View Full Version : Wine Prices

15th Aug 2006, 11:25
I recall some years ago buying a glass of red fom a place in LHR T4 that was something like £20 (on expenses I must add). I remarked to the seller that it wasnt that much better than the £4.99 wine I had quaffed the night before. The said it probably wasn't and that in all honesty, the taste difference between a £4.99 bottle and a £49.99 bottle wasn't £45. Its just that one was rarer.

So, how much do you normally pay for wine from a supermarket/Offie and what is the most expensive you have brought. In my case it is about £6.50 and £15.00

From the BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4791429.stm
The British buy their supermarket wines by price, says a leading industry executive, and £3.99 per bottle is the magic figure for those searching the supermarket aisles. But can you get anything decent at this price?

When you're buying a bottle of wine, what do you look at first? The picture on the label? Jaunty new world versus venerable European? Or let's be honest, do you look at the price?

Even though wine sales have soared in Britain, consumers are still not confident about making their preferences according to the type of wine or where it's made - instead they make their selection by price.

Jean-Manuel Spriet, the man behind Jacob's Creek in the UK - one of the biggest wine brands - has revealed the typical consumer goes looking for a bottle that costs about £3.99. There's resistance to paying more than this - and a suspicion of anything that's too much below. It's the sweet spot for sales.

So when you go into a supermarket, there will be walls of new world wine pitched around this price - with discounts and special deals often targeting this cash-conscious shopper.

But is it good value to buy wine at this supermarket price? And is there any assurance of quality?


Today's mass-market wine is vastly superior to its equivalent a decade ago, says Tom Forrester, wine expert at Vinopolis, the wine centre and tourist attraction in London.

"The quality has shot up, the wine-making techniques are better - and if you look at the cheap wines we used to drink, they're nothing like as good as the £3.99 wine you're getting nowadays," he says.

New world wines have been able to mass-produce consistent quality

The prevalence of so much wine in this price bracket reflects the power of supermarkets, he says.

"People don't have loyalty to a brand, the loyalty is to the supermarket - the consumer is saying 'I bought a £3.99 bottle from them last week, it was good, I'll buy another one that's £3.99 this week.'"

But there are differences in quality within this narrow price range. Mr Forrester says that you're more likely to get a good deal from a new world wine, such as big Australian brands - which can provide consistent, reliable, mass-produced quality.

A glut of wine in Australia is currently helping to push down prices - with reports from Down Under that some wine is now cheaper than bottled water.

Wine critic Jamie Goode describes the low-cost new world brands in British supermarkets as the "taste-a-likes".

But he says wine producers have struggled to get sufficient numbers of consumers to "trade up" to more expensive wines, above this £4 price barrier.

More prestigious French vineyards, without the industrialised economies of scale and with a less predictable climate, would struggle to produce anything decent in this price range, says Mr Forrester.

"A £3.99 bottle of wine from Chile is likely to be streets ahead of a £3.99 Bordeaux," he says.

Taxing moments

But before cracking open a bottle of £3.99 to celebrate, there is a downside. The actual cost of the wine is only a small fraction of the checkout price tag - with much of the price of a cheap bottle going on more sobering costs such as tax.

"The more customers spend, the more they are paying for the actual wine inside the bottle. The costs of duty, labelling and transport are all going to be the same regardless of the price of the wine," says a spokesperson for Waitrose.

The wine in the £2.99 bottle only costs about 50p

"So if you spend £2.99 on a bottle of plonk you are only actually spending about 30p to 50p on the wine, but if you spend £5 you are spending about £1.50 to £2 on the wine."

As the British warm to wine, we are also trying different varieties, moving beyond the stereotypes of office workers glugging buckets of chardonnay.

This summer's big sellers have been rosé and pinot grigio, says Waitrose, with globally-warmed English wines gaining in popularity.

Mr Forrest has also noted the surge in enthusiasm for rosé, which has shed its image of naffness and become a cool summer drink.

"People might say they're bored of chardonnay, although they still drink a lot of it. But it's pinot grigio and rosé which are really moving up this year. There's been a huge increase in rosé.

"It has some red wine flavours, but it's not as heavy as red wine, so you can drink it on a warm summer's afternoon."

15th Aug 2006, 11:41
Usually take the camper to Calais on a booze cruise (well, it's plated for a 3/4 ton load!!) and try to fill up for a year. Some good everyday wines about 2 to 3, and the "best" ones we get from there about 10-12. Have just recently run out and am drinking some superb Chilean Cabernet 2.99 from local cheap supermarket (I'm not telling which one or there won't be any left tomorrow!!). Most I've ever paid - about 40 - in Michelin-star level eateries.


