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How Much Should A Good Bottle of Wine Cost?

AlyceInWonderlandAlyceInWonderland Registered User regular
edited November 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
My boyfriend's grandparents are wine connoisseurs, and I happen to live walking distance from the oldest winery in America, so we really want to pick them up a really nice wine for Christmas. I, however, know NOTHING about wine other than the fact that it has grapes, and it's alcoholic (I'm the pinnacle of class, I know.)

I don't want to offend them by getting them a 20 dollar bottle of crap wine, and I'm looking to spend around 50-100 bucks for a really nice wine.

From the looks of it, the most expensive wine that my winery carries is a 30 dollar red wine, and I've tasted most of their wines before, and think that they're good, but what's 'good' to me might not be 'good' to his grandparents. I obviously can go to different stores other than the winery to get it.

Here's the link to the winery near me, so you guys can see what they have in stock, and if it would be acceptable for a wine connoisseur.
Brotherhood Winery

Could I please have some suggestions? Thanks!

Edit: And if the 7 dollar wines they're selling are actually decent, and is actually an average price then yes, I'm willing to spend that too :P I just don't want to cheap out on them, because I have no idea how much a decent wine should cost.

AlyceInWonderland on

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    MurphyMurphy Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    A fun fact about wine is that the price does not necessarily correlate to the quality. You can get some amazing bottles of wine in the $20-40 range. You don't need to spend $100, and if his parents are connoisseurs, then they will know that there are great wines in the less-expensive range, and will simply be glad that you took the time to get them a thoughtful gift. Do you know what kind of wines they prefer?

    That said, re: your local winery...there don't appear to be a lot of reviews out there.

    I've never had their wine. But from what I've seen online, their Riesling and Pinot Noir are apparently rather good (they seem to be the best sellers). Their Mariage also seems ok, but it's a blend, so it might not be for everyone.

    Murphy on
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    Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Once an Asshole. Trying to be better. Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    The funny thing about wine is that the price tag does not necessary represent the quality and taste of the wine. If I was you, I would find out what kind of wines your guests likes (merlot, pinot, etc), go to the winery, and ask for suggestions and tastes. The you can buy what you like.

    Casually Hardcore on
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    HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    If it's the Brotherhood I've had, I got a couple different bottles of it a couple years ago as a gift and they were both awful. They're generally cheap, and they claim to be the oldest continuously operating winery in the US, but I've had better merlot out of a box.

    You don't have to spend $100, $50, or even $20 for a good wine. Some boxed wines are actually pretty good, but I don't think any would pass a real connoisseur's inspection (note some wine connoisser's are more connoisseur than others. My grandfather considers himself a connoisseur, anyone who's seen him drink considers him a wino in a nice suit). Shame you're not in Michigan, the Castle Shops, Zhender's, and Bavarian Inn in Frankenmouth all sell some great wines as cheap as $15.

    http://onlinestore.bavarianinn.com/Home/ShopHome/OnlineShopping/tabid/101/List/0/CategoryID/15/Level/1/Default.aspx?SortField=ProductName%2cProductName

    They don't have their full line available online, and it wouldn't surprise me if shipping and handling is an atrocity, but if you get one of their Michigan made wines (the only two on here I haven't tried), you've at least got a good chance of getting something they've never tried before, since there's a good few wines that are only sold in Frankenmouth.

    Hevach on
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    MurphyMurphy Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    A good idea would be to try and find a local wine shop that sells more than just one winery's wine. Then see if they can make some suggestions based on the types of wines your BFs grandparents prefer.

    Murphy on
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    matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Trader Joe's Two Buck Chuck regularly beats out, well, every wine in the competitions it enters. And it costs $2.99
    At the 28th Annual International Eastern Wine Competition, Shaw's 2002 Shiraz received the double gold medal, besting the roughly 2,300 other wines in the competition.[4]

    Shaw's 2005 California chardonnay was judged Best Chardonnay from California at the Commercial Wine Competition of the 2007 California Exposition and State Fair. The chardonnay received 98 points, a double gold, with accolades of Best of California and Best of Class.

