The concept of a budget wine is an interesting one as the definition of the word ‘budget’ does not include the use of words like ‘cheap’ or ‘good value.’ It also doesn't refer to a specific price point nor does it have any relation to quality.
Definition aside it is generally accepted that a budget wine is going to be a wine that can be purchased for less, but less than what? Does a budget wine have to be less than $15 or $10 and do you think an $18 bottle is too expensive to be given such a label?
If a wine retailer created a section in their store simply labelled ‘Budget Wines’ what exactly are they saying about those wines from a marketing point of view? That they are cheap is the obvious expectation but beyond this the term is doing little to help consumers find any sort of quality or value. It certainly doesn't do the wineries any favors either by having their product labelled as something people only want because they want to spend less and nothing more.
A young professional couple without kids who enjoy a glass of wine or two with their evening meal are likely to have a different budget to a single income family who enjoy the same. However, just because one group has a greater uncommitted monthly income doesn't automatically translate to different attitudes, or enjoyment levels of wine among the two.
Then there is the price variation based at the point of sale. A $13 wine at Trader Joe’s is likely to cost a few bucks more for the same wine at your local independent wine store. Does this mean budget conscious consumers shouldn't support a local small business because it is not in their best interests to do so?
With a term that raises constant questions and provides no helpful guide on quality or value the term budget wine should be largely taken with a grain of salt. Instead the focus should be on good value for all lovers of wine and let the consumers decide what they are prepared to, or will, pay and let that be the end of it.
Please take a moment to leave a comment on your thoughts on budget wine.