Tricks to choose better value wine at the supermarket

How much of a difference does it make where the wine is from? Is there a sweet spot where the price of a bottle and taste meet? This and more revealed below.

Just over a month ago I shared a video with you where my wine expert friend Rob and I looked into whether it was worth paying more for expensive supermarket wine. This involved lots of research (as in drinking wine), and during the filming we talked about so much I had to cut a lot from the final film. So, here’s a new video with a selection of those extra chats around the topic of getting better value from your supermarket wine.

Different regions can offer better value

In our taste test last time around the most expensive wine was my least favourite, and Rob said it’s because we’d paid for the Burgandy name but not got the quality. It turns out Burgandy doesn’t produce much wine, so even the not as good stuff comes with a price premium. The same goes for Californian wines and anything from the Champagne region.

However, some locations make a lot of wine, meaning you can get better quality vino for less. Rob suggested Chile, Mendoza in Argentina, Puglia and Basilicata in Italy, and Bordeaux and good choices to help guide you when browsing the shelves.

Be willing to spend around £10

£1,000 for a bottle seems crazy to me. Surely that’s just showing off? But these wines do exist, and people do buy them. But even at a more realistic £30 to £50, is it worth it? Our taste test last time around showed our favourite was a £9 bottle and to me around £10 like a good area to go for. It’s just a few quid extra but could be a lot better.

The former MD of Waitrose agrees, saying recently in an interview that a tenner represents the best value for money.

Go to a wine shop for something special

For Rob, £20 for a bottle is the sweet spot – but at that price he says you’re better off going to a wine shop than picking from the supermarket shelves.

Do this and you’re probably getting small suppliers making a decent wine which the supermarkets won’t stock as it doesn’t scale to the quantities they’d need.

It’s ok to buy cheap wine

Despite the best value being nearer £10, Rob and I both agreed there’s no point spending too much if you’re just going to slosh it down with a pizza. I’ve had plenty of £6 or £7 bottles that did the job. We even found a pretty decent £5 bottle during our taste test.

Don’t compare a £10 wine reduced to £6 with a full-price £10 wine

As I said before, £10 feels like a reasonable sweet spot for buying wine at a supermarket, but surely it’s even better to get a £10 wine discounted to £6 in a special offer? Well, this is what I’ve always done in the past. Get a wine that should cost around £9 but pay a third less (if not more). Winning.

But the question is, are you really getting a £9 or £10 wine when you buy on special offer? Or are you just getting a £6 wine that has been marked up so it can be discounted later on?

This happens a lot more than we’d think, and as Rob points out in the video it means people are comparing what they think is a £10 wine with a normal £6 wine, but not tasting any difference. So this reinforces the idea that it’s not worth paying more than £6.

As I wrote last time, the trick to see how frequently a bottle of wine is discounted is to use the website and app MySupermarket. Here you can search for products and view the price history. If it’s on offer more than full-price, then I’d say it’s never meant to sell at the higher price.

Save a little extra with cut-price supermarket gift cards

I’m a big fan of gift card resale site Zeek and I’ll always do my supermarket shopping using a card or code I’ve bought from there. You can usually get Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, M&S and sometimes Waitrose vouchers with between 1% and 10% off.

Plus, use the code CLEVERCASH and you’ll get an extra fiver off your first purchase.

>> Shop for supermarket gift cards on Zeek


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  1. Pingback: Cash Chats podcast episode 13 w/ guests Amy & Michael | Be Clever With Your Cash


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