My appreciation for wine has grown immensely over the years. I latched on to
moscato and pink moscato sweet whites in college and, while I do still enjoy a good riesling or gewurztraminer, dry reds have been my primary jam for the last few years. I've learned about different wine notes and the adjectives to describe the taste, smell, and finish of a wine. But I'm not an expert by any means. And, while I definitely have more money now than I did during my college days, this girl is still on a budget!
With today being National Wine Day (that's a real thing, just ask Instagram), it's the perfect time to talk about budget-friendly wines + essential tools as well as some useful tips for enjoying a quality glass or bottle within your price range. There's even a great bottle for under $5, y'all. Yes, you read that correctly. No, I haven't been drinking. Everything in this post will get you right for the next Wine Down Wednesday or #TGIT night!
Red, White & Rosé
When shopping for red wine, I look for a bottle that is at least 2 to 3 years old. I've rounded up a few of my frugal faves at different price points below.
Older is not necessarily better when it comes to white wine and can actually change the taste of it for the worse. I look for a white that is just 1 or 2 years old. I got my feet wet with white wines (not in the grape-stomping sense) and have tasted many over the years. Here are my favorite bottles at different price points.
- Messina Hof Angel Reisling
This is the "wine of the summer" that is not quite red or white. It is its own category, can be dry or sweet, and comes in varying shades of pink. You definitely don't have to be as wealthy as Lisa Vanderpump to sip a good glass. Here are my wallet-friendly picks.
Tools You Need
- You need a good wine opener (aka corkscrew) to avoid the frustration of a stuck or, even worse, crumbled cork. I got this one by Houdini from my dad in a set along with a foil cutter. It gets the cork out smoothly and untwists itself from the cork in an equally velvety way. 🙂 A few more openers I like are here, here, and here.
- A decanter aerates your wine and saves you from having to continuously swirl that glass of red. [It isn't typically necessary to aerate white wine] I like to decant a whole bottle when enjoying wine with another person or group but something like this aerator is more suitable for when it's just me.
- Sometimes, I drink my wine out of a cute mug that says "Wine Connoisseur" on it but, unless you always drink alone, you'll need some decent glasses. They needn't be expensive. I typically go to Target, HomeGoods, or even Ross for my glassware. I like these stemless ones and these for red or these for white, all from Amazon.
- A foil cutter isn't absolutely necessary but it's generally inexpensive and just makes the life of a wino easier. It removes the top of the foil on a bottle to expose the cork.
- A wine stopper with preservation power is a must (more on why below), especially if you live alone. Try something with a vacuum seal like this one. There are versions for sparkling wines as well.
- I received a set of cute agate bottle stoppers as a housewarming gift and they are both decorative and functional. There are all kinds of decorative stoppers out there and you can even have them personalized with dates, initials, etc.
- Use a wine stopper with a suction function like the one linked above to preserve your opened bottle a while longer. Some days you feel like killing a bottle. Some days you don't. This is clutch for those days when you just
needwant a glass or two. For decorative stoppers, I shop at Target or Marshalls and for more functional ones, I typically look to Amazon.
- Buy more wine. Seriously. Many places offer a discount of at least 10% on the purchase of six bottles or more. My go-to shops for wine are Goody Goody, H-E-B, Total Wine & More, and Spec's. The first three places offer up to 20% off based on quantity and sales.
- Rinse your decanter with a bit of high proof alcohol after cleaning. Decanters don't air dry very well and this step will prevent mold from growing in it!
- It's best to store a wine bottle on its side so that the cork is kept in contact with the liquid, which prevents it from drying out. A dry cork can let oxygen in and ruin the flavor you spent your hard earned coins on.
I hope this information helps you to better wind down or turn up with your next glass or bottle (the research and preparation for this post was lots of fun). 🙂 Please share your favorites in the comments below. Cheers and thanks for reading!
P.S. Check out my favorite, fun wine recipes and related posts below!