/ Food & Drink

How much would you normally spend on a bottle of wine?


Rejoice! It’s the weekend and, as such, some of you may well be tucking into a bottle (or two – just remember to drink sensibly, folks) of plonk. But how much should you spend for a decent bottle?

Other people are probably more discriminate when it comes to choosing wine than I am. But as Alfa explained previously, it’s quite tricky to find a reasonably priced wine that’s not just drinkable, but enjoyable, too.

When I hit the alcohol aisle in the supermarket, I usually scan the shelves for offers, and if I can’t see anything that looks like a steal, plump for the usual big-name, mass-produced Shiraz or Malbec, too stumped/nervous to try anything else. It’ll usually cost around £6.

But there’s apparently a simple ‘secret’ to wine-choosing success that might get me a little more adventurous. All I have to do to get the perfect bottle is choose one that costs £10. No more, no less.

Nice drop

According to former Waitrose managing director (now Minister of State at the Department for International Trade), Lord Mark Price, this is the ‘sweet spot’ that gets you the best balance between quality and price.

His theory is that the tax, transport and bottling costs are fixed and don’t change according to how dear the wine is. This means you pay the same amount of tax on a £5 bottle as you do on a £50 one, so you effectively get less for your money with the cheaper option.

He adds that the value of wine inside a £5 bottle is just under 50p, but £3 in a £10 one, so you get wine that’s twice as much but six times the quality.

If you go up to a £20 bottle, however, the quality of wine is about £7-£8, but you’ve doubled up in cost. This makes the £10 bottle the best bet in terms of quality against cost.

How much do you normally spend on a bottle of wine from a supermarket?

£5-£10 (64%, 695 Votes)

£5 or under (31%, 337 Votes)

£10 - £15 (5%, 50 Votes)

£15 - £20 (0%, 5 Votes)

£20+ (0%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,092

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Wine list woes

But what about when you’re at a pub, bar or restaurant?

Well, if it’s left to me, I’ll usually pick the second or third on the list, thinking the cheapest will taste like paint stripper.

A wine-loving friend swears that you’re actually better off going for the house – and it seems she’s got a point. Apparently, the second and third cheapest wines are actually the ones most likely to have been marked up the highest amount, so are the worst value.

So how do you pick your wine? Do you agree with the £10 theory? Or do you think it’s too extravagant?

John Willman says:
2 April 2017

I don’t agree with the £10 theory. Price has only the most general relationship with quality.
Quality is very much a personal perspective. I have often purchased wines on media and Which? recommendations and found them disappointing. My starting point for choosing wine is to find the grape you prefer. I have never found a bottle of Rioja to my liking but have enjoyed many cheap bottles of Malbec.


I tend to agree with you.
We really liked a red wine from Sainsbury’s that seemed to be on permanent special offer of £5. I wish we had stocked up on it as they stopped selling it.

I recently ordered a selection of red wines on special offer from Ocado that were normally up to £13 a bottle and have yet to find one we like out of them.

AndyB says:
3 April 2017

Interesting, and just demonstrates that individual taste is still the over-riding factor. I have rarely found a Malbec to my taste, yet have never had a Rioja (Riserva) that I didn’t like. Use external advice for guidance, but have faith in your own palate.


Quote from Alfa: “We really liked a red wine from Sainsbury’s that seemed to be on permanent special offer of £5. I wish we had stocked up on it as they stopped selling it. ”

That seems to happen to us all the time. As soon as we find something we really enjoy you can almost guarantee the store will have discontinued it.


Glad we aren’t the only ones. I emailed the producer to see if the wine was available elsewhere maybe under a different name but they didn’t bother to reply.


Finding a style of wine you like is the first step, in my book, but then finding a reliable seller is the key. For many years we have bought from the Wine Society and have enjoyed their quality whether low or medium prices (we don’t indulge in expensive wines as haven’t learned to appreciate them, I’m afraid). We prefer white and lighter reds, including Beaujolais. However we’v also enjoyed M&S house white – at £3.75 when you buy 6 it’s quite a bargain.

But I am more than happy with a decent cider.


I joined the Wine Society after your recommendation in my old wine convo Malcolm.

I contacted them, and let them pick me a box of 12 smooth reds but didn’t actually like any of them as they were still too acidic for me. They were all around £5-£6 and I did wonder whether to try again and select them myself this time from the reviews.


This is well-timed. We were just thinking about having a salad lunch in the garden and were wondering what to drink when I came across some German Riesling we bought in Sainsbury’s for under £10 so we’re going to give that a go. Not too strong at 8.5% abv but I am hoping it will be clean, fresh and a little sweet to complement the celery, cheese, dips and pickles. I shall report back.


…if you’re able :-))