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Great Wine Without A Great Cost

Updated on October 30, 2012
Get great wine at a low price. Frugal wine.
Get great wine at a low price. Frugal wine.

Get Great Wine at a Good Price!

I was never really a wine drinker until I moved to the Bay Area, but then the prevalence of wine at all events combined with the proximity that the move put me to some of the world's best vineyards turned me into something of an oenophile. Unfortunately, the cost of living in the Bay Area also turned me into something of a girl who must live on a budget at all times. Initially, I thought that I wasn't going to be able to let my love of wine flourish because of the problems with my bank account, but it's turned out that I can have my wine and afford it too!

Find a Cheap Option You Like

The first thing that I learned is that if you do some sampling of the less expensive wines at your local stores, you can usually find something that you enjoy which doesn't break the piggy bank. For me, it's the merlot of the cheapest brand at the corner store. All of the other types of wine in the brand taste terrible to me, but the merlot tastes fine. This is good to know because it gives me a wine that I can afford to always keep on hand at the house. It makes for a great spontaneous drink with my dinner or a clinking-of-glasses celebration with the roommates when one of us has good news.

Get What's Right For You

But, of course, sometimes you want more than just your average cheap wine that you always get, so I've learned how to sniff out that perfect scent. What I mean is that, the more that you learn about wine, the more chance that you have to really know what you like. And if you know what you like, it will be easier for you to tell early on whether a certain bargain wine is right for you or not. So, sample, sample, sample. And yes, you can do that at a bargain.

Wine Tasting for Free or Low Cost

Many people flock to the Napa Valley area to go wine tasting, taking expensive tours, but if you ask around at the tourist desks of locations such as Napa, you'll find that you can get free wine tasting which will give you the same education with the perk that you'll be learning about the less costly wines. Wine samples of this nature are available within most major cities and at wine bars across the country, so take advantage of the opportunities around you to always be learning about new wine. Instead of grabbing cocktails with your girlfriends, head to the wine bar together and learn what you like. You aren't spending any more money than you would have spent on the harder stuff anyway and you'll get some great knowledge about inexpensive wines that you can enjoy on different occasions.

Get Wine as a Gift

And you know, since I've moved out to the Bay Area, and everyone has begun to assume (now correctly) that I am a wine drinker, I've found that it's pretty easy to get people to give you good wine as gifts for various occasions. At every dinner party or event I throw, people usually show up with wine, and the leftovers get to go to me. And by dropping the information along the way that I like certain kinds of wine, I've been able to make sure that my Christmas and birthday gifts are in line with my likes. Sure, it's a bit schemey, but if Mom is going to get you something anyway, wine is a good way to go!

Updated Tip: Join a Wine Club

I first wrote this hub several years ago. The tips still apply but I've since become more of a wine drinker than I was before and as a result my wine buying has changed a bit. The biggest change has been that I decided to join a wine club.

What is a wine club?

A wine club allows me to try different wines at a lower cost by getting them delivered in bulk to my home. My wine club is the Virgin Wine club affiliated with the airline. Every few months they deliver a box to my home. It's a way to try new wines without spending a lot of money. Shipping is in bulk so it's affordable. And it gives me better knowledge of the wines I like so I can look for bargains on those wines when I'm shopping around.

Wine Club Tips

  • I have my wine delivered as infrequently as is allowed to stay a member of the wine club. This means I spend the least money possible to be a member of the club.
  • I check to see what's coming. Usually you can change your order in advance so if you see that some wine is coming that you know you don't like then you can switch it out so it's not a waste.
  • I use the extra bottles of wine as gifts for others so I save on gift giving costs throughout the year and especially at the holidays.
  • If I weren't using the wine club to save money on wine then I would cancel it. You shouldn't keep memberships that you don't use.


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  • B. Leekley profile image

    Brian Leekley 6 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

    Good plan.