15th Aug 2006, 12:59
If it hasn't got a screw top it's too posh for me. :}

I remember reading in the Alan Clarke Diaries that the good living, upper class toff said that "any Claret that cost less than a hundred pounds a bottle just wasn't worth drinking".

[email protected] :rolleyes:

15th Aug 2006, 13:03
Wait until you have had a bottle over £200 then you will realise just how right he is :ok:

As an aside, I was in Budgens the other day and noticed that you could not buy a bottle under £5.00. All the new world wines seem to be way overpriced these days for the quality you get!

15th Aug 2006, 13:07
Well that will be a long wait......
I could get three hundred bottles of Jupiler for that. Make that 350 by the time I have taken the empties back. :ok: Anyway, where does an F.O. get two hundred quid from?

got banned
15th Aug 2006, 13:08
1.87 for a glass of Yorkshire Wine, known around these parts as TETLEYS BITTER- yum yum.

15th Aug 2006, 14:44
Wine Cheaper than Water... (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2312935,00.html)

15th Aug 2006, 14:51
I remember my first trip abroad when the airforce was still in Malta. I bought a bottle of wine and the deposit on the bottle cost more than the wine.:yuk:

Actually, these days you can't go far wrong with a bottle of Cava from Adsa or Tesco. Less than 3 at christmas and not much more the rest of the year.

15th Aug 2006, 14:51
How many times do i have to say it. The one and only tonic wine (http://www.bawbag.com/images/buckfast.jpg) is the real deal:ok:

15th Aug 2006, 14:55
People might say they're bored of chardonnay
I tend to say bored with, not bored of! :8 How daft of me to think a journalist should know better!

I've had a 100 bottle of claret and I've had a FF60 bottle of French Fizz. All I can say is that there is a big difference in price and what you get. However, I don't think an interpolation of prices within is necessarily valid or even.

I tend to average bottle at 4-5 each (preferably New World, Italian Whites and Spanish Reds) with a screw top 'cos my old faithful corkscrew is now FUBAR'd. It's a system and it works - if I buy one I don't like, I remember not to buy it again and if there is a common theme (i.e. they're all Pinotage), then I've learned something about the grape.



Buster Cherry
15th Aug 2006, 14:58
Mouton-Rothschild (http://www.vintagewinegifts.co.uk/cgi-bin/ss000001.pl?SS=Mouton-Rothschild&PR=-1&TB=A&SHOP=&ACTION.x=26&ACTION.y=10)

If that`s too expensive...Eek

Sainsburys (http://www.sainsburyswine.co.uk/) have a great selection. Personally, wouldn`t pay anything much less than a tenner for a bottle of wine.
you pays for what you gets in my opinion.

15th Aug 2006, 15:06
The August 13th issue of the New York Times carried an interesting (and lengthy) article in its business section titled, "In Vino Veritas? Wine Ratings Might Not Pass the Sobriety Test."

It showed that of the top three wine markets, France, Italy and the US, only the US shows year-over-year growth in every year since 1970, while the other two are declining.

It also shows something else, that the wine ratings businesses, such as Robert Parker and Wine Spectator, drive prices to a larger extent than one would normally see in an objective market regime.

From the article:

Mr. Zucker said he was promoting the Valentin Bianchi because he thought it an attractive buy even before Wine Spectator treated it to a 90. But that is hardly always the case with a high-scoring wine. “A wine that is highly rated takes on a life of its own,” he said. “It doesn’t necessarily represent the best value, but that doesn’t seem to matter.”

Here's the link to the complete article (it's very well done):


Note: The NY Times may require you to register and pick a password to access the entire article. They send no junk mail and do not sell their user list.

15th Aug 2006, 17:21
Anyway, where does an F.O. get two hundred quid fromIn my previous life before aviation :{

15th Aug 2006, 18:55
I usually prefer Australian reds (Wolf Blass, Hardy's, etc) - they are reliable and the supermarkets run offers regularly, so they are worth buying (at about £4 -£5) when they are reduced. Only my opinion, mind ...

I did however go on a charity trip to Bordeaux earlier this year and we tasted some 2005 wines (as yet unbottled). It was total heaven - I have never tasted anything so good. They will retail at £30 + when they are bottled later this year. :cool:

I believe the 2005 wines are so good that they will be a great investment ... only if you have the ideal conditions to store them, of course.

