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Look Locally: Rather than insisting on the bottle from the trendy winery in Napa Valley or the premium vintage from a vineyard in France, you will see better savings if you focus on wines that are made more locally. While this may not be as easy depending on where you live, looking at wines that are more off of the beaten path will generally deliver bigger savings.
Consult with the Experts: For novices just getting into wine, a good place to start your search is by consulting the Wine Spectator ratings. This rating system grades wines on a 100-point scale, providing a straight-forward approach for those looking for an exceptional wine. Many stores will also rank their wines with a best buy designation, helping you to get the most bang for your buck.
Get Personal: Another good way to leverage the expertise of others is to ask your local store for their picks. Many high-end grocery stores or liquor outlets now have staff on hand that is specifically trained to provide wine recommendations. Finding a retailer and a staff that you can count on to provide their recommendations will allow you to learn more about this passion and develop your own tastes.
Ignore the Label: Many novice wine consumers erroneously equate a fancy label with a high-quality bottle of wine. A label is primarily rooted in marketing efforts and is no indication about what is inside the bottle. Do not be swayed by premium or flashy labels when trying to find a great bottle of wine at a good price.
Take Advantage of Mix and Match or Bulk Buys: While you may want to be wary about purchasing particular bottles that are marked down heavily, you can often find good deals if you are willing to buy in bulk. This works well if you are buying wine for an event. Many stores also offer discounts on mix and match bottles of wine, allowing you to build up a collection of different varietals while enjoying a substantial discount.
The most important thing is to have fun with the process and to let your taste buds be your guide. You may not always love the wine that you try but you are sure to find some varietals that you truly enjoy along the way.