From time to time, my wife and I enjoy a nice glass of wine with dinner. In the summer we tend to drink white wines, but in the winter we lean towards reds. It’s very relaxing and studies show that it’s healthy in moderation. However, there’s no escaping the fact that wine can be expensive. At the higher end, you can spend $150 bottles of Opus One, and go up much, much higher from there. However, even if you stick to the “Great Wines Under $10” section of your local liquor store, you might find your budget stretched.
A typical a bottle of wine will serve 5 glasses. If you and a significant other drink wine 4 days a week, you’ll consume more than an amazing 83 bottles a year. If your average bottle of wine is $8 (on the cheap side), you’ll spend $664 a year. This translates to $55 a month, roughly equivalent to my cable television bill. The problem is that most people don’t choose $8 bottles of wine. Quite often they’ll choose a wine at $15 or $20 believing that they are getting extra quality for their money. Many times that’s simply not the case.
Let’s look at a few ways to reduce the cost of wine.
- Buy in Bulk – Many liquor stores will give you a discount if you buy 6 or 12 bottles at a time. For 6 bottle purchases you can usually save 10%. For 12 bottles, I often see a 20% discount. The savings can really add up.
- Look at Two Buck Chuck – If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, you may be in luck. They carry a brand called Charles Shaw that is $1.99 or $2.99 (depending on location) for quite a variety of red and white wines. I’m lucky that in California, it is just $2 a bottle. It’s a decent wine, but some discerning tastes might look for something better. Unfortunately, you can’t get a further discount by buying in bulk. At such a low price, what did you really expect?
- Boxed Wine – Much like the Two Buck Chuck above, sommeliers around the world will not be celebrating the essence of a fine boxed wine. However, you may find that it fits your budget well.
- Avoid the Name – People love the big name like the aforementioned Opus One. I’ve talked to more than a few wine experts from Napa and Sonoma Valley who say that you can get a better wine for 1/6th the price.
- Make Your Own – We’ve made our own beer, but we haven’t ventured into the wine area yet. With Two Buck Chuck available to us, the motivation for making our own wine would simply be for the fun of learning a new skill.
- Wine Aerator – One of the best ways to save money on wine is to make the most of a cheaper wine. A wine aerator is a quick way to get oxygen into the wine. If you’ve ever heard of letting a wine breathe, this is the equivalent.
- Mulling Spices – My wife introduced mulling spices to me earlier this week. The mix of clove, cinnamon, and other spices really enhance a glass of red wine. This time of year it can get pretty cold outside. Mulled wine is an excellent way to warm up your insides.
I write so many words on saving money and keeping your financial life in good shape. Often my tips require some kind of sacrifice. This is one instance where the sacrifice is quite small and can lead to big savings.
[Photo Credit: KatieW via Flickr]