Bargain Wine Sleuthing

bargain wine sleuthing

Be a bargain wine sleuth. Is this a sale or a come on?

Bargain Wine Sleuthing

Good wine deals go quickly and the old adage “You snooze, you lose” could not be more true than when it comes to wine sales. If you want to take advantage of wine deals, you need to become a wine sleuth.

Always peruse the wine shelves wherever you shop. Learn your wine prices. One week Safeway stores had an amazing sale on Domain Chandon  and Mumm sparkling wine for $10.80  a bottle if you purchased a half case. I’d seen that same wine earlier in the week at Lunardi’s grocery store. The cases of Chandon were displayed like it was a huge sale. It was selling for $21.95 a bottle. Remarkable!

You can check these websites to see what a wine is selling for everywhere else. Sometimes what seems to be a deal is just the normal price. Wine Searcher, WineZap, and Snooth.

When a wine is put on sale, the store will usually boast “50% off.”  The regular retail price used for the comparison is the highest possible price point.

If you see a wine deal that is too good to be true, buy a bottle or two to taste and evaluate it. The only problem with this strategy is that by the time you get back to the store it might be gone. Many wine sleuths will go out to the parking lot area and try a taste in fear the wine might be sold out if they wait too long. Keep a glass and corkscrew handy in the trunk of your car.

Each day you should check these three sites for wine bargains. These sites work much like Trader Joe’s or the Grocery Outlet by buying entire inventories from wineries or wine liquidators.

Sign up at your local retail wine store for the shop’s newsletter. Check online dealers like K&L Wines and sign up for their email alerts.

Learn how to read a wine label. This is very important.  Be a wine label detective.

Keep posted to Wine Values & Bargains.  Have you signed up to receive all of our articles by email. If not you will surely miss out on many a fantastic wine bargain.

Comments

  1. you recently ( I think ) had an article about the meaning of the terms “vinted ” produced” and “bottled” by. could you tell me what month that appeared ?

  2. Lawrence Moore says:

    1. Get “Cellar Tracker” (CT) app on your phone – it has a built in UPC code reader which gives you CT scores for wines which have been evaluated by CT users. Only buy wines based on their CT score where there are five or more CT scores listed for that wine.
    2. Cellar Tracker averages user reviews for wines and CT scores usually average 3~4 points lower than professional scores, e.g., a Tanzer 93 will be a 90~91 on CT. (I attribute this difference to politics.)
    3. I use the UPC code reader and buy wines with CT scores equal or greater than 90. I buy one bottle, try it that night and jump on it if I like it. E.g., Costco had a Super Tuscan for $16.99 that scored 91.5 on CT and 94 from the pros. I bought a bottle, loved it and called the store at 11 AM next morning – they had 88 bottles left; by the time I got there at 2:30 there were only 8 bottles left (fortunately another Costco was loaded and I got three cases).
    4. Do internet searches for wines recommended on this site and try and find CT review links that will give you their CT score.
    5. Go to big discount wines stores (e.g., BevMo) that buy in bulk and look for double golds and high scoring wines, especially those that are on sale as two-fers. Again, use the UPC code reader to get a more realistic estimate of its score.
    6. Before you buy a wine you like in bulk, search for the wine online – some east coast sellers have the wine wines listed cheaper than Costco and BevMo and offer discounts on shipping – also, they don’t charge sales tax unless they’re in the same State as you. Additionally, make sure they state on their website that they will not ship the wine to you if the weather is too hot or cold.

    • Excellent tips and advice. I need to download the Cellar Tracker App. Thanks, Joe

      • Lawrence Moore says:

        If you enjoy a heavier pinot, here is one I bought from Costco to try for $19.99. Here are reviews I found before buying:

        PRINCE OF PINOT
        89 points
        By William “Rusty” Gaffney, 3/12/2016
        14.5% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.61, RS unknown, 5,038 cases, $30. Inaugural bottling. One of the multiple brands owned by Delicato Family Vineyards, sourced from the San Bernabe Vineyard located at the southern edge of the Santa Lucia Mountains range. Elaborate packaging with a large golden wax dip on the top and neck with pull tab (string “lappet”) that is very difficult to open, and a necklace with the winery’s crest draped over the neck. The wax treatment is a copy of that used for the Belle Glos Pinot Noir wines. Sourced from San Bernabe Vineyard at the southern end of the Santa Lucia Mountain range and crafted by winemaker James Ewart. 96% Pinot Noir, 2% Grenache, 2% Syrah. 30% whole cluster. 5-day cold soak in stainless steel fermenters, proprietary yeast fermentation. Aged 10 months in 90% French oak, 8% neutral American oak and 2% Hungarian oak. A select portion of the wine was aged in Francois Frères barrels with toasted heads to amplify the oak influence. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of very ripe blackberry and boysenberry with notes of spice, vanilla, violets, baking cocoa and char-infused oak. The wine pushes the ripeness envelope, with slightly sweet flavors of purple and black berry fruits, dark chocolate and spice. Slightly creamy and plush in the mouth, highly extracted, with balanced tannins and some finishing persistence. Not my favored style, but will find an audience in the consumer marketplace.

        THE TASTING PANEL
        92 points
        Dark ruby color; rich black cherry nose; smooth and lush with sweet cherry fruit and hints of spice; juicy and rich.

        WINE ENTHUSIAST
        92 points
        This is a dense and very heavy take on the grape, but done with elegance and style, showing vanilla cookie, clove and deep anise spice atop the black cherry of the nose. Gingerbread, red cinnamon and Christmas spice liven up the baked red plum fruit of the palate, which is laced with rich oak flavorings. Not a dainty wine.

        Cellar Tracker
        91.3 (average)

        • Lawrence Moore says:

          Hi Joe,

          I found an excellent value wine online and ordered 6 bottles. Cost each is $12.99 + shipping = $17.00 each. It’s a 2013 Chilean Syrah Reserve from Tamaya (http://www.petrocksliquors.com/sku52278.html). It won the following praise:
          “2015 DECANTER WORLD WINE AWARD
          By Tasting Panel
          Gold Medal – Regional Trophy. 95% Syrah, 5% Viognier
          Tasting notes: Lovely, toasty, black pepper, floral nose, also showing notes of damson [plum] and spice. This is pure, expressive, savoury Syrah, with great balance, intensity and minerality to the palate, with sweet red fruit flavours, further floral notes and a gorgeous, beef and bacon finish.”

          DECANTER MAGAZINE
          By Peter Richards Sept. 2015 95 points
          Vivid floral, peppery, toasty aromas leap out of the glass. You can taste Limari’s intense sun in the spicy, rich, almost chewy palate profile, but it’s also savoury and engaging. Well worth its Regional Trophy at this year’s DWWA 2015 and great value. Drink 2015-2020 Alc 13.5%.

          Very tasty but needs lots of air and time; was better on day 2.

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