Wine Talk

Snooth User: Richard Foxall

You've got $100 a week to spend on wine. What would you drink?

Original post by Richard Foxall, Sep 27, 2012.

I noticed that OutThere purchased seven bottles of a particular wine at $14 and it occurred to me that it was a $100 purchase, and enough to last about a week.  So I got curious, and mentioned in the thread that it would be interesting to know how much per week people spent.  Well, Emark has better records and more time on his hands than I do, and he wrote the following:

" I don't know how many will be interested in this, but I have a mechanism to very accurately track all my finances--including expenditures.  I can report that my expenditures for wine in the last 12 months was very close to the $5200 target that Foxall suggested above...

"How does my spending compare to the universe of wine drinkers?  I suspect that I am above average if one looks at all wine drinkers, and in this group I am including very casual wine consumers.  I suspect I am close to average in the set of Snooth members, and I suspect that I am below average in the set of 'more prolific Snooth Forum posters.' "

I'm not quite as up to date--my CT records aren't close to perfect, and my wife keeps the credit card records--but I would guess that my average is slightly lower.  I drink a lot of inexpensive bottles during the week (good discounters in my area + love of odd grapes with low demand), and only occasionally ramp up to something over $25 on the weekend.  But $100 a week, not counting the odd restaurant purchase, seems pretty close.  There are two of us and we have wine almost every night.

So, if you gave it some thought that way, how would you spend $100 a week?  Fewer but higher end bottles? Push down prices on those daily drinkers so you can splurge on the weekends?  I'm going to come up with a plan, since we spend that anyway, and see if what I am actually doing is at all similar. 


Reply by outthere, Dec 5, 2012.

Ha! I'm on the 3rd day into a $15 2003 Cotes du Roussillon that took this 9 years in stride. You just never know sometimes.

Well, I paid $15 but I think it released around $32. Anyhow it fits the thread which many of my wines don't.

How's that Merryvale drinking Mark?

Reply by edwilley3, Dec 5, 2012.

I grew up in Minnesota, so I know the contrast too well. Everyone except for folks who lived in trailer homes had a basement. Now that I'm in Texas...well, a Eurocave was the best I could do. (Ok, a big Vinotemp would be fine, too.)  I got really super lucky and scored a seized Eurocave 283 for myself, as well as a 183 (new in the box!) for a friend. $250. Delivered. You can hate me now.

I have a friend who is in the "Everything under $50" category on wine and "Everything under $75" on Scotch. He loves both and appreciates nicer bottles (he has tasted a wide range of rarer bottles), but he hasn't been willing to part with the money as yet. Still, 5 years ago he was drinking $12 wine from Costco and Glenlivet 12 or Glenmorangie 10 with lots of ice, thinking that's where it was at. I am working on him. I have another friend with about 350 bottles of wine in his Vinotemp who rarely pays over $100 for a bottle. Instead, he buys judiciously and at good prices on direct orders, sales, and special deals, and then ages to peak. As a result, he has some really magnificent bottles.

Me? Since I haven't been collecting wine for years due to lack of storage and budget, I now have to start laying down bottles for the future. In the meantime, I am fortunate to have a friend who runs a wine & spirits shop with an excellent selection of fine and vintage bottles. I am UNFORTUNATE in that I love spirits and wine equally well and have been buying both. My wallet and credit card hate me. Still, I've drunk some really fine bottles in the part year.

In the end, I've just gotta have tasty wine. Did I mention that I just met the regional manager for Moet Hennessy? He says that he can get some very special bottles for selected customers. Oh, my!

Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 6, 2012.

Yeah, EW, knowing the right people is what it's about.  I said elsewhere, "Better to know one good restaurateur than a dozen billionaires."  I wasn't kidding.  (Of course, one of those billionaires was named Koch, so that skewed things.) We went to the book release for Charles Phan of Slanted Door's new cookbook, and that was waaay better than any meeting I have had with my old clients from the corporate days. 

I hate when folks put ice in really good spirits, or order Scotch and soda with top shelf liquor.  But it's their money, I guess.

GregT, I think,based on later posts, that all is well with the other board contributors.

