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 off on a bleak note unless there was something 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 tantalize 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 most of our 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.

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).

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. 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. (If you'd like to know more about how to store wine for the long term, read this blog.)

Also, look to local. Wineries offer some smart promotions. 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.)

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. (Read more about Bordeaux and Burgundy wines here.)

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.

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 this French 75) and sangrias, 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, Carménère 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!

You were great and hilarious, and made everyone feel comfortable. Appreciate your time with me and helping pull this event together.
I had the pleasure of attending the Oceania Cruise event where you conducted a wine pairing. I have to say that your wine and food pairing made a typically ho hum travel information night, spectacular! I have never done a wine pairing. I was amazed at how food interacted with the wines.
You were such an awesome host and I appreciate all of the work you put into it. Thank you so much again!
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.
I wanted to thank you again for last night. Everyone had a great time, and I received a lot of compliments, on your behalf. You struck a great balance between being informational and entertaining. 10 out of 10.
The Wine Sisters put on magnificent event in Unionville..... They did a superb job, both as Sommeliers and on the PR and overall event co-ordination ... Great job and we look forward to working with you on our event!
The unique programs and the tour we did with you was a huge success. Guests really enjoyed the afternoon!
Everything was perfect and very personalized! We still talk about experience and how nice it was. Definitely memories our family will treasure forever.
I wanted to thank you SO much for your tutored wine tasting! It was so much fun. You were both informative and hilarious! Each person said they would definitely recommend you to anyone looking to do a wine tasting!
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.

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