SUPERMARKET WINES: Great Finds Under $20

Fellow winos, a few of my go-to selections…

You can stand there for a good 20 minutes, scanning shelf after shelf, not really sure what you’re looking for, maybe something that’s on sale, or has a neat label, or sounds exotic and different. But alas…you end up with the one you always get because you don’t want to spend $15 and potentially ruin your entire night (yes, it’s that dramatic for me). Well, because I do believe the old saying “Life is too short to drink bad wine,” I thought I’d throw out some suggestions for wines that you can find at your local supermarket, that won’t break the bank, and that you won’t end up throwing out (I hope).

Mumm Brut Prestige – $19.99
Great buy. And if you ever have the chance to go to Napa, I highly recommend you visit this sparkling wine house over the more popular Domaine Chandon — the panoramic views from the tasting patio across the valley floor are well worth it.

Clos du Bois Pinot Grigio – $15
A light, crisp white that’s not too sour apple or grassy. A safe white wine choice when you’re not sure.

La Crema Chardonnay -$19.99
Chardonnays are always tricky for me – they can tend to be too buttery or too oakey. I think the La Crema strikes a nice balance between the two.

Mulderbosch Rosé – $12
I love a good rosé in the summer, and I found this gem just recently. Pretty bottle too if you’re having guests over or bringing a hostess gift. Rosés are actually really quite versatile, as they can pair well with food that you would normally reserve for white OR red.

Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel – $16
You’ll often see this one on a restaurant wine list, as well. It’s a nice spicy Zin that isn’t overpowering.

The Show Malbec– $12
I found this one recently at Target! I picked it up because Malbecs are my current fave, and I loved the label. Did not disappoint.

Geyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon – $16
Just a good hearty cab that’s not overly fruitty. (I should mention I am not a fan of fruit-forward wines — I prefer the earthier European types.)

Magistrate Cabernet Sauvignon – $19
If you prefer earthy European wines (like me), you’ll like this one. Be sure to get the 2006 Alexander Valley. It’s different, and a steal!

My last recommendation: drink out of a Riedel glass whenever possible! It really honestly does make a difference. I don’t understand the science of it all so I couldn’t exactly tell you why, but who cares, it works.

What are some of your go-to’s that you just know you can count on? Share with us, so we don’t waste another minute (and dollar) of our lives drinking bad wine — and by “bad” wine, I do strongly believe it’s all about personal preference, so please take my suggestions with that in mind! But hey, I figure one recommendation is better than none. ;o)

Erika Brechtel

Erika Brechtel

Creative Director

Desiring an online space to explore well-rounded, inspired content in all topics she loves most, Erika created 'The E List' (formerly the Small Shop blog) in 2010. When not enjoying an “occasional" glass of wine and wanderlusting for even warmer climates, Erika can be found sharing laughs with friends and family, and trying her very best to keep up with her 6-year old daughter (yet failing miserably).

  1. This is SO helpful. I will walk around in circle and sometimes even call my mom. That, or buy the same thing every time. Love this guide. xoxo

  2. Thank u!!! I am clueless when it comes to wine and wander around trying to look like I’m not. I may need to try one of these tonight!

  3. I recently got into Malbecs too. Just had some on Saturday. I also like me some Riesling. Sometimes it can be reeaaaallly sweet, but it’s one of my favorite whites.

    Thanks for doing this. My plan of attack is pretty label, moderate price.

  4. oooooh, yes. big fan of ravens wood and the show! a couple of my fave fave fave bargain wines are palo alto (red blend), jargon (noir) and j lohr. i tend to like strong reds, though. and if you want to splurge (as in the $15-18 range), hugely recommend pedroncelli (any variety – they’re all amazing!) and hess.

    i have a few new ones to try with your list! woo hoo! ox

  5. Love this !! I am a big fan of white wine and love my riedel stemless wine glasses…they are the best !! Love the malbec bottle…might have to try something new !


  6. You know I love this post! Ravenswood has been one of my go to wines for years. I always fall back on it when I don’t know what else to get! I’ll have to give the La Crema a try…been looking for a good Chardonnay.

  7. I think some of the best deals can be found in proprietary red blends. Often, especially with domestic wines, wineries will give their winemaker a little bit of leeway to create a blend THEY really like, versus something that’s more classic or expected of a certain varietal. The result? Interesting, delicious, and affordable wine. For domestics, look for wines that say “proprietary red blend” or “red table wine.” The caveat — if a bottle is under $10 and says “red table wine,” it’s probably going to be pretty fruity and unbalanced. I find blends in the $15-$30 range are best.

    Another good tip is to go international. European countries have much stronger standards for wine labeling (I won’t go into it here — it’s complicated). Italy especially is a great place to look for affordable reds! Don’t be scared of not knowing the names of the varietals — just go for it!

  8. This is fantastic! La Crema Chard is definitely a great one. I just bought a few new ones last week I’ll have to let you know about, but for now I leave you with Apothic Red, a delish blend!

  9. La Crema chardonnay is one of my favorites! J. Lohr is another go-to for me — I think it’s about the same price. Sooo good!
    Also, my friend (whose father is a “food scientist”) told me that the Riedel glasses are shaped for each individual wine type so that the liquid hits the exact right point on your tongue. Crazy, huh?!

  10. One of my favorite wines under $10 is Fetzer Gevurtstraminer. Love that wine! Erika – my favorite story about that wine is one time sitting in the Rumbaughs backyard with your dad, he smelled a rose and said “Ahhh… smells like Fetzer Gevurtstraminer”. I said ya, right, whatever and rolled my eyes! Then your mom came out and he said smell this rose and tell me what it smells like, and she said “Fetzer Gevurtstraminer!”. haha Those 2 crack me up — I love telling people that story! Thanks for the recommendations!

  11. I second your opinion on the Clos de Bois Pinot Grigio and on the Ravenswood Zin, so I know the rest of the list is probably genius as well 😉 So helpful, and I’ll be using it to stock up. There’s nothing worse than running out of wine. Well, at least, I imagine there’s nothing worse. It’s never actually happened to me, so I wouldn’t know for sure…


  12. my guy does most of the wine shopping but I’ll definitely save this list for the times I’m standing in front of a big selection and feeling lost.

    Oh and PA sucks! No supermarket wines for us. We have to go to special wine and spirits stores. Really annoying.

  13. Trader Joe’s all the way for inexpensive yet delicious wine. They have a fantastic Carmenere for only $5. I’ll definitely have to add these to the list that I am now going to start making because I always forget what we have already tried and what was fantastic.