You’re at the store, starting at the wall of wine options. Stunned. Where do you begin? Red or white? Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon? Old Vine? $15 or $45? It’s not like you can try them, so how do you decide?
It’s so easy to get lost, and spend a ton of money, exploring the eccentricities of wine tasting and pairing. Here are a few of our favorite tips for finding great value wines.
STAY IN THE KNOW. Keep an eye out for wineries who are clearing space. Being at the right place at the right time is key. From time to time, you’ll hear of a big name brand acquiring an independent winery. When this happens, small wineries must clear out old inventory to accommodate for the change of practices (new orders, amped up production, things like that).
You can also try to time your purchases to coincide with new vintages being bottled. When a smaller winery empties the barrels, they need a place to store the newly filled bottles. That can create a real space issue. These wineries will try to move large quantities of wine. This means you can find great value wine at cheap prices!
Smaller vintners are able to make more nuanced, flavor-rich wines than bulk producers, so when their bottles are on clearance, you should definitely stock up.
SHOP OUT OF FAVOR VARIETALS. It’s important to mention that out of favor varietals are often cheaper. This should be somewhat obvious, but plenty of people overlook that fact – everyone goes for Champagne, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay for their whites or Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Merlot for reds.
But there’s a whole world of varietals that are just as good – instead of Cabernet, try going for Malbec from Chile or Tempranillo from Spain. Instead of a Sauvignon Blanc, try a Grüner Veltliner. There are hundreds of grape varieties around the world. Many of them can be turned into wonderful value wine. Step outside your comfort zone and explore!