One comment about the budget: Let's say you buy a daily at a great price, like that $7 bottle.  You drink that or a similar bottle in the under $12 range three or four nights, and skip one night.  You can drink $20-25 wine the other two.  Now, granted, living in CA, I have access to more discounted bottles than average, but I can find CdR, Nero d'Avola, and Meadowcroft Syrah for $7-10 pretty regularly.  4 of those, plus two nicer bottle and I am at $100 a week drinking every night, or really close to it.  I can buy a $25 bottle and cellar it and take a $25 bottle from the cellar (like, say, a Rioja Reserva) and it's a wash. Of course, I would have to drink Chianti and not Brunello. ;-)

Reply by JonDerry, Dec 6, 2012.

Think I have an entrant for a Washington Cab blend with a cut of Syrah in the mix at the $20 level, this would last me a couple of weeks at least. Getting plenty of 92ish love on CT FWIW.

Dunham Cellars "Trutina"


Reply by EMark, Dec 6, 2012.

OT, the Merryvale was Winner Winner (paraphrasing the Santa Rosa TV celeb).  Very tight on opening--tart and pretty harsh.  However, after about an hour it rounded out and fruit, acid and tannin integrated into a wonderful experience.  Here is the slam dunk final judgement, though:  Mrs. Emark, about whom I have described multiple times as a white wine bigot, took a try and LOVED IT--polishing off my only bottle.  So, in deference to the opinion offered by the usually well-written Brooklynite, yes, I should have bought a case of it back in 2004.  If I had, I could ensure future domestic tranquility here in Diamond Bar--a benefit that was never mentioned, and which never occurred to me.

Reply by Eric Guido, Dec 6, 2012.

I can't even begin to figure this out.  Unfortunately, I don' think there's a way to separate wines drank versus wines tasted in Cellar Tracker.  However, the numbers say that I average $550 a month, but does that includes samples I add a tasting note for?  I don't think it does because the number would skyrocket each time I got back from a tasting.  God knows.

I tend to enjoy two glasses of wine a night with dinner and then will let myself drink a little more on days off or at social gatherings.   If I have a week where I have to taste a ton of wine, then my consumption tends to go down.  However, I'm also in the building stage with my cellar; in another five years, there will be a lot of wine entering it's drinking window.  I can't wait.

Reply by Eric Guido, Dec 6, 2012.

I just realized that I didn't actually answer the question of this post.


If I only had $100 a week to drink wine.  I'd probably grab some affordable dailies, like Cantina Zaccagnini, Produttori del Barbaresco Nebbiolo, Michel Gassier Cercius and a New Zealand Sauvigon Blanc.  Then I'd go for the bigger names on my days off and drink more from the cellar.  So I guess I'd aim to send about $35 a week during the week, (2 1/2 bottles during the week) and save the other $65 worth for my days off.

Reply by duncan 906, Dec 6, 2012.

I drink one or two bottles of wine per week on average which is the NHS guidline for a man[It is only one bottle for a woman] I usually start a bottle as an accompaniment to my meal on the days I have to cook for myself as most days I get fed at work..I reckon my average spend is around £10 per bottle although I have gone up to £25 on a couple of occasions.I try to have something different each week as otherwise it could become boring and I have now taken to writing a paragraph about each one as a review on this website

Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 7, 2012.

Duncan, those NHS guidelines haven't done much to stop people from drinking really strong ale and throwing up in the streets FWIW.  I love going to physicals where a doctor twenty years younger than I am asks how much I drink and looks goggle-eyed when I admit to the actual amount I drink, which is quite moderate.  (Wife and I go through about five bottles a week, sometimes six, sometimes four.  Unless we have company over and then the recycle bin spilleth over. Tonight we won't be driving after dinner, so we'll probably slowly finish off a bottle of 13-14% ABV PN.) Here's the thing:  If Americans spent more time at the table and had a smallish quantity of wine or beer at  dinner each night, we would be healthier.  But instead we rush our food down, feel guilty that we have two to three glasses a night, and lie about all of our consumption habits to our doctors, who then adjust the numbers in their heads and assume that people like me are drinking even more.  Or we binge when we do drink. It's absurd.  My most recent physical my doctor asked me how much I drink and I said, "Well, two or three drinks."  She said, "That's per week, right?"  I had to correct her and she just looked gob-smacked.  Please.  As if this was a problem for a taller than average, medium build 49 year old. 

