How To Nail Buying Wine Under A Tenner

Don’t be the guy that brings a sh*t bottle of Sauv to a dinner party.

We met Daniel Illsley, founder of Theatre of Wine in Greenwich and Tufnell Park, to get the lowdown on classic mistakes that winos make and how to fix them.

Can’t make it to the vintage barrels of an artisan wine shop before your mates come over? No biggie. Hit the local corner shop and stick to these rules; you got this.

"When looking for value, forget all the classic regions. Even pretty bog-standard New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is over a tenner these days," suggests Daniel. And BarChick isn’t particularly keen on ‘bog standard’ anything anyway, but that's not to say that there aren't mega deals with the classics. They can also be supremely delicious. That being said, it's always a good idea to widen one's scope. Here’s how to to nail buying a really good bottle of wine without being a tw*t. Daniel taught us his ways and here’s what BarChick learned. 

Emerging wine countries alert:

Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania. Long histories, renewed investments = bargains. So, try lesser-known grape varieties.

Don’t be swayed by imaginary discounts

i.e: wine that typically retails for 20 quid and then is suddenly offered for 10. LIES. This is more likely than not, a ruse, and not necessarily a bargain. Pay heed to the region and producer.

Take risks and try lots of different things until you get to know what you like.

As if you need an excuse to drink wine, but seriously, you won't know unless you try... so try 'em all

Spain makes some seriously good wine.

Look for old vine Garnacha from Spanish regions: Calatayud, Carinena etc. 

A la Portuguesa everything.

Douro you brilliant b*stard.

The more localized and specific the region, the better and more trustworthy the wine.

Say no more. 

Don’t judge a wine by its label: illustration and name.

We’re talking to you, wine with humorous sexual innuendo which tastes sour and induces head-splitting hangovers.

Supermarket brand wines should not be scoffed at.

Because supermarkets have major influence over multiple demographics, it’s in their (and the producer’s) best interest to provide the most top-flight wines they can. 


Written by Angela Brussels