Where Does A Cheapskate Buy Wine These Days?

This is a question I get a lot, probably because some people think that, because I write about wine, that I also somehow know where to find the best bargains. That's only partially true. The truer reason is that I'm a cheapskate. While the benchmark for "value" priced wines seems to have ballooned amongst my wine-writing colleagues (with the exception of this guy,) there are few wines I will spend more than $20 of my own money on.

Last January I wrote a 3 part series on How To Buy Wine At A Terrific Discount in 2021. Well, we're now well into 2022 and, as always, things have changed.

Local independent retailers, for example, have not been good sources for discounted wines lately. In fact, I've been bemoaning the disappearance of the $12 and under section, which has been replaced with a handful of $15 bottles that used to cost $10. (Who knew inflation hit wine so hard?) Word on the street is that these smaller retailers have had it with trying to move inexpensive wine at volume, and so are only stocking higher priced ($25+) wines.

Wine flash sites, occasionally the domain of insanely discounted deals, is predominantly cluttered by unsellable Napa Valley cabernets that are only slightly less preposterously priced at 60% off than they were at full tilt.

Of course, there are exceptions to this, and while I haven't stumbled into any retailers showcasing deeply discounted (or even just plain old good, inexpensive wines,) an increasing share of my wine-buying budget is going to WTSO, which hawks its share of Napa cabs, but which also offers plenty of other goodies. Take a look at some recent purchases:

  • Single vineyard, sustainably farmed, 8 year old estate pinot noir from Santa Barbara county. Was $75 on release, paid $18.
  • Chianti Classico Riserva half-off release price, and less than most regular Chiantis, paid $15.
  • Reputable, quality, age-worthy Chateauneuf du Pape. Was $60 on release, paid $20.

Here's the best part: Shipping is included on 4 or more bottles and arrives via FedEx, and their customer service is excellent.

Finally, a laugh at how elitist wine continues to be. Take a look at this piece on rosés, which is getting some much-deserved lambasting on on social media for its ridiculousness. The first three wines are priced as $75, $52, and $155. And this is for rosés, people!