You can buy a really good wine for 50 - when you spend more than that you're buying prestige, or a label that matches your life-style, or rarity. None the less there are real costs that go into the making of a bottle of wine and these costs are reflected in the final price.
You can buy a really good wine for 50 - when you spend more than that you're buying prestige, or a label that matches your life-style, or rarity. None the less there are real costs that go into the making of a bottle of wine and these costs are reflected in the final price. Firstly you need the land. Great wine-growing land like Haut Medoc Grands Crus sells for huge money per acre. Simply good land can cost upwards of 50,000 an acre. That cost goes into the bottle.
The grapes come next. Wine grapes can be bought for as little as 800 euros a tonne, which is fine for cheap wines, but good grapes can cost 10,000 a tonne. A good French barrel for oaking your wines costs 600. It holds about 300 bottles worth, so that adds 2 a bottle if it's used just once, which is normal for good wines. An expensive glass bottle costs 2, a cheap one 50 cents. A good cork costs nearly 1, a cheap one maybe 10 cents. Good quality labelling and capsules cost, and so does the box the wine comes in. All things that can be expensive or cheap.
Out in the vineyard you can pick mechanically which is cheap, but non-selective in its harvesting, or you can pick carefully by hand, which costs a great deal more. In the winery you can use only the free-run juice, or you can press all the juice from the grapes which gives you more wine, but a coarser quality. All these elements determine the cost at the gates of the vineyard.
But on the retailer's shelf the only variable is the mark-up. Big supermarkets can buy at a lower price than small merchants because they buy such huge quantities, but some supermarkets charge you less for their work. I've just tasted a range of wines from Lidl Supermarkets and all of them are very keenly priced. Some are amazing value, so here's my pick of the crop.
Chilean Merlot, Central Valley
Chateau Haut La Graviere, 2001, Cru Bourgeois.