Monday, October 22, 2012

Rant: Don't Buy The Same Old Cheap Wines

With the holiday season approaching, many people will stock up on wine to serve their guests at various holiday parties and celebrations. Often, because they are buying bottles in bulk, their primary concern is price. They generally want to purchase wine that costs $10 per bottle or less. That may mean they end up stocking up on brands like Yellow Tail and Estrella. I see a similar thing with people who bring a bottle of wine to a holiday party. They don't want to spend too much money and thus often bring those same brands.

Though those might be drinkable, they are not likely to impress your guests. Guests will drink them but no one will remember them after the party. I certainly would rather not drink them at a holiday party. My objection is not because of their price but rather that they are uninspiring.

Your guests want to drink better, more interesting, wines than these. When I attend my holiday parties, plenty of the guests seek me out specifically to find out what wines I brought. They know that I am likely to bring something delicious and compelling. My wines will be the first ones they drink and the Yellow Tail and Estrella is what they will drink once my wines are gone. What all these guests may not realize, is that many of the wines I bring are great value wines.    

Wouldn't you prefer to purchase inexpensive wine that will also impress your family, friends and other guests? That is definitely possible and is not too difficult to do. You have two primary options to locate such wines.

First, seek out one of the better discount wine stores. These places often carry a good selection of wines costing $10 or under, much more than you will find at a regular wine store. You can find plenty of variety in these inexpensive wines, whites and reds, domestic and imported. You will find wines comparable in price to Yellow Tail but which offer much more character, complexity and taste. They offer a much better value, and still at a low price point.

As one example, I would highly recommend Bin Ends in Braintree. On my last trip there, I bought over 20 different wines, all costing $10 or less. It was an excellent and diverse selection and I have yet to drink one of those wines which was not pleasing. Another example is the Wine Connextion in North Andover, where I attended an event last night. Roughly one-third of their wines cost under $10 and though that includes some major brands, there are plenty of much more interesting wines too.

Second, if you shop at a regular wine store, you still have options though it probably would be best to ask a wine store employee to help you find their value wines that cost $10 or less. They can identify those wines which will be more interesting and delicious than the usual Yellow Tail and Estrella wines. You should also remember that most wine stores offer a discount for bulk purchases, sometimes as few as 6 wines, which is another way to save money on your purchases.

But if for some reason you can't ask a store employee for some recommendations, then my best advice for selecting a good wine that is $10 or under, is to buy a Portuguese wine. At this time, I think some of the greatest value wines are coming out of Portugal, especially at the price point. Chances are that if you purchase a Portuguese wine costing $10 or less, you will find a delicious and interesting wine. And there are plenty of Portuguese wines available in that price range. There is no other wine region where you can find as many good wines at that price point. At the Beacon Hill Wine & Gourmet in Melrose, the wine store where I work part time, I often recommend Portuguese wines to people seeking great values.

So this holiday season, don't buy the same old cheap wines. It won't take much effort to select some better choices, and still very inexpensively. In the end, you will impress your guests and make your holiday party more memorable.

1 comment:

Joe said...

I drink a lot of beer and spirits at holiday parties, because of the reason you mentioned. Great values abound!