Wine is delicious. Wine is classy. And, if you're not careful, an obsession with great wine can burrow a hole into your pocket faster than a corkscrew. But it doesn't have to be that way. To figure out how to maximize your purchasing power without resorting to Boone's Farm, we tapped Brian Hosmer -- winemaker at the award-winning Chateau Chantal and Hawthorne Vineyards in Traverse City, MI -- for a few tips on how to turn your teeth red without doing the same to your credit rating.RELATED
For many folks, it's impossible to resist a big "sale" sign with slashed prices. Turns out, though, that it's a rouse. “It’s kind of a racket. It’s like going to the casino. The house always wins," Hosmer says. "Wineries can set their wholesale prices at whatever they want. And you can set your retail price at whatever you want. That means, when it’s on the shelf, that wine’s on sale for 50% off all year long. People are looking for value, so you had these made-up sales that don’t really relate to the real world. They just put a big yellow sticker on it.”
Bulk always results in savings. But usually, wineries and clubs can get up 15-25% off the retail price, which is considerably higher than the grocery store. “You can generally get a good deal if you’re a club member or buy at the winery," he says.
“The worst wine to be on the wine list is the cheapest one," Hosmer says. "If you’re the second-cheapest one, you’ll be the best seller. Nobody wants to be on a date and look cheap. But quality is kind of a moving target."
When you're going for a bottle in a restaurant, you can either scan an endless list, looking for something in your budget, or you can save time and get better recs by talking to the expert. “You can just tell them how much money you want to spend and they’ll recommend things. Chat up the sommelier,” he says.