Ok, the site is called CheapWineFinder.com, but the name comes from Google search terms, one of the most popular searches for wine is “cheap wine,” if there are a lot of people looking for it, that is where we wanted to be. I am well aware that folks who are into expensive wines like to define the cheap in cheapwinefinder as shoddy or inferior, but really all it means is the opposite of expensive. Recently, someone called us a “niche website” since we talk about mostly under $20 wine and it got me thinking. I read a academic study that said that 80% of the wines produced in California sold for under $16, that’s 80% of all the California wine, we are as mainstream as you can get. But to all the wine magazines and the majority of wine websites, we, the 80% are the niche. 5% of wine drinkers are consuming the super expensive stuff, we, the 80% drink the under $20 wines, so that leaves just 15% of all wine drinkers ($21 to $74 wine) to dominate the conversation.
Is under $20 wine actually inexpensive? Lets compare it to other drink alternatives, in the $10 to $20 range you can buy: Skyy Vodka ($15), Tito’s Handmade Vodka (($19), Jose Cuervo Silver ($19.99), Bushmills ($19.99), Canadian Club 12 year old ($18) or Rebel Yell ($13), a 12 pack of Guinness ($16), a 24 can case of Rolling Rock (19.99), 12 pack Sierra Nevada or Bells Obreon ($19). In a 750 ml bottle of Vodka or Whisky there are 16 one and half oz servings, the servings in a 12 pack and the 24 pack cases of beer are self explanatory, you get 4 servings from a typical bottle of wine. If you compare servings per bottle of wine with the Whiskey or Vodka, you need a $80 bottle to compete directly with a $20 wine bottle, since 4 servings from an $80 bottle would prorate to 20 bucks. With the beer, you get 3 to 6 times the servings, wine isn’t close to being the value choice.
With under $10 beverages, Sobieski Vodka (9.99) it is a Polish Vodka that they always stick in blind Vodka tastings and invariably comes in the top 3 and as often as not wins. You can find pint bottles of all sorts of Vodka, Gin, Tequila or Whisky for under $10 and there are 8 1/2 servings in a 375 ml (pint) bottle. As for beer, a 6 pack of Shiner Bock is $8, and 12 pack of PBR is $7.49 and a 6 pack of Miller High Life is $4.99. A 6 pack of Old Milwaukee is $3.49, the same midwestern price as 2 Buck Chuck, but again you get 50% more of Old Milwaukee.
Cheap wine ain’t cheap, it does not come close to being cost effective with Spirits or Beer. You drink wine because you love it, but not because it is the fiscally responsible option. If wine selling for as little as $3.49 does not compete with the competition, then the more expensive wines are completely off the chart.
In a side note, I am a fan of the 3 Wine Guys , they are local Chicago guys who have been talking about wine longer than most the folks on the web. I actually seldom agree with what they have to say about wine, but that is ok, because they are passionate about the wines they are into and while they have almost too much fun during their podcasts, they mean what they say and they definitely ain’t fooling.