How to choose wine at the best value for your money


From a few pounds to a few thousand, there’s enough choice of wine out there to cater to any budget. But what’s in the price tag?

From vineyard to winery to retailer, wine has gone through quite a journey before it gets poured into your glass. Traditionally, this consists of a supply chain with more than a few players who each take their cut. 

To get the best value for your money, it helps to understand what it is you’re actually spending your money on. Let’s take a closer look and figure out how to get the most bang for your buck.



Where does your money go?

Before getting into your glass, wine embarks upon a long journey, and every step of that journey adds a little expense to what you buy.


The production cost that has been spent on the wine in a bottle only determines a portion of the price tag. Whether a £5 or a £20 bottle, traditionally there are a few more factors to consider before we can understand price vs. quality.


More often than not, the wine we drink comes from different regions, countries or continents (unless we’re lucky to be living in wine country). The logistics add up to about 30p of each bottle.


When it comes to wine, excise duties and VAT are the bad guys. A hefty £2.16 is paid as duty, no matter the bottle or price. Not satisfied with that alone, the taxman also collects 20% VAT charged not only on all other costs, but also on the duty itself. That’s right, a tax on taxes!


Then there’s those who import the wine, get it on the store shelves and finally to your table. There may be as many as three players along this supply chain, and each tend to add roughly 30% or more to the price.

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1. Don't be (TOO) cheap

Think of that £5 bottle. As it turns out, the taxman takes the lion’s share (£3.00), whilst the retailer and the shipping company take most of the rest (£1.80). We are left with a production cost of less than 20p for the wine we drink! Chances are it won’t be drinkable.

When the price tag looks too good to be true, that usually means it is.

When we’re willing to invest a bit more, closer to the £10 mark, things get much better. The value of the wine in the bottle increases fifteenfold (as in 15 times as much) just by doubling the amount you spend. Choose to spend a bit more, and be more confident that each extra pound you spend will translate to a better quality wine.


2. No need to break the bank

On the other hand, you shouldn’t be spending all of your money on a premium bottle of wine, either. When you look at the numbers, there’s really no need to splurge to get a good quality wine.

Rare or collectible wines follow a pricing logic of their very own, and it gets difficult for wine enthusiasts like you and me to make any sense of it.

To choose a wine that’s worth your money, the best option is to set your budget between £10 and £15. It’s in this price range that a bigger fraction your money goes toward the actual value of the wine production.

To choose a wine that’s worth your money, the best option is to set your budget between £10 and £15. A bigger fraction of your money goes toward the actual value of the wine production.

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