    My point being, expense doesn't denote a wine being better. It's an extremely, extremely subjective thing and "wine connoisseur" holds about as much sway as "audiophile". If you want to spend $50-100 on a bottle of wine, buy a $50-100 bottle of wine, I guarantee they'll like it simply because it's a $50-100 bottle of wine. The only question I'd really ask them would be red or white, since there are distinct differences between them, and some people only like on or the other.

    matt has a problem on
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    SixSix Caches Tweets in the mainframe cyberhex Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    There are lots of fantastic, enjoyable wines for under $10 a bottle. Lots more from $10-$20, and lots more above $20 a bottle. A good idea would be to stop in to a local wine store and talk with someone there about what you're looking for and get some suggestions. There's no need to spend $50, but that doesn't mean you might not find a bottle worth spending money on.

    As has been said a few times, though, don't equate price with quality.

    Six on
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    FightTestFightTest Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Whenever wine comes up I generally recommend tv.winelibrary.com as it's somewhat entertaining on top of being informational. As stated above price doesn't mean anything. There are some terrible wines out there at high prices and there are some good wines on the cheap.

    FightTest on
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    pogo mudderpogo mudder Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Riesling is always a safe bet. it's pretty standard for enjoying wine whilst knowing a little bit more about it than most.

    pogo mudder on
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    DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Getting a good wine from a local winery is a fantastic gift for wine drinkers, even if it's not expensive. The value of the gift is getting someone something they don't normally get/can't get locally. See if you can find out if any of the local stuff is supposed to be decent. If you want to get a personal gift, DON'T just get something that most wine shops carry and everyone knows. It's definitely a personal, heart-felt gift to get that local wine, as long as it's decent.

    Darkewolfe on
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    ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Riesling is always a safe bet. it's pretty standard for enjoying wine whilst knowing a little bit more about it than most.
    Riesling is a wine you buy if you don't know if the people who you're buying it for like wine or not, because pretty much anyone can drink it; it's very accessible, but not really a good wine for people who are connoisseurs.

    Thanatos on
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    SmokeStacksSmokeStacks Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    If they are wine connoisseurs and probably have a decent selection already, have you thought about getting them a gift that is wine related, but isn't wine?

    I mean, aren't there wine accessories you could get them? I know shitall about wine, but I'm sure if you spent that hundred bucks on a really nice glass set with a hanging holder or a small wine rack or something that they would appreciate that.

    SmokeStacks on
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    EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Buying from a winery is nice if you're tasting it yourself, but as a gift it can be dicey (as noted above). You would probably have much better luck going to a wine store nearby and asking them "I'm looking for a gift, something nice, around 20-25 bucks. And I was also curious about the wines sold by [nearby winery], and how they compare?"

    The thing is, we could talk about rieslings, malbecs, S/SBs, grenaches, shirazes and syrahs, bourdeauxs, and so on, but ultimately a good wine is decided by a) where it's from and b) whether you can buy it. I have had some very good upstate NY wines and some very good wines from Michigan, but it doesn't matter much because I can't buy them in MD (nor can they ship to MD).

    However, I have always had good luck asking in a wine store about recommendations, mostly because those people stock the shelves. Assuming it's a halfway decent wine store, of course, but usually there's someone there who chose the purchases and has tasted something on the shelf. You can probably tell them that it's for an older couple who likes wine and they'll be able to say, at least to themselves, "hmm people in that age range seem to like [flavor], which means [wine] is a good choice."

    Also, (and no offense to SmokeStacks) if they are into wine they probably already have lots of wine accessories and are sick of receiving bottle stoppers, corkscrews, glass holders and the like by now. The great thing about wine as a gift is that it's consumed.

    EggyToast on
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    ErandusErandus Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    EggyToast wrote: »
    You would probably have much better luck going to a wine store nearby and asking them "I'm looking for a gift, something nice, around 20-25 bucks. And I was also curious about the wines sold by [nearby winery], and how they compare?"

