The Value of Wine
Posted on April 18 2018
By Tom Jenkins.
I’m sure you’ve all heard that a higher price equates to better quality when it comes to wine. On the whole this statement is true for your average bottle of wine but there are a few things to bare in mind, as well as the factors in the infographic, to make sure you get good value for money.
Regional Vintage Variation
Vintage variation boils down to the quality of yield in any given region. Generally speaking, quality of yield is affected by the weather. In areas of weather volatility, European countries for example, vintage variation can be huge. However, poor weather conditions prior to harvesting don’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to pay less for the wine. For example, in a prestigious region, a poor quality and small yield can lead to a more expensive bottle of wine. These regions command higher prices because the short supply can’t keep up with the high demand, thus making the vintage more “exclusive”. To make sure you get good value for money all you need to do is check a vintage chart for the wine your buying.
Bonus: The reason most Champagne is labelled NV (non vintage) is because they blend different vintages in order to achieve consistency year on year.
The region a wine comes from can greatly affect the price of a bottle of wine. The cost of land, the cost of labour, region prestige and currency exchange rates can make these prices vary. For example, a top quality Chablis will be more expensive than a top quality South African Chardonnay because of the prestige associated with the region and the cost of labour and land in France is higher.
Harvesting and production methods
These factors won’t generally affect your value for money, its worth going through them to explain why prices will vary. There are two main ways of harvesting grapes, machine harvesting and hand picking. Hand picking is labour intensive, making this the more expensive of the two. However, this method does produce higher quality wines because the human element allows vineyards to discard grapes that don’t make the cut. In many places, hand picking is the only option due to the steep banks that vines are grown on. Production methods like being certified organic, ageing in oak, types of yeast and an endless list of variables that add to the cost of production will also make your wine more expensive.
How to buy the right wine?
To start with, you must remember that there is no such thing as the right wine. So long as you enjoy it, who cares what it is, where it’s from or how expensive it is. In order to get value for money I recommend that you set your budget around £15 per bottle. Here, you will generally get the best quality to price ratio without burning a hole in your pocket. Finally, don’t forget to consider vintage variation and alternative regions.