We all love a good bargain, but when it comes to buying a bottle of wine at the local bottle store, heading for the discount bin can result in either the bargain of the year, or a disappointing, bad-tasting mistake. Sydney-based Rob Geddes is one of few Australians with a Master of Wine, and says there are key things to look out for when eyeing a cheap bottle of wine that might seem too good to be true. His top buying tips for wine under $20 a bottle are:
- Buy the youngest vintage possible – most wine is bottled ready to drink so if it sits gathering dust in hot wine shop it is less likely to taste as the winemaker intended
- Buy the major varietals – Australia has great winemakers and great grape resources so stick to the major varieties, Chardonnay, Semillon, Riesling , Shiraz, Cabernet and Grenache
- Buy the more expensive brand option – ie if there’s a bottle of Jacobs Creek for $7 and another for $13, but the latter which will have higher quality
- Buy screw cap as they keep wine fresher for longer than cork
- Some wines are sold off just because the next vintage is coming not because they are losing quality. This is very true with Semillon, Riesling and Rose which hold for 2-3 years past vintage where the retailer will have to make room for the next vintage 12 months later
- Under $20.00 value – It is a fact that larger retailers because of their buying power can get better prices than small retailers, and because they are bigger businesses they need to order more wine. If they make a mistake it is likely to a bigger mistake than a small retailer so watch out in September when they may discover inventory is a problem. The same applies for large wine producers.
- Watch out for end of financial year sales in June. There can be discounts on case buys on top of already discounted prices that make wine cheap, (mainly in June) as the retailers chase sales.
Rob Geddes is the author of Australian Wine Vintages, with the 2016 edition out now www.thegoldbook.com.au.