For as long as I have been drinking wine, price has come into play in making my selection.
In the early wine-drinking years I had less discretionary income, so my budget was significantly smaller than it is now, but even then I was worried about spending too little of an amount.
I never wanted to drink ‘bad’ wine, so, taking my budget into account, I spent somewhere between $12 and $18 a bottle at the grocery store and hoped for the best.
(I didn’t shop at wine shops then. They were way too intimidating for me and I was always afraid I would look like an idiot in one. Silly me. I should have seen the employees there as great resources rather than great intimidators!!)
I thought I had to spend a certain magical amount in order to get a quality wine and I still felt I was just barely reaching that line.
I didn’t buy wine very often then, so spending $12-18 per bottle wasn’t difficult for me, but it was still a luxury.
And when I was bringing wine to someone’s house or buying it as a gift, I always spent on the higher side of that range. I didn’t want to look cheap, and since I regarded a bottle of wine potentially as a sophisticated hostess gift or contribution to dinner, I didn’t want to disappoint. (But I was still pretty lost in the wine aisle.)
Price was the only way I could ‘judge’ wine, and I felt that everyone else must have some magic number in their heads, too. So that, aside from comparing the labels, was all I had to go on. (And no, I didn’t want to judge a wine by its label… although those labels and clever names sure can be influential!!)
The funny thing is that today, now that I can spend more, I am still searching for wines in that price range. Yes, I also buy wines much more expensive than that, too. But now I don’t apologize when searching out wines under $20 and I know that I can get great wines at those prices.
Why is it that so many of us think we have to spend a significant amount of money to get a wine we will enjoy?
And when we spend more, do we actually always get a better wine?
I’d like to argue that no, not always when we spend more do we get more. I think that often we pay more and yet the wine, qualitatively, is the same as many other wines within $15… or even a wider range.
Yes, I agree that certain qualitative aspects of wine-making do cost more to implement and therefore can dictate a higher price as they bring a more complex, higher quality wine. But I don’t think that is the case for every wine that costs more than the next one.
I plan to discuss wine and its pricing in Wine vs. Money, a new category here on VineSleuth Uncorked. I’ll share my experiences in buying wine and tasting wine, as well as draw upon studies and other resources in the wine world to see what others are saying and experiencing as we uncover the clues together.
We will explore all of those assumptions I had in the early years and the ones I still battle today. And we’ll also talk about the ones that marketers want us to think about and don’t want us to think about.
Of course I’d love to hear about your experiences in wine, as it relates to money here, too.
I’m just wondering… Has your wine budget changed in the last 10 years? How much do YOU spend on a bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner… or on a splurge? (And are you brave enough to share that here. )