Smart Buying

How to Save Money on Wine

These seven tips will help you get a better price on your favorite vino by the bottle, case or even box.

Do you like drinking wine but don't like spending a fortune on it? Luckily, there are several ways you can get good wine for a good price. Joe Power, a wine expert and publisher of Another Wine Blog, offers these tips for saving money on your next wine purchase.

Take advantage of fall discounts. Late summer to early autumn is harvest time at most vineyards in the Northern Hemisphere. So as the current year’s wines start hitting the shelves, previous years’ wines can go on sale. Sometimes you will see a $50 wine for $15 or $20, Power says. And you're more likely to find deep discounts at grocery stores than wine stores, he says, because the wine shops tend to know what their clientele like and don't get stuck with a lot of excess inventory that has to be sold at a discount.

Buy second labels. A good way to enjoy wine from a high-quality maker at a fraction of the price is to buy its second label. Some wineries produce a second line of wines with grapes that weren't used for their first -- or main -- label. For example, Cornerstone Cellars has a second label called Stepping Stone, which is about $25 per bottle versus more than $100 per bottle for the first label. If you have a favorite high-end wine, visit the winery's Web site to see if it offers a second label. You also can find reviews of second labels at Second Label Wine.

Look at up-and-coming regions. Prices tend to be lower on wines from regions that don't have a long history of wine making, such as South America and U.S. states in the Pacific Northwest. "A lot of people don't walk over to the Oregon and Washington sections (in wine shops), but they should," Power says because the wines can be just as good as California wines -- or sometimes better -- but cost less. Argentine Malbecs also are a great value.

Shop online. You often can find wines in many price ranges on sale at sites such as Wine.com. If you prefer high-end wines, there are several online retailers that operate much like daily deal sites, such as Groupon, by offering select fine wines at discounted prices for a limited time. You can join Lot18, invino and Last Bottle for no charge to get deals on fine wines. Most states allow direct shipments of wines from retailers, but there are a handful that don't.

Buy at warehouse clubs. Costco, in particular, offers good wines at good prices, Power says, because it can buy in bulk and pass the savings on to club members. Power says that he has found highly rated wines for less than $20 at Costco.

Buy in bulk. If there's a wine you really like, buy it in bulk to get a discount, Power says. Wineries and stores often knock up to 15% off the price on purchases of six or 12 bottles. If you find a truly good wine at a bargain price, Power advises that you stock up before others discover it and the price climbs.

Buy a box. If you're more motivated by price than quality, consider box wines. Powers says that box wines have really improved over the past several years and are on par with popular, inexpensive bottled wines. Plus, box wines stay fresh much longer than bottled wines, making them a good buy for occasional wine drinkers.

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