How to shop for wine

There’s no such thing, really, as a typical wine buyer – but something that many of you buying in the UK have in common is that you are women, that you buy wine to drink at home, and that you will spend on average £4.47 a bottle, £2.54 of which is tax and duty.

The odds are high that you will buy your wine in a supermarket, choosing wine by grape variety or brand name or even by price and label. This is a totally ok way to buy wine – supermarkets represent excellent value and especially when wine is on offer (what girl can resist a 3 for 2?) this is a good way of getting wine without spending too much.

Having said that, it’s not the best way to find wine you’ll really enjoy – and not always the best way to get to try new things. The tax, as well as the mark-up, means your average bottle of £4.47 wine costs less than £1 at source – so it’s well worth moving up a couple of quid to get something a bit more drinkable.

My heart sinks when people tell me they won’t spend more than a fiver on a bottle of wine – especially because it makes it so hard to find something you’ll really like drinking! You don’t have to spend mega-bucks, but most of the wines I review here are reasonably priced and amazing quality – and you will definitely not miss the throat-burning cat-pee-and-candy-floss cheap stuff.

The other thing I’d really encourage you to do is to make friends with a wine merchant. There’s one or two on every high street, from brilliant independents to bigger businesses – a couple of my favourites are Lea and Sandeman and Majestic Wine – and generally they contain friendly wine geeks only too happy to suggest reasonably priced alternatives to Blossom Hill Sauv Blanc or your other supermarket favourites. It can be a little intimidating, but remember that you are in charge of what you drink and buy, and that it’s their job to make sure you’re a happy customer!

Happy shopping, and thanks for reading -