Why GOOD Wine Costs More

Posted by The Wine Whore |

This has bothered me for a while, so I am going to get it out in the open. If I piss you off, I'm sorry. I have to say it...

Looking for a good bottle of wine from the U.S. that costs less than $10 is like sifting through the mud in your backyard and finding a golden nugget amongst the turds from your neighbors' dogs.

Can it happen? Sure! Is it likely? Don't count on it! In the end, the search will end with you completely covered in shit!

When I first started drinking wine, I thought most of the $10 bottles I drank were great. Sure, I liked some bottles more than others, but I didn't realize what they were ALL missing. There's just a depth of character, fullness, complexity, and beauty that can't be found anywhere else that distinguishes these "value" wines from those EPIC and coincidentally more expensive wines.

Still think you can find that golden nugget? Here's some tips to help you stay away from the turds:

  • Stay away from many of the well known U.S. brands
  • Don't let marketing/packaging suck you in
  • Don't buy wine from a gas station, supermarket, or fast food joint

Let's face it, good wine SHOULD cost a little more... and we shouldn't mind paying a little more for it. Just make sure that you're getting your money's worth. Listen to people you trust with tastes similar to your own and don't be afraid to try something new. In the end, the experience of enjoying a GREAT wine is priceless.

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Dean said...

Randy, thank you for hitting the nail on the head. Your post is the core of the blog I'm about to put together.People need to realise that Planet Earth is rather big and funnily enough, contains large masses of earth containing various territories which are called countries.

Some of these countries produce wine. Hell, some even produce wine that's so good it'll make you weep. But alas, too many people are stuck with their heads in the sand (or up their arses) to know any better.

Start the awareness revolution mate! I've got your back!

The Wine Whore said...

Dude, I never realized how clueless we are in the U.S. about wine until I started drinking more wine from around the world. Sure, there's bad wine everywhere, but there's also a lot of REALLY good wine out there too!

FIND IT! DRINK IT! ... and share it with others!

Austin Beeman said...

But when you do find that $10 gem (and they are out there) we need to prize it like it was a map to Atlantis.

And how to find that gem?

If someone isn't on good terms with their local wine shop manager - what are you waiting for. Most of those guys (and gals) taste more than a thousand wines a year. If they every get excited on a sub-$10 wine, you know it will be special

Stuart said...

On the other hand, you don't have to pay $100/btl for a great bottle of wine. I've had incredible wines that were $20-30 and disappointments for $50. Of course I've had incredible wines that cost a lot more too. At the end of the day, it doesn't have to cost a ton of $$ to have a really good wine.

Stay away from the 2/3 buck Chuck unless you are adding (a lot of) mulling spices. :-)

Katie said...

No kidding! I completely agree. Every once in a very great while, I'll come across a wine that is "omygawd I can't belive this wine is THAT good for this low price" bottle of USA wine. Recently, I've found my favorite US wines to be around $30-50/bottle. Yes, I spend a lot of money on wine. Sometimes more. Shhh... don't tell!

Tim Pearson said...

Great article Randy. We are a small, start up, premium producer based in the beautiful Western Cape of South Africa. I have started Seven Springs Vineyard (http://7springs.co.za) because I am absolutely passionate about wine and people. So I am very much aware (our wines will be ready in June 2010) of how much it takes to set up and produce a bottle of wine. The issues you have with cheaper, supermarket, wines are also a UK problem too. Supermarkets, driven by bottom line, will always look at cheaper alternatives by driving producer prices down.

All I will say is get out there and look in wine specialist shops or online wine merchants. These people will be motivated by passion and will wish to bring their enthusiasm and knowledge of wine to their customers.

Also like to say a great site Randy.

Tim Pearson

Shelly said...

I agree that wines from other countries beat out our American wines but...

and you had to know I'd be going there...

How can you (one person) or even a group of wine enthusiasts determine what is "good" for other people? I think everyone gets to determine what is "good" of "great" for them.

I'm not a huge fan of most white wines but I don't then say they aren't good. They're not good for me.

P.S. It no longer makes me mad that people think this way. It's just life. We all have our own opinions and are free to share them with the world:)

Joe Acosta said...

Great Post, thanks.

In general I have found when I have traveled to Europe, France, Spain, Italy, etc. It was much easier and less of a wine crap shoot, to find a really good bottle of decent wine for under $10 and even some very respectable ones for four euros.

I think your post sums up what it is like in the US to find respectable US wines at that price point. I have some ideas why but at the end of the day I am not really sure why.

I enjoy trying many other wines but at the more likely price point...ones money vanishes quite quickly.

Thanks again for the blog, I enjoy it.

Time to start my wine blog to feed my enjoyment (habit).


Chris said...

I think it is a general issue in the US, and a few other countries. The last time I was in the US, the imported wines were very over priced compared to European (not UK) price.

Anyway, I agree there are some great wine for a good price out there, but you need inside info to get them. But in general you do get better wine the more you pay for it. Unfortunately...

DanG said...

I get some great tips on good inexpensive wine from my 2 local wineshop owners due in part from their trips to various wine countries. Also attending tastings at those shops I find a couple great buys. But yes the expensive good wine spoils you. Cheers my friend.

Sip with Me! said...

I totally hear what you're saying, but do we always have to drink great wine? I mean, sure, it would be nice, but I think it's tasting the average wines that makes us appreciate the real gems. Additionally, I kind of see it as a fun challenge to find "enjoyable" (maybe not delicate, deep or complex) wines for under $10. And to be totally honest here, I'm not at all mad that you say it's hard to find a good $10 US wine, but I am struggling a bit with The Wine Whore (he who whores himself for free wine) telling me to spend more money on wine. Just sayin'!

Shelly said...

Well said Sip~

I also find that the less expensive wines that lack all the character of the "finer" wines are more enjoyable for drinking. The more complex wines I like to pair with food to bring out all the flavor. Less expensive wines don't make me feel guilty when enjoying sans food.

drinknectar said...

I agree and disagree with you, friend. Obviously there are great wines around the world that are phenomenal and a value (Argentina, Chile, Spain, Australia, Austria, South Africa) - those wines are not found in the gas station and usually not in the grocery store.

BUT - the decent $10 value is becoming more commonplace. I can't afford to be blown away every night. I look to people like Atlanta Wine Guy, Suburban Wino, Sip With Me and more to recommend ones they love. Collectively we've all sifted through enough turds to keep from being covered in shit. Your argument holds water, but there's a small leak in the bottom of it.

Great conversation though. Love what Tim and Austin reinforced about friending your wine shop.

Josh @nectarwine on Twitter

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