Serving good wine and saving a dime while on a budget
This time of year I think many of us are looking for ways to save money on entertaining. Whether planning a large cocktail party or intimate gathering, these tips can help keep you on budget for holiday wine buying.
Remember the basics
Buy by the case, shop on the retailers’ discount “wine day,” check for in-store specials and always shop around for the best savings. These basic tips can sometimes save you up to 20 percent off on your wine buying.
Quality wines at value prices
For quick savings substitute vintage Champagne with blanc de blanc; cabernet sauvignon with malbec; pinot noir with merlot; and vintage port with late-bottled vintage port (LBV).
Don’t shy away from blends
Many wineries have a blend labeled simply “red wine.” This can be a great place for savings because many of these blends are created from other single varietal bottlings not used for the vintage. It offers the consumer a lower price point, but from a reputable winemaker and vineyard.
For large parties 1.5 liter bottles or boxed wines can be a great value. Many quality boxed wines contain the equivalent of four standard bottles and are usually priced less than $20 a box. And if you don’t want your guests to see you’re serving boxed wine, simply pour it into decorative carafes.
Step our of your comfort zone
Consider wines from emerging regions with little or no recognition. Chile and Argentina continue to offer remarkable value, but also consider lesser-known regions in California and up-and-coming wine regions such as New York state.
Get to know your retailer
Make friends with your wine shop staff. With simple conversations your retailer will begin to understand your likes and dislikes, guiding you to the best wines available. Throughout the year you may have a certain wine as your everyday wine but this time of year your retailer may guide you to a similar style at a special price.
And always remember, the best way to find great deals is to ask.
- 2012 Force of Nature Red Blend, California (about $13 retail)
- 2014 Mark West Chardonnay, California (about $12 retail)
- 2013 Norton Malbec, Argentina (about $10 retail)
- 2014 Candoni Pinot Grigio, Italy (about $15 retail for 1.5 liters)
- NV Treveri Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine, Washington (about $14 retail)
- 2014 La Playa Merlot, Chile (about $9 retail)
- 2014 Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $24 retail for 3 liters)