I have a favorite expression: “Life’s too short to drink cheap wine.”
You may have seen this motto embroidered into a throw pillow somewhere, on a painted kitchen knick-knack. You may even have it silk-screened in block letters on your favorite T-shirt. There is, however, a caveat to this adage: “Never spend money on a good bottle of wine when you can pay less for a great bottle of wine (or case of wine).”
By cheap wine, I don’t mean moderately-priced wines. I am talking about a cheaply mass-produced, artificially flavored, unnaturally-dyed product.
If you like to savor life but enjoy saving money even more, you will certainly find these strategies helpful. This is America, darn it! This is the land where everyone can afford a great wine experience. All you need is a little savvy and a sense of adventure.
Buy a Case and Save
Most of us are on a budget these days, so buying wine by the dozen may seem counter to our sensibly thrifty nature. However, you can save 10%-20% on your next purchase simply by buying a case of wine, which typically consists of 12 individual bottles.
Most wineries and liquor stores universally offer at least a 10% discount on cases of wine. Most of them will allow you to mix and match different wines to complete a dozen. It’s still a good idea to ask about the discount policy before you get to the cash register. If your household consumes more than a bottle of wine per week, consider buying a case of wine. If you budget yourself a case or two of wine each month, you will end up with the equivalent of a free case of wine by the end of the year.
Visit a winery and go home happy
Why spend money on a mystery bottle of wine when you can sample an array of wine until you find one (or 12) you absolutely love?
Most wineries offer regular wine tastings. Some tastings are free, some charge a nominal fee. But all wineries are offering you a great value. Buying from your local winery allow you to save money on a great wine. It gives you a chance to try numerous new wines without having to drink (and paying for) a glass you may not enjoy.
A visit to a winery is a great outing for couples and groups of friends on a tight budget. Tasting great wines before you buy is a wonderful way to ensure you’re spending money wisely on a great wine experience.
A Sense of Adventure
As mentioned earlier, a good bottle of wine may set you back a few bucks, but a great wine is out there and will cost you less.
Wineries and liquor distributors spend mega bucks on flashy labels and shelf space. This is aimed at making you, the consumer, spend a little more on a bottle of wine. All this expensive marketing costs means that you are paying a little more for a little public relations.
This is not to say the great wines shouldn’t come with nice packaging. But a flashy label and a big shelf talker do not always translate into a great wine. So do yourself a favor and try a new wine from a wine region you may not know as well. Try a local product. You may be surprised by the great taste and the great savings.
By Georgene Mortimer, Island Winery
Stop by Island Winery at 12A Cardinal Road for a great selection of award-winning wines. Try a range from Old World vinted dry to Low Country Specialty wines, made on Hilton Head Island. Store/Tasting hours are Monday-Saturday, 12:30-5:30 p.m. 843-842-3141 or www.islandwinery.com.