some of the best cheap wines on the market. And by inexpensively we mean under $15. We offer suggestions but also ways for you to separate the price from the best cheap wines as you wander the wine aisles.

We spoke with some sommeliers and wine experts to get selection tricks and point us to valuable wines.

How is wine priced?

It is common for buyers to equate quality with cost. Sure, $35 cabernet is better than the under $15, right? not nessacary. Wine is priced using several variables.

Pricing reflects the cost of materials and labor, as well as volume. A great winemaker like Kendall Jackson produces millions of cases of Chardonnay annually. Butts & Hall, another Sonoma County, California, winemaker, produces significantly less.

Depending on the year and style, Kendall Jackson chardonnay can be had for as little as $15, sometimes as much as $8 on sale and at major retailers. Plan to spend about $45 for a bottle of Patz & Hall chardonnay. The boutique winery exports about 15,000 cans of Chardonnay annually. Size matters when it comes to pricing.

Is Batz & Hall Chardonnay 2017 Better Than Kendall Jackson’s Same Style? Possible and possible not. Sometimes, prices can be set according to the perceived value. But the only visualization we’re interested in here is how to get the best cheap wines.

Where do you buy wine?

A large grocery store stocks hundreds of bottles of wine and the prices are good. For many of us, this is our go-to wine shop. There are a lot of brands you know: Yellow Tail from Australia; Robert Mondavi of California and even La Marca of Spain make the famous $12 bottle of Prosecco that’s perfect for Sunday brunch. (Champagne lesson: sparkling wine in France is called Champagne, in Italy it’s called prosecco and in Spain it’s cava. Bring trivia night.)

Instead of recognizing the brands, you might think that France makes the best red wines and California the best white wines. Once again, our perceptions of what is fantastic and what is unfamiliar help determine prices.

Then there are a lot of cool labels and that’s how some pick the wine. Honestly how can you resist Michael David Little Little With a circus-themed label and a fun name? The Sirah mix can often be had for $13 or less on sale. It’s cheap given in grocery stores and the wine section of Costco, Sam’s Club or Target, but a good choice can be trickier among the wide choices.

Tips for scoring good cheap wine

You’ll get more selection guidance at a boutique wine market or even at a large-scale liquor store than you’ll get at a grocery store or Costco & Co. , but our tips will help you go out on your own and find lots of good cheap wines under $15, even around $10.

1. International wine purchase

The United States — and California specifically — produces a lot of great wine, says Vincent Entre, founder and host of V is for Vino Wine Show, streamed for free on YouTube and various other places.

Since California produces so much wine, he says, it’s hard to spot the good stuff.

However, South American wines tend to be less expensive due to lower labor costs and generally good quality land. Or look at Europe, specifically Italy, where costs may come down through several factors, including:

  • Government assistance to wine producers, which is available in many grape-growing regions.
  • Regulations that control everything from grape yield to where the grapes come from to the use of additives.
  • The distribution model does not differ from state to state and does not include three layers, with each layer encoding wines every step of the way.
  • Produce more wine for beginners, because most Europeans see wine as part of the meal rather than a luxury item.

2. Stay away from trendy liquor

Wine, like all things, goes through trends, according to Matthew Woodburn-Symonds, the UK-based independent sommelier who runs painting unknownA website that celebrates international food and drinks.

To get a bargain, avoid trends, he says.

“Instead of New Zealand sauvignon blanc or Argentine malbec, look for Argentine cabernet franc or New Zealand gris pinot,” he says. They will be the same price, but with a higher quality, because popularity does not lead to a higher price. ”

So yes, you can find an Argentine malbec for $15, but a $15 Cabernet Franc would probably be better.

The same holds true for lesser-known Eastern European wine-growing countries such as Greece, Slovenia and Hungary, all of which currently produce high-quality wines at pocket-friendly prices, Woodburn Symonds said.

3. Don’t be afraid of weird

Instead of making it to Sauvignon in California—because the best Cabernet grapes grown there go to more expensive bottles—look for Cabernet from Argentina. Argentine wine producers are known for their malbec, not cabernet, so probably the best quality grapes in a cabernet bottle, according to Kathleen Berchad, author of Wine lover apprentice Owner of the Fine Wine Concierge in New York.

“Along these lines, look for grapes you’ve never heard of,” she said. “While you might like Chardonnay, turbot fronts can offer a similar feel and flavor, but since they’re not well known, the quality is likely better for the price.” You can easily cut a decent bottle of ribs for about $5 to $10. Try the Mendoza Station Torrontes ($6 for

4. Pay attention to the source of the wine

Melissa Smith, founder of Enotrias Elite Sommelier Service in Oakland, California.

