If you are a household that loves wine (which you probably are if you are reading this) you know good (affordable) wine can be hard to find. When I went from three jobs to one part time job after having our little one, my wine extravagance had to change. We still wanted to enjoy good wine but had to do so at a cheaper level. We didn’t want to sacrifice quality for the price thus making this tricky.
Consider Where You Buy
Start looking at all purchasing options. I am all about shopping local. I try to do so whenever possible. If you have a discounted wine outlet near you, this is probably your best bet. If you aren’t sure what you have, it’s time to take a few trips to the surrounding area to scope out prices and driving times.
What You Should Consider
You may find some discounted stores are just too far to justify the drive, thus making the wine the same price as everywhere else. This is what happened to me after a local move.
Your closest local store might be a few dollars more per bottle than your discount store. But with the saved time and mileage it balances out. This is awesome. However, what I ended up finding is that there were only a few brands of wine stocked in my price range in this store.
Tip: If you don’t mind sticking with only those few wines, plan a small splurge in your budget for a wine club! More on that later.
Beyond Local – Wine Clubs
We took a fabulous trip to Long Island to do the North Fork wine trails several years ago. It was an amazing weekend (before child was born). One of the greatest vineyards we visited had a wine club. I signed up. It’s more money per bottle than I would spend locally. I do pay for the shipping also. But it’s amazing wine and it only comes a few times a year. This is a splurge that keeps me going. It’s something to look forward to and isn’t a monthly expense.
Another great wine club that is very reasonably priced is Traveling Vineyards. Again, the dollar per bottle is more than I spend on a regular basis. However, adding this small club to my cycle is worth the few extra dollars. They offer FREE in-home wine tastings to get to know their products. It’s a great way to try the wine before you buy. You will learn the quality and feel comfortable having a club shipment.
Online Wine Retailers
Other sources I found to be very cheap and (mostly) delicious are from things like Groupon or special sales online. Once you take a chance on a few companies in a discounted sale outlet like Groupon, you will get the hang of what to look for.
Brand and Overall Pricing on Standard Wines
One of the first things I look for when deciding if I want to buy a Groupon of mixed wine is the source of the sale. I check out the company’s Website and their usual prices and bottles for sale. If the bottles have reviews I read the reviews. You can generally get a feel for the products in the set from the company Website. Then you can do some quick math (don’t forget to include the shipping rate with your Groupon cost and break it down per bottle) and see if you think it’s worth the cost. I will not spend more than $8/bottle on a Groupon unless you know for certain the wine that is coming is worth it. I have found great deals on Wine Insider packages through Groupon. The bottles were just under $7/each and were excellent in quality. It matched all the reviews for each bottle in the package.
Other Online Wine Retailers
There are other sites out there that sell wine online. These companies are often like your local retailer. They stock many different brands and vintages. However, they may be offering a better per bottle price, or sale, that your local stores are not. Some sites, like wine.com, offer a specialty club as well. This allows you to join for a fee for one year (which is the cost of less than one shipment of a case of wine). You then receive free shipping on any orders for a whole year. One bottle or 20 bottles. Remember, when looking at your price per bottle be sure to include your shipping costs tacked on. If you are in a club you can break that down over 12 months. Then over the cost of the number of bottles, you will believe you will order in 12 months.
I like wine.com because of the free shipping after you join, and you can use it on any quantity of bottles. For instance, in a month where I know I will receive wine club, I don’t want to order a case of wine. So I can order just a few bottles to add to my storage as wine club rolls out. I still get the benefits of free shipping. It’s a bit like buying into Amazon prime – but for wine. They have a large selection of all types of wine at nice prices and sales.
Tip: Be sure you ship wine to a location that you can sign for it, or another person over 21 authorized to sign for you is located. Alcohol cannot be delivered without a signature. You can also ask the package to be held at your local USPS, UPS or FedEx location to pick up to avoid it being delivered when you are not home.
Not all states will ship wine, but many do.
You can still drink a variety of wine at a lower price, without sacrificing your quality. Check out the sources and see what deals you can get. How do you get good wine at discounted prices?