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How do you decide what to spend on wine?


#1

My wife and I used to drink wine every evening, so £8 a bottle was all we could afford. We enjoyed the dulling effect of the alcohol; but not the dull wine.

Then we had a thought that changed our (wine) lives: wouldn’t it save our livers and enhance our palates if we halved the frequency and doubled the spend?

So for ten years or so we have only drunk wine at the weekend - but at a typical bottle price of £15. Suddenly we discovered proper wine. And because this is the average spend, our Society orders will include wines at £10 and £20. I guess that was the other life changing thought: if we had a monthly wine budget, rather than looking at wine bottle by bottle, we could afford to try some more serious wine - as long as it was counterbalanced by either abstinence or a tasty but cheap Beaujolais Village.

I’m intrigued to know how others budget - or rationalise - their wine spend?


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#2

Really good question Mark!

I have a set budget for monthly orders, plus extra for my birthday in June and for Christmas. If I want something special I have to budget by buying a few cheap but decent wines (the Society range are good for this). Try to keep under £10 for any weekday bottles and £20 for weekend wine. Buy stuff from £20-£50 for birthdays and other celebrations, and only to share with my wine loving partner and others who appreciate really good wine.

I also like to balance new wines to try out with wines that I know that I love, there is always a new favourite around the corner! I know I spend far more on wine than most people on twice my income, but we holiday in the UK and don’t own a car.

There is a pleasure if you buy wines that increase in value. I had some Grand Puy Lacoste 2000 with damaged labels for a song and its now about twice my bottle price limit! Not that I ever had the finances to buy for anything but drinking.


#3

Such a great question! We have a monthly budget too, but we tend to splurge on about a 3-4 months’ supply at once and buy a bulk load of cases so we have lots of variety to choose from.
Everyday bottles for laid-back socialising during the week are £5-9, and weekend wines normally £10-20 - generally only at the upper end of that if we’re off to a dinner party.
Like you, Nick, we also have a Christmas/birthday/anniversary budget, which is around the £25-40ish mark!
I think as we get older we’ll opt for spending more per bottle, but we’re still getting to know wine and have so many under-£10 options to explore to get a taste for wine styles all over the world!


#4

I’m the same… I buy a case each month that I mix, with several casual bottles under £10 peppered with a few more expensive bottles. Then there’s some nights where I’ll pull something out of my collection. The cheaper bottles and a little temperance afford me the time and money to enjoy the extravagance.


#5

I wonder if the Wine Society would ever share the spending profile of its membership. I would be intrigued to know what proportion average <£10 per bottle, between £10 and £20, over £20 etc. We know the average bottle spend in the UK is £6. Where do WS Members sit - and just how many people really do buy very fine wine in volume?


#6

Haven’t got the spilt to hand - will see what info I can get and then what info I can divulge! :wink:

I can tell you that the average bottle price at checkout in the UK is £5.56, whereas at The Society it is around £9.50.


#7

I’m pretty similar to the others who’ve posted in here. I don’t have a fixed budget as such, but my typical order is 12 bottles at around £100, every 4 weeks or so. Most bottles I buy will be sub-£10, with the odd pricier one thrown in for entertaining or just to enjoy at the weekend. Because the quality from TWS in the £6-£10 range is so good, and the variety is so wide, I can find enough good bottles and new (to me) wines that I don’t often feel the need to spend much more.


#8

Thanks Ewan - really appreciated! And even that piece of data on Society vs society is fascinating. Would love to see the graph. I guess someone out there will have an average spend of >£50 a bottle. Let’s all go round to their house…:wink:


#9

Also, average amount of wine purchased in UK = c.30 bottles per person per year. Average member purchases somewhere north of 60 bottles per year from The Society (and some may even take a risk and buy elsewhere too …!!)


#10

That’s 5 bottles per month for each society member. Probably shared with a partner = 2.5 a month = c 0.5 a bottle a week. What’s wrong with Society members - don’t they get thirsty?!


#11

I, doubtless like you, am doing my bit to get the average up!


#12

I was literally typing this exact sentence when I saw your reply! :smile: Thanks for the stats, it is fascinating to see how much higher the average bottle price spend it, especially considering how many under-£7.50 wines there are in our range (about 200 I think?!)


#13

223 of our wines are under £8.


#14

That is shocking, especially in light of Wine “value” chart!

I am also trying to be sensible about what I spend… not always successfully. My wife created a budget for drinking for me of (with my consent and encouragement might I say), which I am attempting to stick to. Buying from the society helps. It is £75 per month, occasions are extra (this is my loophole)…


#15

£75 a month is a tough ask! We ‘only’ drink 2-3 bottles a week between us. But at an average bottle price in our household of £15 (loads of wine value!) that’s £30-£45 a week = £120-£180 a month (and let’s forget a month is really 4.5 weeks). Hence we have a monthly budge of £150. Sounds a horrible amount. We tell ourselves that we hardly ever go out, and a dinner for two nowadays is typically £100+ plus.

But mostly we put fingers in our ears and go ‘la-la-li-la-la’ while enjoying another glass of Brocard Chablis…


#16

I did say attempting… but in fairness she does not drink more than the odd glass, so really not that bad.


#17


#18

I’m on about £150 a month at the moment.


#19

You’ve have described exactly the same set up as my wife and I - including us telling ourselves it’s not hat much money as we don’t often go out eating etc etc!


#20

Budget is something that I’m giving some thought to, but my main goal is to broaden my palette. To do this, I am trying to focus on a region or two with each order and to place regular orders with the WS, which I’ve neglected a bit. That is to say, last month my order was broadly Italian, but with a few others thrown in for comparison. Next month it will be broadly Portuguese, again with one or two others. Nothing radical / costly in either order. I very much enjoy reading about and selecting wines, so tend not to order in bulk as it delays being able to select the next batch. 12 is a pleasing number… There are (a few) regions / styles that I have a bit of knowledge of and know that I will always favour them; this is where any more expensive and EP purchases are focussed (currently…). For my ‘experimental’ or ‘enquiry’ wines, which are essentially weekday and bog standard weekend wines, I’ve decided to simply go with a few thresholds in any one order; under £6; under £7; under £8; and above, with no particular ceiling and see what the WS (and the regions) can deliver. Certainly the mild feast and famine approach that a number of people have mention seems sensible as it balances out the cost and enables experience if the better end of things. Birthdays etc. demand treats though, as do those weekends where a decent bottle is justified simply on the basis that it’s the weekend, and that weekends are awesome!