What should I pay for wine?
Wine is like fashion. As much as we can all aspire to own mulberry handbags & Ralph Lauren shirts (and there’s nothing wrong with that) the vast majority of us are looking to wear something that makes us feel good, serves a purpose but is also good value for money.
Wine is the very same, sure we can get excited about a rare vintage claret or wonder how good a £30 Malbec really is, but what we really want is something tasty, thirst quenching & that doesn’t break the bank.
We all understand that the raw materials in a £30 shirt & a £200 shirt aren’t that different. Sure the labour or craftsmanship that goes into a £100 handbag & a £5000 handbag differ, but more than 10 fold!? What we all buy into is that we are paying for a brand, a reputation, a story.
The finest of France’s Burgundy wines, Champagnes most prestigious Grand Marques & Italy’s historic Barolos all use the same raw ingredients, have the same making processes & are put in the same bottles as everyday affordable wines, to an extent. To avoid any legal action we of course recognise that grapes, barrels & winemakers can differ in quality, but does that really justify Domaine Romanee Conti 2002 currently retailing at around £15,000 a bottle? We’ll leave that question up to you!
That doesn’t mean cheap is best - of course just like shirts, there is a lot of mass produced shit out there. If it fits the bill for you, there’s nothing wrong with that either, but it’s worth knowing that there's this magical sweet spot, where for just a few quid more, you can get bags more quality for your money.
The sad truth is that when the nation hands over its average £6.09 for a bottle of vino just a shameful 94p has gone towards the juice in the bottle, after logistics, packaging, profit for the retailer & our good old friend the tax man. How depressing.
But there’s good news. Spend anything between £8-£10 a bottle & most of all those boring, not going to improve my drinking experience, costs stay more or less the same. Meaning that the money left over for happy juice is 100-200% more! That's right 2 or 3 times as much money spent on what’s actually in the glass.
So it’s simple really. Spend a little more, but not much, and the rewards can be huge.
Spend it when you can, but if you can’t, that’s cool. But DON’T spend big for names & brands that someone else has told you are great. Don’t pay for more than what wine really is, a drink, a thirst quencher, a conversation lubricator, a good times maker, but ultimately, just smashed grapes.