How to Save Money on Wine Article -
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How to Save Money on Wine

Rising grocery bills messing with your weekly wine budget?

Our wine writer has some cost-saving tips for keeping you in the red--and the white--when resources are tight.

If you're bothering to read this, then you could be one of the roughly 20 percent of Americans who drinks a glass or two of wine with dinner on at least a weekly basis.

Excellent choice.

I think of wine with dinner as a staple. It's a healthy and, moreover, happy way to go through life. And yet, with each passing week, rising grocery bills are treading a little bit more on my wine budget. With food and gas prices inching ever upward, and with the "Recession Diet" garnering attention in the press, more and more my daily dose is starting to feel practically prodigal.

So what's a wine drinker to do?

There's always cutting back. But that smacks of desperation. No, my respectable and responsible couple of glasses of wine each evening are a near-sacred institution. Fortunately, there are a few sure-fire ways to save money and get more value out of the wines I drink--without getting drastic.

    Take it Down a Notch

    For one thing, the modern wine industry is making consistently good wine across the board even at the lower price points. This means you can probably ratchet your level of "price comfort" downward a bit without suffering too much on the palate. Who knows? You might not even be able to tell the difference. It always helps to ask for help, too. Wine merchants generally know what they're stocking, and they can recommend a reliable, less expensive wine for daily drinking. 

      It's in the Bag (and in the Box)

      You have probably already heard the rumor: Boxed wine is no longer a punch line. It's true, the wine is pretty good, and the value is tremendous. A 3 liter box is the equivalent of four standard wine bottles. And if it takes a couple weeks to put away that much wine, no problem: The box's air-tight bag technology helps preserve it, so it stays fresh. As you tap the wine, the bag collapses, preventing wine-wrecking oxygen from reaching your delicate beverage. Boxed wine stays fresh for a month or more. And the price is definitely right.

      Here are a few recommended and widely available boxed wines:

      • VRAC Cotes du Rhone
      • Black Box
      • Wine Cube
      • Banrock Station

        Aussie, Aussie, Awesome!

        Australia leads the way in the boxed wine category. This could be because their warm, sunny weather helps produce enormous quantities of reliable, inexpensive wine. Or it could be because Australians don't keen to the kind of wine snobbery that would ban the box from polite wine-drinking society. It's the Aussie's ability to think outside the box that lead them to put the wine back into it. And I, for one, am grateful.

        If you like, you can take a tour through Australia's wine regions--and select some recipes to go with the tasty wines being made there.

        Value Regions

        Perhaps you're looking for something more along the lines of a bottled wine? No problem. There's still some good news out there. In general the same parts of the world that offered good values before are offering them today. In addition to boxed wine, Australians are making good value bottled wines, too. Their Shiraz, Riesling, and Chardonnay are generally priced to please. For some reason, many of these labels have critters on them--kangaroos, emus, fish, and so on.

          The South American Way

          The Southern hemisphere hosts two other wine-producing countries that are big on value: Argentina and Chile. And as we range toward grilling season, this becomes increasingly good news. Argentinean Malbec is not only relatively inexpensive; it's also very nice with grilled meats. Meanwhile, on the windward side of the Andes, folks are making delicious Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon that would make top-notch house wines. 

          Spanish Wines? Si

          Spanish wines are another good value. Try an inexpensive Spanish rosé. In general, rosé is a very versatile, food-friendly wine, and it's particularly good with grilled foods. Wines made with Tempranillo, like Rioja, are also food friendly. If you're looking for a refreshing sparkle, Spanish cava is a far less expensive alternative to Champagne, and its food friendly, too, particularly with fried foods, fish, sushi, and a lot of Asian cuisine. 

          Global Realization

          Once you start poking around the bins at your local wine store, you'll find wine bargains remain to be had. For me, the flipside of a reined-in budget can be the freedom to explore the world's less likely wine regions and ultimately expand my wine-drinking horizons. Sometimes you can snap up wines from countries (Bulgaria anyone?) and American states (Texas, I’m looking at you!) that might lack the cache of places like Napa or Bordeaux, but which nevertheless are producing good wines at kind prices. Nab these wines, and you might feel like you've made a secret discovery!

