Good Food Blog
Supermarket winesPosted at 2:09PM, 13 May 2008 by Sarah Jane Evans - Master of Wine
How much are you prepared to pay for a bottle of wine? My husband's family were great ones for tracking down bargains and my father-in-law was always ringing up to tell us about a very drinkable wine that he had found at Safeway's (remember them?) for £2.99 (remember that price?). What's more, very often they were perfectly drinkable. And they tasted all the more delicious because they were so cheap.
But times have changed. I ask the question about pricing because I have just finished the twice-a-year week of wines tastings laid on for journalists by the supermarkets. The most obvious feature this year of the tastings was the serious hike in prices.
Wine has been too cheap for too long - each time the Chancellor put on the pennies it was the producer and the poor grower who had to shave off the profit. By 2008 there wasn't much left to shave, especially given rising fuels costs, the exchange rate, as well as the Budget. So, take it from me that there are some serious price hikes coming to a store near you.
Take it from me, there are some serious price hikes coming to a store near you.
As I say, wine did have to get more expensive. But it will be hard now to find a wine under £4.99, and £5.99/£6.49 is where the retailers want us to be. Of course there will always be the wines that are made to be discounted - those sold on too good to be true 'was £7.99 now £3.99' offers. But classics like Spain's Rioja don't really feature until the £8.49 mark.
I'm curious to know how you organise your wine buying. Do you hover around £5 in the weekday so you can trade up to £7.99 at the weekends? Do you trade up to £10 or £15 or beyond? You would pay £25 for wine in a restaurant, but would you pay £25 at home? Rationally it's best to buy wine to drink at home, as it only has the retail mark-up and not the full restaurant mark-up, but it can seem extravagant to spend that much on a bottle.
As readers of Good Food and olive we all enjoy seeking out locally-produced food and seeking out the best ingredients. But I've often found that friends who have splashed out on the finest meat and cheese skimp on the wine. What's your take on the cost of a bottle? When and why are you willing to splash out?