Last week, I invited my three best pals over for a meal. Eager to impress and keen to put that old gloater James in his place, I picked exactly 500 grapes from my vineyard to turn into a bottle of red.
With my guests assembled on the night, and after eating a little too much good food, I unveiled the after dinner treat for my friends. With four glasses positioned on the table, I poured each of my guests and myself a generous measurement and allowed the sweet aroma to drift around the room.
I watched as James raised the glass to his nose, circled the contents of the glass and then gulped a large mouthful. Within a second, James spat out the wine down his shirt to my dismay; “Where on earth did you get this from, Barrie? It tastes like filthy socks”. And I quickly became the burden of laughter before my group of friends dispersed home.
My advice – don’t be that idiot who crushes grapes with his feet. Take the following tips to find great wines at greater value.
Tip 1: Search Supermarkets for Wine Deals
If you’re planning a fancy dinner party similar to mine and don’t want to blow your budget (or dirty your feet) check out what your local supermarket has to offer. I can’t recall the last time I walked into a supermarket that didn’t have a designated wine deal section down the aisle.
Make sure you think about what you’re cooking – is it meat? Veg? Italian? There’s a wine for anything. And if you or the member of staff at the supermarket don’t know what’s best, use an internet search engine to find what compliments your dish.
Once you know what appeals to you, perform a second search for wine deals or wine offers for that specific wine.
Tip 2: Sign up to Wine Alerts
Wine comparison websites have the largest and most up-to-date wine offers and special deals out there. Sign up to one of these free ‘wine alert’ services to find the bottle you’re looking for, at the cheapest price.
Better still, how about becoming friends with your local merchant? Ask him to let you know when he has a deal on. The smaller, independent wine merchants are always looking to grow their mailing list, which often involves wine tasting nights. A win all-round if you ask me.
Tip 3: Check out a Wine Comparison Website
Do you know what exactly you are looking for? What you like? Do you regularly buy the same bottle of red, white or sparkling wine?
Head to a wine comparison website and search for the brand or favourite grape you’re after and check the usual price against the price you’ll pay on the website’s list.
The list of wines compiled on these comparison websites are usually from both supermarkets and independent merchants – so you’ll struggle to find a better deal elsewhere.
Barrie enjoys fewer things in life that sitting down to a nice glass of red wine in the evening. He dreams that one day his wine knowledge will be put to good use.