15th Aug 2006, 19:15
Another common myth about wines is that age is always good. A high sugar year like 05 was, and I suspect 06 will be too, should yield wines which will store well, but there is nothing more tragic than a really stunning wine ruined by someone thinking it will get better with age. Most of them don't!

I've drunk some very expensive wines, and some very cheap ones, and been delighted and dissappointed in equal measure by both kinds!

I personally never pat restaurant prices for wine, I will almost invariably take along my own bottle and pay them corkage as I know I can get a really good wine for the 15 - 20 mark from France, whereas a 15 bottle in a restaurant is likely to be akin to dishwater!

Everyone should go to France and visit some of the regional mine sellers and vineyards. It's an amazing experience and a real eye opener to the average British pallet!

15th Aug 2006, 19:16
As an aside, I was in Budgens the other day and noticed that you could not buy a bottle under 5.00. All the new world wines seem to be way overpriced these days for the quality you get!
As an aside, you are a whisky. Buck up, don't be so cheap!

15th Aug 2006, 20:10
Most I've ever paid - about 40 - in Michelin-star level eateries.
Hahahaha That wil be at least 100 for a good one in a michelin star restaurant, hope you got over the headache hahaha, unless you were addicted to Liebfraumlich or some sort, you micht have developed some resisitance :} .
Where are the michelin ones in the UK??? have you ever eated in one :confused:
I pay between 8 and 20 for really good ones here in NL, not in the supermarket, but at the wijnbeurs for instance, food I get in supermarkets.
Cheers :ok:

15th Aug 2006, 20:33
As an aside, you are a whiskyClose my friend but check the spelling...;) http://www.scotchwhisky.net/images/dist/cgm_s_sign.jpg:ok:

15th Aug 2006, 20:34
asda jacobs creek, about 4 quid a bottle. very drinkable.
still prefer my boddingtons bitter though.

have paid a lot more for french red wine in various hotels and been very disappointed.
no idea what a 200 quid claret taste like but it sure wont be 50/100 times better than the above!

15th Aug 2006, 20:38
Ate out in a Greek (Cypriot) restaurant last week. Red wine was £11.95, £12.95 and £13.95 (or £13.95/litre 'house wine'). I asked the waitress (we've eaten there many times) which red to choose and she brought the £11.95. It went down well.

it sure wont be 50/100 times better than the above! :ugh:
Which would you rather? ONE glass of the 200 quid claret or 50 glasses of your favourite plonk? Of course if you'd already DRUNK the 50 glasses of plonk . . .

An old sage who managed the typing pool (they also 'filed' test reports) used to sit at the back of his empire from where he was able to ogle all his beauties. I was conversing with him one day, when one of the peaches swept past.
I said "Oh Fred! Couldn't you just give her one?" to which he replied
"Quite frankly, old boy, I'd rather have a pint of beer. (pause) That is, of course, unless I'd only just HAD a pint of beer . . . "

15th Aug 2006, 20:48
Which would you rather? ONE glass of the 200 quid claret...Have you seen the size of an original crystal wine tasting glass? :}

15th Aug 2006, 22:51
The first thing to say is it's never a good idea to buy good quality wine from a supermarket. They don't have the facilties to keep wine so even if it was good when they bought it the fact they don't store it correctly means its quality diminishes over time.

For high quality wine I buy most of my wine direct from the vineyard, always French vineyards, for everday wine we buy new world and italian. I'm quite happy to pay more than 50 per bottle for the good wines, I have a cellar with a good few bottles of Clos St. Hune which cost substantially more than 50,Mr Trimbach always being a good source of wine, but well worth it in my opinion. For bordeaux you have to shop around a bit as prices are high, I've bought a few languedoc recently which have been outstanding also. Burgundy is becoming expensive also but personal visits to the vineyard can always throw up bargains.

In my opinion the best quality/price ratio for whites is in Alsace, if you want high quality reds you will always have to look in Bordeaux and Burgundy and you will have to pay accordingly

15th Aug 2006, 23:01
Indeed, and when you are in the Bordeaux region, it's well worth investing in a good bottle of Armagnac!

A small glass and a sugar cube after a good meal, unbeatable!

Or if you are visiting the vineyard, ask them about pruneaux, or eau de vie!

