Cut-price wine is a cheap trick
Heavily discounted wine is generally priced too high to begin with, or there is something wrong with the wine
Like everything else in the shops, wine is often discounted, sometimes dramatically. I saw in a national newspaper recently an advert for Rioja, reduced from £150 to £75 per case - a 'sensational bargain' apparently. Actually it is nothing of the sort. It never was £150 per case and is almost certainly indifferent wine.
Large discounts are normally due to an artificial starting price or there being something wrong with the wine, making it necessary to sell it in a hurry. The only genuine discounts of any note are those based on quantity, that is, one, five or 10 cases. If delivery is included in the price (which it is with most good retailers), then the vendor is saving a substantial amount by delivering several cases at once and often passes this saving on.
Supermarkets frequently offer promotional deals on big brands, especially from the New World, and of course they get the owners to pay for this. Big brands (which are inherently bad value as you are paying for vast advertising budgets) like to keep their prices higher than they should be, as they think it benefits their image. So, all the promotion is doing is offering you the 'real' price. The best wine merchants set a decent low price to start with so that everyone knows where they stand.
Be wary, too, of wine clubs and cellar plans that offer you a cheap - or even free - case of wine in return for signing up to a long-term programme. They may seem awfully tempting at first, but you have little or no control over what you buy or how much you pay, so the old adage 'there is no such thing as a free lunch' definitely applies here.
Be careful, also, of advertisements for cheap wines from a certain region. A couple of years ago, Woolworths briefly sold 'Champagne' for £5 a bottle (several pounds less than anything resembling drinkable Champagne would sell for). On the label they recommended which sweets would go nicely with it - which just about sums it up.
Ultimately, the best wines are those that are not heavily discounted, have no strings attached and do not commit you to years of buying. Pretty obvious, really, if you think about it. ·
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