How to Save Money on Wine

side shot of a couple holding a bottle of wine in a wine shop and smiling

Use our tips for finding terrific deals on wine. 

By Erin Henderson

In journalism school we learned to never start on a bleak note unless there was something really sexy, like a high-profile murder or a scandalous affair, to capture the reader.

Alas, this article contains no wonton politicos behaving badly, or discovering a lifeless Professor Plumb in the library next to a rusty wrench, but it does contain booze, so hopefully that will have enough appeal to engross you until the end.

As for the bleak, there is plenty to speak of: inflation still burns a searing white flame, a creaky supply chain a convenient excuse for disruption and soaring prices, and not to be left out of the party, it seems a recession is hurdling towards us at lightening speed.

And, here come the holidays – even during the most swinging of years, it’s a time when many budgets stretch to threadbare transparency.

Really, it’s all enough to drive you to drink. At least there’s a silver lining.

But what if I told you there are some pretty easy hacks to saving money and drinking great wine?

Read closely, thirsty grasshopper, I will show you the way.

A line up of wine bottles on a shelf

Drink from less popular wine regions

Those looking to pinch a penny are going to have a tough time in the world’s fashionable wine regions.

The delicious – but high falutin’ – places like Napa, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Barolo, Brunello…. These legendary areas can command a serious chunk of change, so if you’re hunting bargains, you’d best head elsewhere, pilgrim.

Places like Portugal, Greece, Germany, and Spain have been making seriously great wine for centuries but for a host of reasons have lost the attention of many wine drinkers. Their loss can be your gain if you’re willing to try something new (and tasty).

You also might like: Wine Tripping Through Vinho Verde

Take advantage of sales – and shop in bulk.

Just like we’ve learned with toilette paper, laundry detergent, and bread yeast, stock up when you see a sale.

A few dollars knocked off the regular price of your favourite bottle, admittedly, is not very meaningful savings on its own. However, buying a case then saves $24, which is significant – perhaps the equivalent of a bottle or two. And you know you'll go through it. Store the case under the stairs in the cupboard, and you’ve got enough wine to last you through (at least the first few weeks of) the holidays. 

Also, look to local. Buying direct from wineries can result in some smart deals. Anything from bottle sales to special incentives for buying by the case, and even free shipping (which also means you don’t have to go out when the weather turns nasty.)

You also might like: How to Store Your Wine for Success

Go big, but start small

Popular wineries with decades of pedigree and a serious following understandably can – and should – charge top dollar for their quality wines.

But many of these wineries also have very good second- and third-tier labels, that are terrific values. 

When top-tier grapes don’t make the cut for premium wines, a lot of wineries will then “declassify” the fruit and relegate it to an entry level labels. This is common practice in Bordeaux, Champagne, heck, even here in Ontario. 

It doesn’t mean the grapes are bad – they’re just not quite good enough for the winery’s top offering. And the same people that made the best of the best also have a hand in making the slightly lower tiered juice, so the consumer benefits from that same expertise and care for a much lower price.

You also might like: The Difference Between Bordeaux and Burgundy

Spread it out

Another easy – and tasty – way to save money on wine is to juice it down. By making creative wine cocktails such as a French 75 or sangria, a little goes a long way. By adding juices, spirits, and other flavourings to the mix, you can double your pleasure at half your cost.

Alternative Grapes

One of the wine tastings we offer here at The Wine Sisters is one we call “Alternative Grapes.” This is a workshop of relatively humble or unknown wines that can stand in for wines of much higher fame and pedigree. We might try Gamay instead of Pinot Noir, Xinomavro instead of Barolo, Crémant instead of Champagne, Carmenère instead of Cabernet Sauvignon. Not only are these wines readily available, but they’re also a fraction of the price of their ritzy doppelgängers.

Hear From Real People!

I’m really pleased with how the event went. Everyone feels really happy with your incredible hosting skills and experience. We all DEFINITELY want to use The Wine Sisters again! Thank you so much!!
You were great and hilarious, and made everyone feel comfortable. Appreciate your time with me and helping pull this event together.
Everybody had a ton of fun and we very much see this structure as a template we can use with clients and friends in the future.
You and your team were an absolute pleasure to work with! From the get go, you were very flexible with our needs, communicated in a timely manner, and tailored your services to be exactly what we asked for.
Thank you very much for the amazing wine tasting. We all had the most wonderful time. The wines were excellent and your presentation was very entertaining and informative.
Thank you very, very, very much for the outstanding planning and support you gave in making this event an absolute success. People were just having a fantastic time and the set-up and style were absolutely brilliant. I think we got what we exactly wanted. I will reach out again!
Great energy, sense of humour and very knowledgeable! Thank you for making it an afternoon to remember!
Thank you very much for your services. Everyone had a fantastic time and loved everything! Thank you again for a successful event and making me look oh so good.
Erin did a fantastic job with our group. We all really enjoyed the day. I have already recommended The Wine Sisters for my company events, as it was such a great experience for us.
Bravo! You were awesome and I loved the presentation, explanation and selection of wines! I just had to reach out and thank you for a wonderful evening. You two are fabulous – great energy and you really like what you do.  You make tasting wine fun!

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