This is basically alcohol which the farmers are allowed to distill each year for use as an agricultural fuel. Of course some accidentally gets distilled again until it's about 98% alcohol. The base is usually plums (hence pruneaux) and it has some flavour but not much. Makes a fantastic punch base, for a punch with that little extra kick! :)

Of course, it is illegal to transport this, or indeed to use it for anything other than a fuel, so if you do manage to get hold of some it will probably be in some other kind of container. I usually take a couple of empty green glass mineral water bottles whenever I go over!

15th Aug 2006, 23:14
eau de vieEau de Vie really ought to be called Eau de Mort :p A splash in your coffee is enough to ruin a good 7 course meal!
I have been going to the Cognac region for the past 17 years. Most villages, about one hour north of Bordeaux, end with 'ac', (Cognac, Armagnac and Jarnac for example being the most famous.) Some of the local farmers sell their own produce by the side of the raod. Most seem to be over 90+ years old, perhaps that's why its called Eau de Vie!

15th Aug 2006, 23:19
Most seem to be over 90+ years old, perhaps that's
why its called Eau de Vie!

Indeed, that and the foul Gauloises they smoke.

Pickled AND smoked, that's some serious preservation.

One has a small place, part of a 13th century hill fort, in the Haute Pyrenees region. Little village called Saint Justin.

Interestingly, it is a 13th century fort built to counter the British fort of Labastide D'Armagnac on the opposite side of the valley!

Anyone ever tried tunneling through a 15 foot thick stone wall to put a drain pipe through? My advice is if you haven't, don't!!!

15th Aug 2006, 23:28
One also has a small dwelling, a 30 minute drive to the north-east of Cognac. Our local builder, sitting in the French equivalent of a JCB, said he was unable to dig deep enough to install the mandatory cess-pit pipelines under the garden due to thick rock.

We all thought this hilarious, for next to the proposed cess-pit lines is a hand built 40ft well from the last century. Bless 'em!:ok:

15th Aug 2006, 23:30
Did he go on strike for four days due to "labour disputes" then insist on payment for work he'd never done?

Just seems to be the French way of doing things!

15th Aug 2006, 23:39
Believe it or not, he gracefully admitted defeat and disappeared with no charge, an attitude that they adopt in my area ! :O

Good night...

15th Aug 2006, 23:39
Originally Posted by Craggenmore
Most seem to be over 90+ years old, perhaps that's
why its called Eau de Vie!

Yes, there must be something in it! without wanting to sound like a tourist rep for Alsace it's generally recognised that the best eau de vie in France comes from Alsace, certainly much better than the stuff which comes from the south, though it's all good.

Armagnac isn't an eau de vie though, good though it is, as I reach for the Armagnac bottle:)

16th Aug 2006, 07:57
I have a small winery, in a place where good wines can be reliably grown and made. A few hundred barels of sleeping wine sit in and near the entry drive, almost blocking the way.

Of nearly two dozen vintages and several varieties, most wines we have produced have been 'good', some superb, and a very few have been extraordinarily fine. To a degree, it is a matter of chance whether the same process makes good, great or grand.

Inevitably, the really fine wines are never in great supply, and there is almost no price that justifies parting with them.

16th Aug 2006, 08:38
The French Air Force pilots introduced me to 'pousse rapiere' - armagnac topped with dry champagne. Tastes fantastic - the rapier thrust is as it hits the stomach!

16th Aug 2006, 08:53
I've bought a few languedoc recently which have been outstanding also.

We also visited a vineyard in the Languedoc and it was indeed outstanding.

I usually pay between 3-5/bottle and nearly always new world. Although last night I purchased a bottle of green Italian pinot grigo and it was marvellous.:ok:

Most expensive purchase ever was a 1986 Bollinger on the QE2. :ok: :ok:

16th Aug 2006, 12:45
Several years ago I was given a 35cl bottle of 1973 Bas Armagnac, Fabre de Paillerets, Domaine de Poules-Roussot, Cravenceres. I've kept it on display in a darker part of the rack due to its nice bottle and implied rarity. However, I know nothing about it.

As there seems to be some here familiar with the subject, is it anything special, to be saved for a singular event? Or should I just leave it in the case?

16th Aug 2006, 12:51
My Mathematics master (who happened to be a neighbour) was a teetotaller, nevertheless he kept a cupboard of 'New-Year' alcohol for visitors. He confessed, however, that he'd poured-away half a bottle of whisky as he'd had it for several years and 'it had probably gone off'.