Food, Home Cooking

How To Buy Good Wine At The Supermarket


Can you buy good wine at the supermarket? If you’ve got time to go to a proper wine merchant or a good off licence, you know there’s an expert on hand to help you make a good choice, but if you’re standing in the wine aisle at the supermarket, staring blankly at the bottles, you’re on your own.

If you get lucky, there are some fantastic wines that can be bought at the supermarket, but plenty of naff ones too. You don’t need to be a wine expert to make a good choice or stand there for ages googling reviews.

How To Buy Good Wine At The Supermarket

How You Can Buy Good Wine At The Supermarket

I’ve made wine choices at the supermarket because the wine had a funny name, had a nice looking label, or was the right price (£8 is about where I always go. Anyone else?). Sometimes I get some absolute belters, but I’ve also drunk some shockers.

Once upon a time, I used to drink awful, cheap wine out of mugs with my university boyfriend, but these days I’m looking for something a little more enjoyable. And a wine glass. Here’s how I find a wine I have a good chance of enjoying.

Don’t Be A Wine Snob

Alright, Waitrose might have their own wine experts in-store, but the budget supermarkets have some cracking wines too. Aldi and Lidl in particular have put a lot of work into their wine range, and have been gaining recognition and awards all over the place. Just because a wine is affordable doesn’t mean it’s going to be crap. In fact, I’ve got an Aldi alcohol guide coming soon to help you pick out the best stuff. Keep your eyes peeled!

Read The Label

There’s more help available to you in the wine aisle than you might think, on the bottle itself. Take some time to read the label on the back of the bottle. You probably have some idea of what you like in a wine, like a dry wine, plenty of fruit, or a jammy flavour. Look for words like this to give you an idea of what the wine will be like.

Some supermarkets have their own information to help you make a good choice too. For example, in the Co-Op, look for a little bar with a scale on it next to the name of the wine on the shelf. On this scale, white wines are measured on a dry to sweet scale and red wines on a light to heavy scale. In Morrisons, the wines are almost all split into four categories; fresh, smooth, rich and sweet. Look out for clues like this to get a better idea of what you might want to buy.

Be Wary Of Discounts

There’s always some kind of offer on wine in the supermarket. Some of these offers are genuinely good deals, but unfortunately lots of them are just trying to shift crap wine. If you see the same brands on offer all the time (looking at your, Blossom Hill), it’s probably because they’re not worth the full price tag in the first place.

Deals for buying multiple bottles tend to be better than money off just one bottle. And an excuse to buy more wine.

Make A Note Of What You Like

If you try a wine that you like, whether it’s a glass of wine at a restaurant or a bottle that a friend brings over, pay attention to what you like about it. Make a note of whether you find that you prefer wines from a particular region, or made from a particular grape. Buying from the same region isn’t a guarantee that you’ll get a wine you love, but it’s a good starting point to narrow down your choices.

Ignore Marketing Spiel

Marketers will try all kinds of tricks to try to convince that their wine is the shit. Don’t be fooled by false claims.

Labels saying things like, ‘Gold Medal Standard’, ‘Reserve’, ‘Grand Reserve’, ‘Grand Vin’ or ‘Winemakers Selection’ look good, but have no official meaning. They might well be nice wines, but it’s not a mark of good quality.

Understand VAT

Brace yourselves, we’re doing Maths. There’s a standard VAT on wine, of about £2 on a bottle, depending on the kind of wine. So if you buy a bottle of wine for £4, half of the cost goes on VAT. The rest has to be split between labelling, transport, logistics, admin, and making the wine itself. That’s not a lot spent on actually making the wine.

This doesn’t mean that the more you spend, the better the wine will be. It just means you should be aware of how much money actually went into making the wine. Spending just a couple of quid more a bottle can make all the difference. Maybe my £8 rule was smart after all!

It’s perfectly possible to buy good wine at the supermarket, even if you don’t think you know much about wine. What’s your favourite supermarket wine?

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How To Buy Good Wine At The Supermarket

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30-something lifestyle blogger in Birmingham. Restaurants, nightlife, travel, child-free lifestyle. Caffeine fuelled, pet mum, secret geek. She/her.
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