Welcome to the Wine Curmudgeon’s second annual cheap wine poll, which runs today through Dec. 16. I’ll post the results on Dec. 18.
You can vote for the brand you like the most or against a label that you don’t like — just click on the respective buttons next to each entry at the bottom of this post. You can vote here or on the Ranker site, where the poll is hosted (and thanks again to Ranker, the blog’s unofficial polling widget). If you get the blog via RSS or email, click here to vote on the blog or here to vote at Ranker.
Share the poll with your friends and fellow cheap wine drinkers by clicking on any of the social media buttons at the bottom of the poll or at end of the post. I want to beat last year’s 700 participants.
I’ve included 10 producers, including a new one from last year, based on several criteria: The wines cost around $10, they’re generally available (which means you can find them in a retailer in a decent-sized city), and they’re popular enough so that people have heard of them. Falesco Vitiano won last year and Two-buck Chuck finished last.
How much should an everyday wine cost? Between $5 and $12, according to the poll that ran on the blog and that you can find at the bottom of this post. Thanks to everyone who participated. Several thoughts about the results:
? The $5 to $12 range, of course, is completely at odds with the wine industry’s view of how much everyday wine should cost — $12 to $18. That range came in second, but it wasn’t particularly close. Yes, this was not a scientific effort with margins of error, and yes, the results were almost certainly skewed because it was hosted by someone whose reason for being is cheap wine. But I was still surprised. I thought $12 to $18 would win, because that’s what the experts keep telling me wine drinkers want. But sometimes even I forget wine drinkers are usually smarter than the experts.
? Ultra-cheap wine, less than $5, finished fourth, barely ahead of expensive wine. This was also surprising, given how much of this wine is sold each year — some 5 million cases annually for just Two-buck Chuck, the $2.99 (or whatever) wine sold by Trader Joe’s. Either $5 fans didn’t do the poll, or many consumers see Two-buck Chuck and its ilk as something to keep in the fridge when they want a glass, but not necessarily something to open when they want a bottle of wine with dinner.
? Fewer than 2 percent of the votes were cast for expensive wine. Which also surprised me. I guess I need to remember why I do this and why so many people read what I do.
? The comments were almost as much fun as the poll, thoughtful and well-written (you can find them at the link at the top of the post). How about the guy who makes his own wine so he doesn’t have to pay for it? Or the several intelligent discussions about wine quality and price? Which is another reminder that the wine business misses an opportunity when it underestimates the intelligence of its customers.
Lists on Ranker
The Wine Curmudgeon, working through his tasting notes on CellarTracker (the blog’s unofficial wine inventory web app) found this January comment for the 2007 Robert Mondavi Oakville cabernet sauvignon: “Nice every day wine at this price point.” The price? $45. Is that how much an everyday wine should cost?
Which raises one of the most contentious issues in wine, and one that doesn’t get enough discussion: How much should an everyday wine cost? This CellarTracker user (and no, I’m not going to name names) figures that an everyday wine runs the cost of a car payment each month, $315, and you only get to drink wine seven week nights a month to ring up that total. Even Eric Asimov at the New York Times, whose savvy is as good as it gets, figures discerning drinkers need to spend as much as half of that, in the $18 or $20 a bottle range.
My views on this are well known: One reason Americans don’t drink more wine is that we’re told we have to spend too much money to do so, and so we don’t. Or, as the guy who checked me out in a grocery store several years ago said, when he saw that I had bought several bottles of $10 wine: “Why are you spending so much money on wine?” And he didn’t say it nicely, either.
But my views aren’t the only ones. Hence this poll, courtesy of Ranker (the blog’s unofficial polling app): How much should an everyday wine cost? Click on the respective price range — those of you who get the blog via email may have come to the site to vote. The poll will run until May 22, and I’ll recap the results on May 24. Vote away, and don’t be shy about leaving your opinion in the comments.
Lists on Ranker
Falesco Vitiano, the long-time Wine Curmudgeon favorite, stormed past Bogle over the weekend to win the blog’s first best cheap wine brand poll. Bogle had held a comfortable lead until Saturday morning, when Falesco made its move. The complete results are here.
McManis finished third, while Two-buck Chuck came in last among the 10 brands. The other big mover was Barefoot, which spent most of the poll in ninth, but rallied over the weekend to finish sixth.
The biggest surprise was Yellow + Blue, which came in ninth. I’ve never had a badly made Yellow + Blue wine, and its products regularly make the $10 Hall of Fame. The only thing I can think of is that voters really don’t like wine in boxes, which is something they need to work on.
Thanks to everyone for the terrific response, which earned the poll a Statesman’s badge from Ranker, the company that does the polling widget. We had 770 votes, which was a nice turnout for something that didn’t get a lot of planning or preparation. And thanks for all your comments, even the not-so-nice ones. Much of the what I did this year was limited by the polling widget, and I’ll see if I can streamline the polling next year.
You tell me, using this poll. After all, the whole point of what I’m doing here is help wine drinkers to figure out what they like so they don’t need to be told by people like me. Planned obsolescence for wine writers is not such a bad idea, is it?
Voting is simple — just click on the up or down button. Voting starts today and ends on Sunday; I’ll post results on Monday with a few comments, which will be a fine way to begin the blog’s sixth annual birthday week. If you get the blog via email or RSS subscription, click here to go to the site so you can vote.