If you have the means, you wouldn’t think twice about spending £40 on a ticket for your favourite football team. Or £50 for a West End show. But when it comes to spending that kind of money of a bottle of top-end wine, most people are overcome by cold sweats and need to go and lie in a darkened room. But in the wine trade, a bottle priced at under £10 is considered a cheap one, and the average spend per bottle in the UK is around £7.
Duty in the UK on a 75cl bottle of wine is currently £2.08 (£2.67 on sparkling wine) and with VAT currently at 20%, you’re paying close to £3 before you even get to the stuff inside the bottle!
As you spend more on a bottle, you obviously begin to pay more for the wine itself. The cost is determined by numerous factors – the cost and method of harvesting the grapes, the cost of running the vineyards, the yield of the vintage, how fashionable and in demand the grape variety might be.
There is a good article here from David Williams in The Guardian newspaper on why paying more for your wine will be rewarded with a more satisfying experience. He suggests that of all the jumps in quality as you rise up the price scale of wine, none is more noticeable than the one that takes you from the £6 average to around £10.
Elsewhere, there is some useful advice from Wine Anorak.com about where good value can be found from the different wine-producing countries.
What’s my budget?
I must admit, I tend to spend around £6 a bottle, and enjoy some extremely drinkable stuff for such a modest outlay. South Africa offers some of the best value at the moment, while I also enjoy Argentinian Malbec and Carmenère from the always reliable Concha Y Toro producer without breaking the bank.
Excellent value can be found at the discount supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl as well – don’t be afraid to shop around for a bargain. And many of the supermarkets (Tesco, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer) frequently run promotions such as 25% off when you buy 6 bottles or more, which can really bring wines previously untried or considered too expensive into play.