The Myth of Good Wine and Price

Grapes Ripening in Napa ValleyIn the past several years I have seen an exponential increase in the amount of wine I consume.  It started when I joined the Four Seasons Wine Club (no longer a member, but it was a great place to start) and graduated into wine pilgrimages to Napa and Sonoma valleys in 2009 and 2010.

Over this time I have had the opportunity to taste a lot of wine.  Some I have liked immensely, and others have been merely OK.  Fortunately, wine is like Pizza and even when it’s bad it’s good enough.

In the past few years I have started to evangelize the glory of red wine to my friends and family through proximity (I’m drinking it, they ask about it) and probably the most common question is around price: “is a $5 bottle of wine that much worse than a $10 bottle?  Is a $25 bottle that much better than a $10” and so on.

As I become more experienced and store perceived “value” of wines in my mental abacus, I have started to notice some trends and formulate some rules for future wine drinking.  Follow these simple rules and you may find yourself enjoying wine even more:

  • Price of wine doesn’t really matter for everyday drinking
  • You will never have a transcendant bottle of wine for $5, but you can certainly have a really good bottle for $10
  • Expensive wine can be bad.  Really bad at times.  Price does not guarantee success
  • Your chances of having a truly great bottle of wine go up with the price you pay
  • Buy a few bottles of nice wine when they are on sale at you local retail outlet or on a site like  Drink them on weekends and for special occasions

Based on my current knowledge level and taste, the above rules work great for determining what wine to drink.  Having said that, I am guessing that in 1-2 years these rules will sound very silly and naive.

If you are thinking about trying more wine, let me know and I can give you some advice on where to begin.  For starters, I suggest joining a club like the four seasons wine club or buying bottles on

About Jeff Sauer

I started blogging in the year 2000, and go in spurts of inspiration followed by long dormancy. I love writing, and your comments keep me going, so comment!

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  1. I agree on all those points. But I have had a great bottle of wine for $3, it’s called Charles Shaw. Have you heard of it? It’s lovely. LOL. All joking aside, for everyday consumption, the $10 range is perfect. But if you are drinking for a special occasion, there is no reason not to reach for the $20-30 shelf. Unfortunately, it’s hard to justify in my house considering there is nobody here to enjoy it with me, sigh… I wish Bri would appreciate it more, but alas he is a beer guy.

    • We just need to sell Brian on the health benefits and low glycemic index of wine… maybe then he will switch.

      You did make me think of something else that I will add to the future post list: the economics of wine and how supply and demand makes better wines more expensive. Also, the mere fact that it costs a lot of micro wineries $5 to produce a bottle of wine means it has to cost more… sort of like a great burger joint vs. McDonalds.