“Have you seen the cost of an acre of land in Napa Valley?” Says. “Between that, French oak barrels starting at $800 a piece and a popular winemaker, you can see why a cabernet can cost $100 a bottle.”

To find quality wines at a lower price, Smith looks for regions that don’t have a culture of using fertilizers or pesticides in vineyards, such as Europe (look for Bordeaux or Chianti), North Africa (Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot) and the Middle East (Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc) .

They also look for wine from countries where wine is part of their daily meals and where a small glass is served to older children and teens. This is the case in Greece, Spain, Italy and France. Much of the wine in those countries is made in cooperatives, where the grapes have passed certain standards and vineyard practices, and in large quantities, keeping prices low. In other words, classic table wine.

Another thing to be aware of is that wine production is generally labour-intensive but more so in some parts of the world. For example, machines cannot be used on vineyards with steep hills or narrow terraces, so grapes must be harvested by hand. You’ll know if this is the case if the label says “hand-picked” or “hand-cut”.

This wine may not necessarily taste better, but it will increase the cost of production. As a result, the price of wine will be higher, according to sommelier Woodburn Symonds.

Some of the world’s steepest vineyards are located in the Mosel region of Germany. Riesling is the star grape out there and it’s not uncommon to see prices over $25 a bottle. Chateau St. The Michael Valley Columbia outside of Washington state can be purchased for less than $10.

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6 Inexpensive Universal Sips

This is a starter list of good, cheap wines. Taste them and then start branching out into other wines from these regions, always keeping your wallet in mind.


Try this wine Recanati Jasmine Red

the taste This is a bold, complex wine from the wine-growing region around the Sea of ​​Galilee, says Sneha Saigal, a New York sommelier who lives in India and Spain. It is a mixture of Merlot and cabernet sauvignon. “It goes well with meats and roasts, plus it’s a kosher dish,” says Saigal.

price $13.99 at

South Africa

Try this wine Radley & Finch “Alley Pack” Chinen Blanc

the taste Chenin blanc grapes have been grown in South Africa since the mid-1600s, and the variety originated in France, says Gary Schuyler, a New York wine buyer. It’s a versatile grape that can make wines of all styles and price points, including sparkling. At lower price points, chenin blanc is usually a crisp, refreshing, food-friendly medium wine, but one that can easily be enjoyed on its own. Schuyler says it’s best known for its core fruit, pear, apple, and yellow citrus flavors. “Having tasted hundreds of wines at this price point, it’s definitely at the top of the pack,” Schuyler says.

price $9.99 at


Try this wine Reef Pinot Grigio

the taste Alicia Ortiz, Director of Strategic Communications at speedA wine app that matches wine with your budget, recommends this bottle from delle Venezie, Italy, because while the price is right and its fruits are sourced from some of the top growers in northeastern Italy. You’ll savor hints of apple and minerals in this lightly textured wine. Pair it with fish or a snack.

price $11.99 at


Try this wine Beaujolais Village 2019

the taste The landlocked Beaujolais region of France produces this deeply flavored game. Tasters note hints of raspberry and strawberry in a fruity red color. It contains low levels of tannin, is delicious when cooled slightly and is best served with poultry and light cheeses.

price $10.99 at


Try this wine Ponterra Sauvignon Blanc

the taste Shana Paul, a Sonoma County wine writer, says California has plenty of delicious summer eggs for under $10. This is especially great with spring vegetables like asparagus with shredded Parmesan cheese, or fish tacos. They also make canned Ponterra roses that are under $10 and pair well with cream cheese, strawberries, or watermelon. Consider a picnic or a beach booze, says Paul.

price $9.97 at


Try this wine Casa Giulia Reserva Carmine

the taste Chile boasts some of the oldest vineyards in the world, offering wines at incredible values ​​that will please the masses of both beginners and experienced wine-drinkers. Schuyler says this wine is a $10 bottle made with vines that are over 35 years old. Random Cool Fact: Carmenere was thought to be extinct until it was discovered in Chile in the mid-1990s. “So this is a grape with a lot of history, but really only in recent years is it getting its due and growing in popularity,” Schuyler says.

price $10.99 at

Contributing Penny Hoarder Danielle Braff is a Chicago writer who specializes in consumer goods and budget shopping. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Real Simple, and more.

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