Americans spend more than $60 billion a year on wine, and if you’re one of the millions who enjoy a little vino – you’ll want these tips for saving serious money on it.
Americans love their wine, especially Baby Boomers and Millennials. In fact, the average Millennial drank two cases of wine last year alone. Forty percent of Americans knock back a glass or two or more every week. But at eight or ten dollars a bottle – that adds up.
“When we first started, I was first thinking, ‘If it costs more, it has to taste better.’ But I’m not sure that’s always the truth about that,” Kathy Kellum said.
Kellum makes regular trips to Jungle Jim’s in Eastgate to stock up on wine. But she doesn’t like to spend more than ten or fifteen dollars a bottle.
“I am a bargain shopper when it comes to wine. I enjoy drinking wine, I like to try different varieties, but I’m still the bargain shopper,” she said.
Todd Wiggs is the beer and wine operations manager for Jungle Jim’s. He said you can get a good wine at that price point. But it helps to shop where there’s an expert on site.
“Go to where the expert that is there is the buyer, is the one curating the wine list, or that retail line up. And let them guide you,” he said.
It also helps to know a few things about the wine industry.
According to Wine Business Monthly data, the top three wine companies: Gallo, The Wine Group, and Constellation brands, account for more than half of all wine sold here.
One of every six bottles sold in the U.S. is either Barefoot, a Gallo label, or Franzia, from The Wine Group. Clearly those brands are popular and plentiful.
But always buying those same labels may mean you’re missing some hidden gems.
Wiggs said you can find high quality, affordable wine if you give a little thought to where the wine you like is produced.
“If there’s a famous area that you love, you love wines from Italy, then go shop the value-priced wines from similar regions in Italy,” he said.
He showed us an Italian red selling for $9.99 that he said holds up well to bottles costing at least twice as much.
Wines from Spain, Australia, Chile and Argentina also tend to be more affordable than those from Napa Valley, or France.
What about boxed wine? It’s very affordable – and it’s come a long way in terms of quality in recent years, but there is an important caveat.
“Almost all boxed wines have a date on them that is when the seals will start to fail. Make sure you’re buying the freshest product possible,” Wiggs said.
Buying in bulk is another great way to save. Many places will give you a 10 percent discount, on six bottles or more, and you can mix and match.
Also, see if your favorite store offers a wine loyalty program, or special deals if you sign up for emails.
And if you have a smartphone, you’re one step closer to finding a good, affordable bottle of wine.
There are a number of apps that will help you compare prices, or even find the perfect vintage for a specific meal.