We have all been in the wine shop scanning the isles trying to figure out what wines to purchase. Wine buying can be frightening. Well, I have a few wine buying tips for you that might actually help you with selecting wines you will enjoy. Who doesn’t envy the wine expert that can walk into any wine establishment, look at the wine selections, and know everything about most of the available range (***my hands frantically waving***). It just seems so uncomplicated! Now, if only we could do the same.

Recently, I went on a wine shopping trip, and although I have plenty of wine buying experience, I started to feel a bit overwhelmed.

Wait for what!?!

Row after row, shelf after shelf of every kind of wine imaginable.

The Hunt

Halfway through the second isle, I was both discouraged and encouraged; discouraged, because as I had suspected, most of the wines that interest me, while appealing, was out of my price range. Recommended heavy hitters — luscious leathers and exquisite flavors, flawless characteristics, smooth and perfect sips — in every varietal. I could see none of them working on my budget. At the same time, I was encouraged because I imagined the lack of options in my price range was going to save me money; I suspected (and confirmed, on a couple that I investigated) that they were not cheap. Now, I don’t skimp on my wine purchases. However, everything I eyeballed was a far cry from what I generally spend on a bottle. Of course, all those bottles were recommendations by wine influencers on social media.


My instinct was about to lead me straight to the front doors… and then it happened. The wine store salesperson noticed me eyeballing a bottle and asked if they could be of any assistance. “Yes, that is a lovely wine,” the clerk said, approaching rapidly. Really, I said as I flipped the bottle to the backside to check out the label. I’ve heard about this one, I said, as I repeated the price on the bottle — $125. I already knew I was dreaming.

“It’s a great price… $125” she said.

“ONe HUNdred TWENTfive??!!??!!??!!”


The Danger of Wine Buying

Was I seriously considering purchasing a wine that was literally three-quarters of my entire budget? I politely slid the bottle back into its space on the shelf; scared to death, it would tumble to the floor, and forced myself to walk away. The clerk repeated, “it’s worth the money!”

I had stopped at one of the big box shops. As I walked away, I couldn’t help but wonder if the clerk had purchased that $125 himself (I doubted it). It. Was. All. About. The. Sale. Anyway… luckily for me, I was quickly distracted. Just steps away from where I stood was a free wine tasting. After sampling the wines being offered, well what do you know, there it was, a nicely priced Australian red that I loved. Of course, I purchased a bottle of The Chook 2016.

The Chook Shiraz Viognier 2016

The Beauty of Wine Buying

Tired but determined not to return home with only one bottle, I stopped at one final wine shop. Greeted with a smile and offered help, the staff person was eager to assist. I browsed a bit and grabbed a few bottles of my fav’s.

Hack #1

More importantly, I checked out each and every bottle on the clearance rack. Of course, I found some great buys, bottles generally a bit pricey, but at 25% off, were a real bargain buy.

Hack #2

Additionally, I elected to purchase a few of the staff person’s suggested bottles. Impressively, this young lady had grabbed her pen and notepad… “If you have some particular wines in mind that we don’t currently have, I will be happy to check to see if we can get them,” she said. Almost, instantly my brain started scanning my memory.

One of the best options for buying affordable wine that you will likely enjoy without being overwhelmed is to seriously consider the recommendation that is offered. Local wine shops have a vested interested in you becoming a repeat customer. It is likely they have consumed, and really enjoyed the wine(s) they recommend.

Hack #3

If you have tasted a wine somewhere that you really enjoyed, don’t be afraid to ask the salesperson if they can order it for you.

Blank Stare and Sea Pearl Savignon Blanc

Bottle Shop Wine Buying Perks

Here too, the sale is of importance. The difference, quality of service. Receiving a personalized buying experience from someone with genuine knowledge of the wines being recommended is part of the beauty of wine shopping. It isn’t all about selling the most expensive bottle but offering you an overall encounter that you will gladly return again and again for.

Most importantly, find a few different local bottle shops that you love and stick with them. Eventually, the staff will get to know you and more about your wine preferences (a good one will anyway). This will allow them to provide you a more intimate individualized buying experience. Moreover, you may even get some perks for being a valued customer.

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