There’s nothing that says luxury and the good life more than sitting down on the patio and sipping a glass of good wine on a hot summer’s evening. I used to think that being a Budget Smart Girl meant that I’d either have to forgo this one little pleasure, or be forced to buy a wine that wasn’t that great. However, as the philosophy of the Budget Smart Girl’s lifestyle is to have luxury but at your own price, I did some research and happy to say you can enjoy a great glass of wine at a Budget Smart price, and here’s how-
Don’t Always Look at the Price
Here are some great tips from Glen Agrittelley who’s considered to be one of Dallas’ top wine experts and owner of the Mercy Wine Bar in Addision, Texas. “Rather than look for the cheapest wine, I’d look for areas that are up and coming. Most of the wines from California are well marketed which means the price of the advertising and marketing is built into the wine. Look for wines from New York, and Hill Country of Texas that are much less known, but still have good quality and are a good value. And look outside the US. Wines from Chile, Argentina, Spain and Portugal are great values now. South African wines also fall into this category. While wines from France, Italy and Australia are of great quality; it’s harder to find the great values unless you are very knowledge about wine. Right now wines from Sicily also offer great value and good quality.
Here’s a Web site worth checking out www.vino100.com It’s a national wine franchise that offers small batch artisan wines from around the world for $25 or less. They have the Vino 100 Wine Barometer that is a graphic and easy to understand wine rating and information system that indicates how fruity to dry a wine is. And also shows how light to full bodied each bottle of wine is too. I think it’s a great resource if you’re not sure what to buy and don’t want to waste your money on something you or everyone hates.
Here are some tips from Sherri Sauter Morano who’s based in North Carolina. She’s not only received the prestigious Master of Wine title, but is also a wine educator. Morano says if you’re looking for a good French wine visit www.wines-France.us/ click on the American flag and look under the buying guide. There you’ll find a list of 45 wines that are all under $20. Some stores she recommends include Best Sellers and Total Wine. And has this tip for preserving leftover wine. Put it in the fridge, yes, even the reds, to protect it from interacting with oxygen.
The Simple and Savvy Wine Guide
I own a copy of this great book called The Simple and Savvy Wine Guide by Leslie Sbrocco www.lesliesbrocco.com. The whole book is really a must read for us Budget Smart Girls. Here are a few of Sbrocco’s picks for bargain wine-
·Cameron Hughes-California $10
·Concannon from California Central Coast $10
·Raimat from Spain $8-$10
·Columbia Crest from Washington State $8-10
·Michel Lynch Bordeaux France $10-12
·Acacia From California $17-20
·A-Z Wine Works from Oregon $18-20
·Fescobaldi from Italy $18-20
·Mad Fish from Western Australia $15-17
Sbracco says the best way to learn about wine is to taste it. She suggests buying six bottles of different types of wine, sparkling wine, pinot grigio, chardonnay, merlot, zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon and have a wine tasting party.
Her picks for some good online wine stores include-
Wine Myths Demystified
Most of us waste money because of the stories we’ve heard about wine. The Wine Market Council has put together these tips to clear things up-
·Myth 1-A bottle of wine needs to be consumed the same day it is opened.
Fact-You can simply re cork and refrigerate partially consumed bottles; this way the wine should stay fresh for 3-5 days.
·Myth 2-Screw caps mean the wine is cheap.
Fact-Screw caps are now being adopted by some of the most cutting edge wineries because they eliminate the chance of corked wine and preserve the freshness of the wine longer.
Learn the Language
One of the best ways to save money is to gain some firsthand knowledge before you go shopping. Here’s a sit I found that’s devoted to doing just that www.intowine.com
Check Your Local Wine Store
Where I live there are several major stores that have wine tasting events a couple of times a year. You can go along and not only sample the wine, but also get some expert advice too.
Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up
If your local store doesn’t have wine tasting events, ask if they’ll let you taste test before you buy. When you’re on a tight budget there’s nothing worse than handing over your money for a bottle of wine that both you and your guests hate. Some stores will be accommodating, some might not be. And don’t be afraid to ask for some advice about what’s a good wine in your price range. Never be embarrassed about letting people know you have x amount of money to spend on something. Sometimes with that information up front, store clerks can help you find a really good bargain.
Red, White, and Drunk All Over
Natalie MacLean, author of Red, White, and Drunk All Over, is a freelance and independent wine writer. www.nataliemaclean.com. She says with increasing competition from new regions and more producers, there are many delicious and reasonably priced wines to be found these days. To help us get the most for our money she has the following tips-
“Look for lesser know regions within wine producing countries. For example try Washington State rather than Napa Valley, southern Italy (Campania, Sicily, Sardinia) rather than Piedmont and Tuscany. In Spain, Priorat or Rueda rather than Rioja. And in France, the Languedoc, southern Rhone and Loire regions rather than Bordeaux or Burgundy.