California Best Buy Wines

These California value Best Buy Wines are under $20 and are widely available in the San Francisco Bay Area. We did not put a vintage date on these wines because year after year the quality remains. Always try one or two bottles before making a big purchase. The price of the wine is the average sale price and not the suggested retail price.  We show the stores that carry the wines as of March 2019.  Tasted and judged by the Vintage Wine Tasters

Wines we like now at these stores

California White Wines & Rosé Under $20

  • Daou Sauvignon Blanc $15 – Trader Joe’s, Total Wine
  • Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc – $12  – Trader Joe’s, Costco, Safeway
  • Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc $10 – Trader Joe’s, Safeway
  • Bonterra Chardonnay $11 to $12  – Trader Joe’s, Safeway
  • Husch Chardonnay $13 – Trader Joe’s
  • Joel Gott Chardonnay $9 to $11  – Costco, Trader Joe’s
  • Pedroncelli Chardonnay – $15 – Weimax Wines Burlingame
  • Pine Ridge  Chenin Blanc/Viognier $12  Cost Plus, Trader Joe’s
  • Carol Shelton Wild Thing Rendezvous Rosé $14 – Safeway

Sparkling Wines

  • Gruet Brut or Rosé – $13 to $16 (Produced in New Mexico) – Weimax Wines
  • Gloria Ferrer Brut – $14  Costco
  • Roederer Brut – Costco, Total Wine

California Red Wines under $20

  • Sobon Rocky Top Zinfandel $13 to $15 – Mollie Stone’s
  • J. Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles $12 – Costco, Trader Joe’s
  • Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon – $12 several stores
  • Joel Gott Grenache $13 – Safeway
  • Pedroncelli Mother Clone Zinfandel $15 – Weimax Wines 
  • Dry Creek Heritage Vines Zinfandel  $15 – Costco, Safeway
  • Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel $8 –  Trader Joe’s
  • Kirkland Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $11 – Costco
  • Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel – $18 KL Wines, Total Wine
Juicy and fruity red wine


  1. Lovers of good Pinot Noir should get a few bottles of the Pickett Fence Pinot Noir at Trader Joe’s. It is a lovely bright red color with generous aromas of flowers and berries. True to its grape the wine is medium bodied and carries a long finish due to good acidity. It is perfect foil for all traditional PN foods: light cheeses, salmon, lamb, lightly seasoned meats and first courses without too much salt. At $9 a bottle this is a wonderful wine. DO NOT BUY THE CHARDONNAY—- IT IS OXIDIZED AND LOW IN ACID.

  2. After a recent visit to Ancient Peaks tasting room, I came away with the following conclusions:
    1) They are a leader in the Under $20 market.
    2) They grow all their own grapes, but sell more on the open market
    3) Their Zin and Merlot are the equal of most wines above that price point.
    4) Their white label series is over priced and only offers more oak and a few different varietals.
    5) Ancient Peaks is a top flight winery who have made a decision to provide the market with high quality wine at a resonable price.
    6) Their tasting room south of Paso Robles is the only one in town and worth the drive if you are going south of PR.
    7) Look for their wines in Costco in the future- they appear to want space and are willing to drop price to increase sales.
    Nice package also. 🙂

  3. I was so put off by the Pickett Fence Chard I never tried the Pinot. Duh!

  4. I recently went to Carneros/Sonoma with friends and went to Sebastiani’s tasting room for the first time. We tried their Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 09. It was on their non-“Gold” tasting menu for $16.99 a bottle. We all left with one. It’s a solid representation of the better Pinot Noirs from that area: light, smokey, and lean. Their club member prices were even better than that. I was really surprised by that one. It reminded me of the A to Z Pinot Noir out of Oregon. A great wine at about $21, this was just as memorable and more than a few dollars cheaper.

  5. That you apparently can’t think of a single reliable under $20 wine from France, Spain, Italy, Germany, or Austraila tells your readers all they need to know about the extent of your expertise.

    • Perhaps you did not have a chance to read any of the blog posts. The good majority of wines we recommend are from France, Italy, Spain, Chile, and Argentina. There are also a few from New Zealand and Australia. Please read through the blog posts. Thanks for your comment.

  6. Michael Beltran says

    Will has an attitude problem. That or he does not read.

    • Sorry, but I’m having a hard time figuring out how “Will has an attitude problem.” His comment is spot on. Did you look at the list?

      • I wish you and Will would read our individual blog posts. We have recommended many wines from all over the world. Take some time to read this. You might find some of them worth buying for yourself.
        Cheers, Joe and the boys.

        • Doesn’t change the clear fact that your front-page, top-of-the-fold link to can’t miss wines under twenty totally ignores anything not from California.

          Seems to me at least possible that you get feedback (the green kind) from some of these turkeys or else why push their stuff so transparently.

          • This is my hobby. I am retired and enjoying life at its best. Not to worry, I’m not getting any green from any wineries or distributors. I do on occasion make a few cents from the Google Adsense network. I hope that helps and thanks for reading our blog.


  7. Joe, just rename the post “Can’t Miss California Wines Under $20”

    Problem Solved.

    Then maybe make a similar list by country for future posts.

    Also a fun idea since we are entering spring would be a recommended rose list.

    • There are so many quality wines from all over the world. Portugal has an amazing amount of wine that just never gets placed in retail shelves. Their problem is image since people are not willing to take a gamble on a varietal or winery they have never seen or heard of.. The best thing to do is continue to write about wines that excite you and spread the word.

  8. The Bogle Essential Red is delicious this year and under $10.00 a bottle around the Bay Area.

    Get this: found it on sale in Utah State Liquor Store on sale for $7.00 a bottle.

    It is a long drive for a bargain though.

  9. Hi,

    Thanks for the awesome recommendations! I was wondering if you’re been able to try any of the recent Cameron Hughes wines? I know you reviewed a lot of the in 2014 (but those are all sold out) and wanted to see if you had any more recent recommendations. Btw, I love that you notify us when Costco offers a rebate! It’s that added incentive to already great prices!

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