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“If I had all the money I’d spent on drink, I’d spend it on drink.” The sentiment from Vivian Stanshall’s greatest creation, Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, is a quote with which those of us who enjoy wine will concur. But possibly, unlike Sir Henry we’d be sure we were buying the best to optimize our enjoyment.

Never have consumers been more consumed with options in the wine world, not to mention the ever-expanding beer and spirits industries. This may be the most problematic time of buying for most of us, simply because it is so easy to become overwhelmed by choices. 

It’s no surprise many of us are buying the same wines week in and week out. We are drawn to familiarity and consistency. When faced with too many choices, it’s easy to fall back on what we’re comfortable with, but at the same time, nobody likes a rut. At the end of the day, when you pull the cork on a bottle of wine and take a sip, you are doing so because you want to enjoy the wine.

The good news is it’s easy to find great wines. The challenging exploration is for the values. There are thousands of inexpensive wines lining the retail shelves and I know the term “value” can be confusing. Does it imply a specific price range? Or does it refer to the quality of the product in comparison to the cost?

The short answer is both. By staying with regions known for growing dependable grapes in all price ranges and buying wine by the case or on wine day I increase the value.

These are a few of my go-to wine values:

  • 2015 Bell Winery Red Blend, California (about $16 retail)
  • 2015 Sean Minor Four Bears Pinot Noir, California (about $15 retail)
  • 2016 Picpoul de Pinet, France (about $12 retail)
  • 2016 Presqu’ile Vineyards Pinot Noir Rose, California (about $20 retail)
  • 2016 Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand (about $13 retail)
  • 2015 Cline Cellars Zinfandel, California (about $10 retail)
  • 2015 Irony Pinot Noir, California (about $14 retail)
  • 2016 Hugel Gewurztraminer “Hugel,” France (about $20 retail)
  • 2015 337 Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $12 retail)
  • 2016 Paul Jaboulet Aine Parallele 45 Cotes du Rhone, France (about $16 retail)
  • NV Domaine Ste. Michelle Blanc de Blanc, Washington (about $15 retail)
  • 2016 Honig Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $17 retail)
  • 2017 Black Box Pinot Grigio, California (about $20 retail)