Anyway, EG, that Zaccagnini is a really nice bottle that can be had for $12 or so out here, great choice.  I also think one could make some smart moves if you could find Nebbiolo from Ghemme--for about $25 a bottle, it's a nice splurge in this system, but lets you hoard a little money for stuff that's higher end still.  I think the Ghemme wines are the way to drink Nebbiolo at a good price, although I need to get some of that PdB in my stash, too. Not that I'm any expert on Italian wines, and here I am responding to someone who i.  In the cab range, if you can still find Pedemonte, he's making really nice Napa Cabs, I am told, and they are less than $30.  I know his cousin and I still can't get my hands on them, but we're working on that. 

I'm sort of assuming that the $100 includes buying things for the cellar and pulling things from the cellar so it balances.  So it comes down to finding weekend and cellar worthy bottles that fit in the scheme, and deciding if you want to go lower on the dailies than $10-12 to make room at the upper end.  It's an interesting exercise that has made me think about just how much I spend on wine--even with my scrounging, my wife thinks it's pretty considerable, although I think her bigger concern is how much is piling up, regardless of price.

Finally, you can filter in CT (assuming the new design hasn't lowered any of the capabilities) by consumed bottles and could then sort on the dates if you were interested.  I never put in the price of a wine unless I actually bought it for home consumption.  Frankly, I never make notes at CT or elsewhere about wines I have had at tastings--I'll write things down that I want to buy on paper and then go look for them if they are good--but I'm not in the business.  If I have a wine at a friends or at a restaurant, I make the notes here, if I make any, because I really just use CT for inventory--and now that my kids go to the basement and bring up wine, I can just look at it, show them what the label looks like, and save my creaky back from the crawl through the basement door.

Reply by duncan 906, Dec 7, 2012.

$100 dollars per week is a very generous budget.It is around £60 or £70.You could easily get a classed growth Bordeaux or a premier or grand cru Burgundy.The average bottle of wine in this country costs between £5 and £10.

Reply by Eric Guido, Dec 7, 2012.

Interesting point Foxall, I dug this up from an old article I read and it suggests a male consumes two glasses a wine a night for healthy living.

"A standard drink is any drink that contains about half an ounce (13.7 grams or 1.2 tablespoons) of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in 5 ounces of wine." To put this in perspective, since a bottle of wine is 750ml, or 25 ounces, there are around 5 glasses of wine in a bottle. "

Like everything else, I'm sure size, weight and psychical activity change that number as well.

In the end, my 2 - 3 glasses of wine a night, doesn't sound like a health issue and my doctor also knows my intake and, after discussing how great my health is, he usually asks for a recommendation for a good bottle of vino.

Reply by outthere, Dec 8, 2012.

Duncan, the budget is for the entire week. Now, if you are a one bottle week person you will be drinking mighty well. I think the OP was suggesting $100 budget for multiple bottles. But whatever turns you on is great.  :)

Reply by GregT, Dec 8, 2012.

Jon - I'd be interested in how you feel about that Trutina. I'm a bit disappointed with Dunham these days - just finished a case of their Syrah that I'd picked up for $12/bottle, which was a great price. Vintage 2002 but unfortunately I left it and after a few years, the wine wasn't very good at all. Not that it went bad, it just wasn't worth the $12. Tasted fine out of the bottle but before the first glass was done, it became harsh, bitter and metallic and 10 years isn't THAT old for a wine like that. Wife couldn't stand it. Quite likes the Trutina though.

I don't have a cut-off for price but if you pay $50 or more for a bottle, it should really rock. Over $100 it should be stunning. Thru the years I can count the number of times I've paid that much. It stops being about the inherent quality any more at those prices.  Last night we had a 1989 Marques de Riscal. Was around five dollars on release. Also had a way more expensive Clos Vougeot Grand Cru, plus a way more expensive CA wine which was actually one of those I'd paid over $100 for. Guess which one was best.

If Americans spent more time at the table and had a smallish quantity of wine or beer at  dinner each night, we would be healthier.  But instead we rush our food down, feel guilty that we have two to three glasses a night, and lie about all of our consumption habits to our doctors, who then adjust the numbers in their heads and assume that people like me are drinking even more.

Great point!

Reply by JonDerry, Dec 8, 2012.

Will def let you know Greg, I'm a little concerned my expectations are a little high, but I'll probably open soon to see if it's the steal people are saying it is. The 02' Syrah doesn't sound so hot, ESP.if it's not worth $12 - Hopefully thes best Syrah grapes go into the blend ; )

Reply by amour, Jan 7, 2013.

Lafaurie Peyraguey 2006 (Sauternes/ France) $60 and a tranche of decent authentic foie gras!!!!

