We Talked To Experts About Cheap Wine-Buying Hacks & Here's What We Learned

Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
Wine is equal parts delicious and overwhelming. For every household name, there are thousands of smaller producers, with more popping up every year. Even if you have a handle on what you like from your own wine store, drop in on a new wine store or glance at a restaurant menu, and you can be thrown into confusion once the familiar options disappear.
With the sheer variety of wine available, it can be hard to feel like you can ever amass enough knowledge to confidently buy a new bottle. And, truth be told, we aren't really looking to be wine snobs, just people competent at buying wine without spending a fortune. So rather than trying to find out what years had too much rain in France, we asked wine experts about the ways cheap wine can be made the right way, without sacrificing flavor.
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Ahead, five totally legit ways wine makers can and do save big on production — and pass those savings on to you. As it turns out, we don't need to fear wine that ships in a box after all.
Just one quick note: when talking about the vast world of wine, there will always be exceptions to every rule, so when in doubt, don't be afraid to ask at your local store if you still have questions. And, when all else fails, buy the wine and try it — it's one of our favorite ways to have an adventure without leaving the dining room table.
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A post shared by 90+ Cellars (@90pluscellars) on

Shop Private Label
Just like the Trader Joe's model, you can buy private label wines that follow more or less the same model. 90+ Cellars, based in Boston, buys up excess wines from leading vineyards around the world and bottles them under its own label at a discount. Each wine is simply labeled by lot. So each wine, whether it's a blend or not, is from the same vineyard year after year. (This isn't true for all inexpensive, private label wines. Others might buy grapes from different sources without making a distinction.)

If you're rolling the dice with a new private label wine, we recommend looking for bottles with plenty of information on them (such as varietal, region, and year) to ensure you're getting a quality product.
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Box It Up
Boxed and canned wines have several perks we love: not only is the packaging less expensive, it's lighter and ships for less. That makes it better for the environment and better for our wallet. While boxed wine may bring to mind slap-the-bag games from undergrad parties of yesteryear, the idea of drinking wine from a bottle is actually relatively new, explains Marian Leitner, the founder of boxed wine company, Archer Roose. Historically, wine would be packaged in whatever was convenient (not necessarily bottles!), so don't fall for the box stigma.

A box of Archer Roose retains online for around $35 for 3 liters, or around 4 bottles of wine — that's less than $10 a bottle.
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Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
Make Supply & Demand Work For You
Even if you skipped your Econ lecture with a slap-the-bag related hangover, the basic concept of supply and demand makes a certain amount of intuitive sense: as demand rises, so does supply. If there's not as much demand, however, the supply can also be available at a lower price. This is true for many wines from up-and-coming wine-growing regions, like South Africa or the non-California parts of the U.S. Wine expert Sayle Milne, of Wine Savvy, especially loves Crémant: a bubbly alternative to Champagne made in the exact method for a lot less.
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Photo: Getty Images.
Drink Pink — Or White
Yes, our love of rosé is the worst-kept secret of the summer, but there's a reason delicious and cheap often go hand-in-hand. Rosé, except in rare instances, isn't meant to age. Wines that don't need to age take less time and resources to make — and can be sold cheaper as a result. This is true of many white wines, too, especially Prosecco, Pinot Gris, and Cava.
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A post shared by Winc Wine (@winc) on

Join The Club
Just as the internet has done with countless other products, wine companies can be found on the web selling direct-to-consumer. This allows them to offer lower prices on more premium bottles. Winc's model delivers four wines each month based on an initial survey and customer feedback. That feedback also allows the company to innovate based on consumer interest. This creates wine developed to meet demand, which sells better, allowing prices to remain low. With bottles starting at $13, it's not bargain-basement cheap, but you will definitely get deals on interesting wines that will taste a lot more expensive than they are.
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