Deal Watch: Wine

Original Publication: The Times, Money section, May 14 2016

Comparison websites are good places to start in seeking a good deal on wineSEREZNIY/GETTY IMAGES

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Wine lovers looking to grab a bargain should look no farther than their local shops. Supermarket price wars and Majestic Wines’ decision to remove its minimum purchase rule mean that the savings can be considerable.

If you drink four bottles a week costing an average of £10, you are spending £2,080 a year. Cut that price to £7 a bottle and you save £624.

Some experts say that the “graduations of goodness” between a £20 bottle and a £10 bottle of wine are slight and, with offers, £5 becomes a price point where you can get a good red or white. For example, on its website Tesco is offering a case of six Piccini Super Tuscan, a full-bodied red, at £5.50 a bottle, down from £10.

So where should you start? Brancott Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva are marquee wines with a list price of £10, but Pernod Ricard, the conglomerate behind both labels, often lowers its prices. At Tesco, the price for a case of six bottles of the Brancott Estate is £42 — £7 a bottle. Costco has offers on both wines: £5.97 a bottle for the Campo Viejo and £5.60 a bottle for the Brancott Estate (for a case of six).

Majestic Wine has become more competitive since Rowan Gormley became the chief executive in April 2015. To get the best deals you now need to buy six bottles, instead of 12.

The website winesdirect.co.uk is a good place to go for comparisons. It is highlighting a deal from Asda, which is offering six bottles for £25 from a selected range which includes the Italian wine Barbera d’Asti, normally £8 per bottle. The site does not include deals from Lidl, Aldi or Marks & Spencer, which is currently giving you a 25 per cent discount if you buy two cases of beer, champagne or wine.

Start shopping around now if you want to celebrate with champagne this summer. Stella Beale, a Times reader, says: “I’ve been planning my 80th birthday celebrations for a few weeks now, buying bottles from a number of different supermarkets when they are on offer. Compared to what I would have paid if I had bought in bulk at full price, I’ve saved about £50 already.” You can buy champagne for about £10 a bottle if you are happy without a brand name, while Bollinger is currently £25 at John Lewis.

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