(Available at Caviar & More, Aventura, Miami.)


Reply by lingprof, Jan 20, 2013.

I really enjoyed reading this thread!  I've been away for a while and am glad to be back.  (Have to do more reviews.  I realized my last one was in 2011!  stay tuned...)

What's funny is that some people saw $100 a week for wine as a stringent budget and others saw it as an expansive gift.  I tend to fall into the latter category, but honestly haven't stopped to calculate what I'm spending at the moment.  I'll have to try to run some calculations...

Reply by embarr, Feb 6, 2013.

If I had a $100 a week to spend on wine I would be drinking 4 bottles of my dad's Merlot (if it were possible to ship every week, since the shipping costs would pretty much amount to that) but realistcally,an average bottle of Amarone, Barolo or Primitivo if I were stock in BKK.

Being here (a few hours outside Bangkok) I'd rather pick up 2 to 3 bottles of NZ (marlboro county) Merlot, or Cabernet Merlot which would pretty much be the best value to quality ratio. Though the ride to pick them up could not be included. If I wanted to save the trip I would settle for one bottle each of the best avalable Merlot (Chili), a Nero d'Avola (Cavallina), a Sangiovese and a Valpolicella (Botter) at Makro...that should still be in the budget.

Of course this is quite rethorical and if it truly were the case on a long term basis I would probably take a liking to a drinkable Tavernello Sangiovese Merlot in a 3L party box for 20$ a pop, kill one a day and then willow in self pitty for the two sobering days LOL

As you gathered by now, Wine in the land of smiles is an expensive luxury. One could easily mantain a few wives for the cost of a daily good bottle of wine.

Luckily, I do make my own Wine and my own Sake for those hot afternoon bbqs and parties we frequently have, which of course does not exclude indulging in an excellent bottle of wine now and then...just not as often or as inexpensive as in Europe or NA. Though it must be said that Bangkok actually does offer a great selection of Wines at reasonable prices (considered where we are) when one knows where to look...just refrain from falling for the "great bargains" as these are usually wines that haven't seen the best transport and storage conditions.

Reply by amour, Feb 6, 2013.

This entire friendly discussion on money for wine is so very interesting!

Personally, no amount of money is too much for a wine which I will drink and enjoy by myself or with  others provided that they actually know, or have a strong expectation that they will enjoy it.


But, here is the rub......I will not be buying a case of expensive wine to pour for persons who have no preference at way.
Bear in mind, however, I do not mind giving the opportunity to an enthusiastic wine lover, young or old, to taste a small amount of my expensive wine, to which I have given the seal of approval, and honestly consider superb.... tasting really excellent.

Everything has to be taken into context, of course.

I enjoy looking at wines in good supermarkets as well.

Usually, I know a bargain when I see one; so do many of you!

I consider as excellent the Santa Rita 120 (Chile) Cab a bargain at the $10 US price, but I do not want cases of it.  Half a case for me and those of my friends who are not really into wine. This is a good everyday low priced enjoyable wine even with my DRC palate!!!!!

We all must wish that all of our friends were into wine; unfortunately they are not.

But we must all get our friends to join SNOOTH, and become seriously interested in wine, its history and development globally, and encourage our friends and family, to buy good affordable wines through Snooth!

(Those in the USA may also wish to promote USA wines, in addition to other global wines; after all, USA wine also means USA jobs! Any responsible wine consumption increase, means jobs and progress on many fronts, in several countries and sectors, and sheer enjoyment amongst people.)



Reply by embarr, Feb 7, 2013.

I totally and fully agree with you...I made the mistake once in my life and will never repeat again!

When I first moved to Canada I brought all my personal effects with me, which of course included a container of those days the wine culture in Canada was basically inexistent and I thought I was doing some good by sharing my wines with my ex-wive's snobby spoiled (and something else) friends, as it later turned out had not only not learned a thing about wine but not even appreciated any of the bottles we drank together and considered me arrogant and know it all...too bad they were all such good actors and couldn't tell me to my face (or perhaps I was too blindly in love and didn't see it?).

I am very selective about what I serve to whom.

Reply by amour, Feb 8, 2013.

Good bargians are to be found in Loire Valley Sweet Wines/ France.

The Quarts de Chaume wines of Domaine des Baumard and of Domaine des Forges.

I have had both!

Also the Chaume of Domaine Cady. This house is quite underrated; it deserves STARS!

A good way to spend $100 this week!

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