/ 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?


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.

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 :-))

Yes, Ian I did not over-indulge. I can report that the wine was a very good accompaniment to the lunch and was very pleasant to drink so we managed to finish the bottle. I have also put it on the list for the next Sainsbury’s delivery.

Prosecco seems to be the lunchtime tipple of choice around these parts in pubs and restaurants but I am not that impressed and think it tends to be overpriced. We have a couple of bottles of M&S Prosecco that have not been opened yet so one fine day in the near future we might see how that compares with the version supplied in licensed premises.

peter hudson says:
2 April 2017

I get my German wines which I prefer by buying 21 bottles at a delivery cost of€21 – a euro per bottle . Their excellent wines cost from €4,50 to €6.50 (qualitatswein) per bottle. There are dearer wines.

Gunther speaks perfect English if you wish to discuss.
Not sure whether you can put this in but my supplier is

Weinhaus Schnitzius ,Bernkastel-kues.

If you haven’t already, Peter, you really should try some Frankenwein from the Franconia region of Bavaria in Germany [principally around Wurzburg and Bamberg]. It comes in a specially shaped bottle and is drier than many other German wines but has a luscious fruitiness. The problem is getting hold of it over here. I used to be able to buy it in London at sensible prices but it is rarely stocked now.

I prefer ‘superior’ wines. One might buy a modest wine for £20 -£40, but I’d rather spend £50-£150 on a bottle that I can lay down for some years, allowing them to mature, before enjoying them.

For friends, I’d also rather give good wines (£100-£150 a bottle), but most of my friends are incapable of recognising a good wine or of treating it as it should be treated.

I thoroughly agree. Most wines priced at £10 are fairly priced and the actual value of the wine in the bottle can be easily superior at that price. I use that simple rule and I am rarely disappointed. Also, there are some wines from say £6 upwards that can stand out but beneath £8 you need to know what you are looking for!

As one who prefers to buy wine for drinking rather than laying down, and who – like most people in this country – are not in close enough reach of specialist wine merchants where you can consider alternatives and possibly taste them before buying, I am quite happy to look for easy-drinking wines at everyday prices in the £7-£13 price bracket in supermarket and high street shops, and genuinely am rarely disappointed. Apart from a few years ago when we used to get mixed cases from an Italian company we have steered away from club selections and regular deliveries. I can understand the desire for superior wines and admire those connoisseurs that have the gift of appreciating them properly and can afford to indulge their tastes but we are not in that league and have to put up with the best we can find at a middle market price.

…and here’s me thinking that laying down was what followed drinking the stuff, not preceded it.

For me the trick is to wait until the £10 bottle comes down in price a bit and then stock up .I like ‘new world’ Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir that normally retail for about £9.75 or so (£12/£10 for the Pinot) They drop down to £7.50 or less every few weeks and that’s when I pounce.

The trouble with this strategy is they might simply be £7.50 bottles overpriced in the first place. Half price wine is like half price sofas – that’s all they’re likely to be worth.

Nonetheless, what Alan does is better than paying £10 for the same wine, which is the other possible outcome in this case.

Noting the source of the advice is from a former retail executive called “Mark Price”, is “Mark” short for “Market Then Markup Accordingly”?

There are one or two wines we like and buy regularly at their £9-£10 price, but from time to time they are on offer at £7.50 so we buy an extra one or two. I am not sure whether we are buying what a connoisseur might call an inferior wine, but if we enjoy it and it is at an affordable price for regular drinking, then what’s not to like?

I must say I wonder how such a product can come all the way from New Zealand, bear all the trucking, warehousing and merchandising costs in the UK plus duty and VAT, and go on the shelf at £10 or less. I accept that what we are buying is just a comfortable alcoholic drink rather than a fine wine.

I discovered a lot of foreign wine is not bottled at source but shipped to the UK where it is then bottled and maybe blended then bottled.

Yes, when I was considering the price of wine I was thinking that most of the imported wine from the southern hemisphere, and possibly also California, probably comes in giant tanks and is then bottled here. The cost of shipping glass bottles and cardboard around the world would be prohibitive at the everyday price point. Superior wines can carry the cost and mainly come from continental Europe [which has little need for imported wine from America, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa]. Having such imports does exert a degree of competitive pressure on the French, German and Italian wine producers so it’s good to look around and there is no doubt that some of the antipodean wines are more appealing to the untutored palate than their European heritage and vintage versions.

I like nice wine but I am on a budget. Asda do a nice red which is only 4 pounds its down to taste and personal preference. Lidle do a nice reds too, which are reasonable

We tend to stock on wine when there are special deals Sainsbury about 4 time a year offer an additional 25% discount and we stock up on the wines we enjoy.

Wines that have earned a medal are a good bet.

Wine medals were brought up on TV not that long ago and are not as good a bet as you think.

You might want to have a read of:

You can even buy your own awards to stick on wine.

Try wines recommended by wine correspondents like Fiona Beckett in the Guardian or Mathew Juke in the Dail Mail and find wines you really like.Then wait for 25% deals or buy six mix and match deal in Majestic.Do not forget Aldi or Lidl some of their wines are very good.

Just bought 6 bottles of white Burgundies from M&S. A Sparks offer of 25% off and a £5 off a >£35 spend brought the cost to £48.62. As a bottle lasts us at least 2 meals, and often 3, it’ll be a while before we work our way through them but I’ll try to remember to report back.

I never spend more than £6 on supermarket wine, usually buy the half price ones reduced from £10 in Tesco, although I’m not convinced these are always genuine reductions! However, my favourite is New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and the Lidl one at £5.79 is fabulous and as good as some of the more expensive brands such as Brancott Estate in my opinion.

Can someone please advise the best possible way to keep wine after the bottle has been opened?

You can get vacuVin – a hand pump that removes some of the air through a rubber stopper. Used it and it works. I have seen nitrogen cans to replace the air. We use nothing on the level of wine we drink and it seems OK after 2 days with just the cork replaced. Not sure why you would want to keep it any longer than a couple of mealtimes.