My esteemed editor Eve has recently written a couple of columns reviewing books about bargain wines – A Toast to Bargain Wines by George M. Taber and Unquenchable by Natalie MacLean.
Some time ago, I wrote a column about finding deals on wine, and with the economy still showing little sign of improving, the timing seems right to revisit this topic.
Now, I am in no way “dissing” the approach of trying any of the wines recommended in the above books. Lord knows I spent many hours [and dollars] in the past scouring the shelves of Trader Joe’s and Cost Plus World Market for new wines to try [and I still think that Bogle Vineyards makes some of the best $10 wine out there]. And these inexpensive wines provide a great opportunity to taste as many wine varieties as possible.
But ultimately, in order to experience high-quality wines, one has to “pay up”. Granted, some wines are exorbitantly priced, and the cost to produce some of them is not all that goes into the pricing model, but good wine is expensive to produce: the cost of the grapes, barrels, winemaking equipment, bottles, the winemaker and assistants, etc. go into the mix, as well as the cost of operating the winery as a business. And, like any product, the laws of supply and demand come into play.
Still, there are ways to get some of these wines at reduced prices.
One of the best ways that come to mind would be to visit the many websites that offer close-out deals. Wines offered on these sites are often highly rated, but are discounted to make way for new vintages or just to get the wine more exposure to the public. My favorite sites are:
Retailers often offer great deals on closeouts as well. I tend to skip the chain operations and deal with independents. Sign up for their email newsletters to be notified of their offerings. I highly recommend Wine Exchange [winex.com] in Orange County, but other well known ones are:
Duke of Bourbon [dukeofbourbon.com]
Woodland Hills Wine Company [whwc.com]
Wade Wines [wadewines.com]
And don’t forget your local wine shop. They need your business as well, and may be willing to offer you discounts for quantity purchases as well as moving prior vintages.
Similarly, wineries often offer their customers special deals who buy direct from them, again especially if you’re willing to buy multiple bottles or they need to close out the previous year’s releases. Get on the email list for your favorite wineries and see what they offer.
As in all transactions, caveat emptor. Be sure the supplier is reputable and that the discount offered is valid. [30% off “suggested retail” may not be a great deal compared to what other stores may offer the wine at]. And if reviews and/or scores are posted, try to verify the accuracy.
But it is definitely possible to get great deals on great wine without having to drink the cheap stuff.
Michael Perlis provides outsourced controller services to businesses that do not need a full-time controller. He balances this with his interest in wine: reading and writing about it and, of course, drinking it. He is still trying to figure out how to combine these two pursuits. Feel free to contact him about either at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.