            Feb. 13, 2011 9:18 am
            Ok, but there are many very good, great wines from this country too! New York State has more than 120 vineries and the price is very competative.
            Feb. 23, 2011 1:21 pm
            May 4, 2011 9:17 pm
            Thank you for your article. Unlike others, I want to know as much as possible about wine around the world ;)
            May 5, 2011 10:56 am
            Big House Red by Octavin is a really good boxed wine that comes in a really cute box!
            May 16, 2011 1:20 pm
            New York has some very good wine, I agree, I only buy wine from our country. I am from Missouri and they used to be one of the top producers of wine from our country. They also have very good wine at reasonable prices.
            Jun. 22, 2011 6:16 pm
            Washington State wines are great
            Sep. 4, 2011 7:15 pm
            Glad you mentioned Texas wines. The wineries around here produce some fantastic wines in a wide variety. Most are very reasonably priced too
            Dec. 15, 2011 9:19 pm
            Idaho and Washington state wines are fantastic! I appreciate world wines but love to support local business when it tastes so wonderful.
            Dec. 21, 2011 5:57 am
            If you can get it, 2buckchuck is quite good; charles shaw winery in ca (naturally); wine sells for $2; shiraz & even white zinfandel has punch!
            Jan. 18, 2012 7:15 am
            I agree we should support the wineries that are from our country there are great wine makers all over the USA especially Michigan and also Wisconsin love the Midwest!!! Vanessa
            Mar. 14, 2012 12:34 pm
            You can get 2buckchuck at trader joes.. This is all I usually buy and it's good..
            Jul. 7, 2012 4:49 pm
            Ohio wines are wonderful, too! I like wines from other countries, as well, but why not support your local winery, if they are producing a good product?
            Aug. 9, 2012 12:18 am
            Being a dyed wine snob isn't going to save me from your gasps that I would say this..but you have to try "Winking Owl" wines sold through the Aldi food chains. The Chardonnay, Merlot, Cab, and Shiraz under this label are remarkably good, decent and consitent wines...for $2.69 a bottle!!!
            Aug. 11, 2012 2:17 pm
            Yes, I think we are looking at better value at a lower price. Personally, my favorite wine is KENDAL JACKSON CHARDONAY....I have tried so many other chardonays and none of them compare to that one. If anyone knows of a brand that is very similar to that one, please let me know.
            Sep. 8, 2012 8:48 am
            how about some wines produced in the Niagara falls area in Canada,wonderful tasting,and good prices for the best.
            Oct. 17, 2012 9:24 am
            Anyone recommend a nice sweet red wine? I usually drink the North Carolina Duplin reds.
            Jan. 15, 2013 7:28 am
            Angelinchrist, NY State does a fantastic job with sweeter reds/whites.Almost every winery here has a great budget wine as long as you are not wanting a good dry red. I personally think NYS dry reds are way overpriced/undervalued. I love Duplin's Magnolia!
            Feb. 10, 2013 7:50 am
            I have been thinking of trying boxed wine,now I will. I like some of the local wines but I always get a better deal at Aldi's.
            Mar. 5, 2013 11:00 am
            I agree with the two buck chuck wines, very good for the price. I live on AR, and we have wineries here, but they are not good, taste like wine flavored water. I always have a box of something on hand and several bottles of 2BC. I like the Cabs and Pinot.
            Clayton Cober 
            May 8, 2013 8:01 pm
            I have noticed several recipes calling for red wine, but being a T-totaller I am interested in knowing if there is a substitute for the wine, or if there is a kind of red wine that is always suitable for cooking. I know the wine alcohol cooks off, but I tried a red wine, which in my total ignorance, that made my pork tenderloin roast taste simply aweful. Do you choose a sweet wine?
            Aug. 6, 2013 6:38 am
            Angelinchrist, try the Chillable Red in the box by Franzia, very good!
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