How to Get the Most Out of Cheap Wine

Since the recession we have been finding new ways to enjoy ourselves and making the most of what we have. Many people think that when it comes to alcohol and food, what you buy is what you get and it can’t be improved, but with wine there are so many little tips you can use to improve an already pretty good cheap wine – or a terrible one! These simple changes could be what makes you reach for the cheaper wine over the more expensive one on the shelf.


In the United States the average person likes to buy wine between $5 and $10 from their local supermarket if they are having a quiet night in or preparing for a night out; going to the higher end of the spectrum if having guests over. The supermarket wine has become a staple in society that we all accept to love and enjoy, rather than looking too much into our wine, if it’s nice – we drink it! Even better if it’s cheap! My personal favourite is a little over my desired price for wine at nearly $7 for a bottle of Gallo White Zinfandal Rose. There isn’t much you can improve on with this bottle of wine. But here are a few pointers which will apply to pretty much every Rose of it’s price range and cheaper.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to keep your rose in the fridge, keep it on the table, but just put it in the fridge an hour or so before serving, and serve at between 5 and 10C (40 and 50F), if your wine goes too cold then you won’t get the full effect of the alcohol or the tastes hidden by being overly chilled. In a way, wine can get numb from cold just like us, and when it’s numb, it isn’t very interesting to taste.  White wine is predominantly similar to Rose, but is down to personal taste.

In contrast, my partner likes the Kumala Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz from Aldi, at a lovely cheap price of around $4-$5 with variations of Kumala Red available at varying prices in that range. He makes sure not to put his red wine in the fridge, but he also keeps it away from any source of heat or sunlight, a garage or cellar is ideal. In contrast to serving your wine too cold, if you serve it to warm like most restaurants do (over 20C), then you are tasting the most overpowering part of the drink as the alcohol comes out; this is what makes our cheeks extra rosy and that “hit” we get which makes us feel tipsy. With red wine you can get very experimental and put a lot more tricks and tips into your serving method. In the wine industry, most people decant red wine to get rid of the sediment, but this is only apparent in older wines, but if you hold up your bottle to the light and notice it has some floaters best to give it a quick decanting.

Decanting is fairly simple, as shown in the graphic above, where it gets interesting is the aeration process. We have tested this time and time again with varying lengths of waiting, and what we discovered was that in a decent decanter (with a wide bottom) leaving the Kumala red to sit for 30 minutes makes it taste infinitely better than drinking it immediately after serving. This is because the wine has been left in contact with the air for enough time to allow it to develop its flavours and get rid of the harsh tannic taste that we associate with red wine and hangovers. Be careful though, take precautions and be sure to take a small sip at varying intervals throughout the aeration process so you can monitor how it develops, because if you leave it too long, your wine will turn into vinegar!  So when it tastes great, drink up.

Now that we know how to make your wine taste its best, it’s time to make it last. The biggest mistake made in wine is overserving. Believe it or not you are supposed to be able to get five glasses out of a standard bottle of wine. I can allow not using the correct wine glass for your desired wine, because unless you are at a fancy tasting you probably won’t be paying attention to the aromas anyway, but never over serve and you I’ll always be pleasantly surprised by how much more wine you have left over!  I hear you screaming “what!?” at your monitors! But yes, five glasses of wine, that is because the standard pour of glass has grown over the years from 125ml to 250ml, and a 250ml glass can go very quickly, and then not long after that, the entire bottle. Remember when I spoke about the aeration process? Well this continues in your glass, and over time, little by little, the wine at the top of your glass will develop its flavours like the wine at the top of the bottle before the wine at the bottom, so by only using small glasses, you are not risking mixing developed wine with underdeveloped flavours. Get yourself a 125ml glass, then when it’s full you won’t feel so bad, but getting a large wine glass and filling it will only make the bottle go quicker, our wallets thinner, our waistlines larger and health risks higher.

Hopefully with these simple pointers, you will be able to make the most of your next bottle of wine and have it stretch a little bit further. Just think if you start pouring five glasses of wine out of a bottle, and only had one glass a night then that bottle lasts you the whole working week! Just because we want to save money shouldn’t mean we have to sacrifice enjoyment and taste, so try these out and let me know what you think of them, or if you have any ideas yourself! I offered you my top cheap wines but would love to know what yours are to try them out for myself.

About the author: 

Kate Elizabeth is young entrepreneur who first started business in the photographic and design industry. She developed her work into SEO and marketing, becoming Head of Search at an E-commerce company. She is now a formidable researcher with an unrivalled intellectual curiosity that allows her to carry out her love of writing about interesting topics across the web.




  1. SavvyJames says:

    I love a good glass of wine, particularly a nice red blend … my current favorites are 14 Hands Hot to Trot and Menage à Trois Midnight. While I was aware of some of these tips/practices, some are new to me. Nice!
    SavvyJames recently posted…Money and HappinessMy Profile

  2. Sarah says:

    These are great tips! I love a glass of wine after a long day at work (occasionally). And yes, $5 to $10 is usually what I’d spend on a bottle. Why get the expensive stuff, most people can’t tell the difference.

    Sarah @ your better kitchen

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