Think big. The more specific a wine’s appellation (e.g. the Dundee Hills AVA which lies within Oregon’s Willamette Valley AVA), the more expensive it’s likely to be. Look for wines that come from a great region (Sonoma Coast, Napa Valley, Burgundy, Languedoc etc.), focus on the varietals thrive there, and you should do well. If a wine is from a “broader” region, it just means that the grapes were sourced from all over the region, not from a single vineyard or specific area within the region.
Find alternatives. If you have a certain wine in mind, but it is pricey, look for a different varietal or a wine from a different region which has similar characteristics. For example, skip the Champagne and instead, try a sparkling Chenin Blanc or a sparkling white wine from California. Prosecco and Cava are good alternatives from Italy and Spain, respectively.
Explore new regions. There are many regions that make great wines which are a great value because they are lesser known or “up and coming”. Instead of just following traditional wine industry press, check out wine association websites and blogs (like Vine Talk’s Wine Demystified!) that are written by people with a passion for wine and a fresh perspective.
Buy in bulk. If you’ve got bargaining chops, it is a lot easier to bring them out and use them successfully if you’re buying in bulk. It’s a lot harder to convince a shop owner to give you a markdown on a single bottle than on a case – the more inventory they can move, the better the deal for you. However, make sure to consider how long the wine will sit unopened in your home and, if you’re in for the long haul, make sure you have an appropriate place to store all of your steals.
Drink outside the box. Or, well from the box. If you’re looking to score a deal on an everyday wine, there are more great wines coming in boxes than ever before. If you’re not an especially heavy drinker, wine in a box is a great way to store wine for longer than you’d otherwise be able to if it was in a bottle.