WHEN it comes to buying wine and beer, being a clever spender means stocking up on your favourite tipples can be more affordable.
And who better to hand out the tips than someone who buys booze for one of Britain’s biggest supermarket chains.
Danny Clee is a wine buyer at Morrisons and spends his days looking for value deals for the chain.
Here he shares his expert tips to help you find better value when you’re snapping up wine and beer.
Check out supermarket own-brands
There’s a widely-held misconception that to get a top-quality bottle of wine, you need to be prepared to pay a higher price, says Mr Clee.
Not so, he says: “Customers can really take advantage of supermarket own-brands which often win the highest accolades in prestigious competitions like the International Wine Challenge.”
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Own-brand wines tend to be much cheaper than some widely-marketed brands but the quality can be just as good – and often can be better.
“At Morrisons we partner with top producers in the world's most iconic winemaking regions to deliver high levels of quality without the premium price tag.”
The supermarket’s £4.89 Soave, for instance, beat wines six times its price at the International Wine Challenge in 2021.
A bottle of bubbles can be just the thing for a celebration, whether it’s a birthday or even just the end of the working week, but splashing out on a bottle of Champagne is unaffordable and too costly for many.
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Even Proseccos can be expensive for those on a budget, says Mr Clee who suggests looking at other sparkling wines.
“A Cava or a Crémant can offer delicious bubbles at a fraction of the price, and are often rated just as highly,” he says.
“Our Marques de los Ríos Cava Brut, for instance, was the favourite fizz at this year's Olive Supermarket Wine Awards.”
Wait for the deals
Most supermarkets regularly have offers on wine or beer and it makes sense to delay stocking up until you can get a decent discount.
“At Morrisons at the moment we're offering shoppers 25% off when they buy three or more bottles from The Best range,” says Mr Clee. “It gives customers the option to stock up on their favourites at a discount.”
It can be a good idea to check with store staff when the next deals are coming up at your own favourite supermarket.
Seek out a different region
When it comes to wine, the traditional producers such as France, Italy and Spain tend to be most well-known, but can also attract the heftiest price tags, says Mr Clee.
He reckons looking beyond the classic regions to less prestigious or up-and-coming areas can offer great quality at affordable prices.
“Look for newer regions – Portugal for instance is known for its port but is really coming into its own when it comes to broader varieties of wine, like Vinho Verde.”
Wines from countries such as Argentina, Chile or South Africa can also offer decent value compared to more -well established European countries.
Check the labels
Wine labels include what is known as an appellation on them: it’s usually simply an indicator of how tightly regulated the production of the wine was.
The appellation varies between countries but, for example, Italian wines labelled ‘DOCG’ are likely to be more costly than a ‘DOC bottle’, because their production is more tightly controlled.
In France ‘AOP’ is the highest classification with strict rules about which grapes can be used in the wine production. Vin de Pays wines, by contrast, have fewer restrictions.
“Make sure you pay attention to the labelling as lower classified wines are likely to be cheaper, but still enjoyable to drink,” advises Mr Clee.
Pick an ale
For many beer drinkers, lager is their first choice, but ales are usually cheaper and more flavoursome, says Mr Clee.
“Due to their different fermentation method, they have a more complex flavour profile,” he says.
“So, if you scan the ale section before picking up your favourite lager, you’re likely to find a quality alternative which is a bit more purse-friendly.”
Consider lower-alcohol beers
Less alcohol content in a beer usually means it will cost less, points out Mr Clee.
But you can still get smoe decently-flavoured drinks, even if they pack slightly less of a punch.
“It doesn’t mean you have to forego the booze content entirely – Morrisons offers a 1% cider in the own-brand selection for just £1.29,” he says.
The supermarket also stocks Adnams Lighthouse. “It has just 3.4% alcohol content – still a fair bit lower than the 4.5% average for beers, and costs just £2.”
There’s a whole world of lower alcohol beers to discover and save money at the same time.
As always, remember to drink responsibility.
There are many other ways to save money on your supermarket shop, we've found the five best items to buy at Aldi and the five to avoid.
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