    Seriously, do this. Going to wine shops is fun. Any motivated staff will be happy to open a bottle or two for you, or give you some samples of stuff they have open. Tell them what your price range is, and ask the person helping you what they like. You'll score a couple free glasses of wine to sample the flavors, and pick something you like.

    The last wine shop I went to for gift shopping let me try a glass of 3 different bottles, and then packaged it up with some pasta & sauce they felt would compliment the bottle. Worked out really well.

    Erandus on
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    ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Jam Jar is probably one of my favorite wines, and that doesn't top $10 per bottle.

    Artereis on
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    KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Surely they'd appreciate the fact that you'd made an effort to find them a nice bottle as much as the perceived quality of the wine you end up with.

    If your budget is up to $100 though you could go for a more splashy gesture and get something foreign that is recognisably interesting

    Kalkino on
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    Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Do they drink champagne?

    Maybe grab 'em a magnum of something nice.

    Donovan Puppyfucker on
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    japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    The problem with this sort of gift is that it's rarely a good idea to try and buy someone something that relates to a hobby about which the recipient knows more than you do.

    Something wine-related, bit not necessarily wine, is a good suggestion (provided you can find something they don't already own and/or have a better version of). The other good idea is to find something that you know is good, that wouldn't occur to them, or that they are not generally able to obtain.

    Maybe try to find some reviews of the Winery's stuff and figure out if it is interesting as a wine?

    japan on
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    Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Maybe a nice bottle of Penfolds Grandfather tawny port?

    Donovan Puppyfucker on
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    MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Maybe a nice bottle of tawny port?

    It is the season for port.

    Other one-off wine item could be *good* grappa or a liqueur.

    Unless they're serious jerks and/or you get them Ripple, anyone who's 'into' wine should appreciate the gift,as it may be something they've never had. I'd pass on that winery and go to a non-7-11 liquor store to ask for recommendations.

    MichaelLC on
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    KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    japan wrote: »
    The problem with this sort of gift is that it's rarely a good idea to try and buy someone something that relates to a hobby about which the recipient knows more than you do.

    Something wine-related, bit not necessarily wine, is a good suggestion (provided you can find something they don't already own and/or have a better version of). The other good idea is to find something that you know is good, that wouldn't occur to them, or that they are not generally able to obtain.

    Maybe try to find some reviews of the Winery's stuff and figure out if it is interesting as a wine?

    Sure, but wine is pretty unique in that there are thousands of easily available distinct choices in any given year. So even someone who has it as a hobby could easily be given a bottle from a vineyard or region they've never had the chance to sample.

    You could spend years just going through a reasonably sparse examination of either France, Spain or Italy, let alone any of the New World producers. My home province (Otago, NZ) has alone several dozen quality wineries and it has only really been in the business for three or so decades, which isn't long compared to the other more established wine regions of NZ (like Marlborough)

    Kalkino on
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    TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    No idea how easy it is in the states, but perhaps go for something unusual? Particularly in the states there's a lot of grape varieties that aren't used because wine making tends to be a little more comericially orientated. I've been told that there's quite a few unusual Maltan and Spanish grape varities that make nice wines (though not obviously different from the more popular varieties) and there's a couple of major Australian vinyards (probably a lot easier to get in the UK than the US) that are looking to establish their own character by blending traditional grape varieties with some that are better suited to their climate - tried their Shiraz+ (can't remember the grapes) and their white and both have been really nice, I'm not a wine expert by any means but they were both nice wines and a little bit different from what you'd expect.

    Trying new stuff and talking about that in comparison to others is all part of the fun of being a wine connoisseur, it'll be far more fun for everyone if you indulge their hobby rather try to find a nice bottle of wine.

    Tastyfish on
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    AlyceInWonderlandAlyceInWonderland Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Great great suggestions, guys. My boyfriend doesn't really know what they like, so I'm probably going to go to his mom, or something and see what kinds of wine they like, and maybe branch out a bit from there and get them something fun and unusual. It's nice to know that I can get a nice bottle of non-shit wine for like 20 bucks, so I think I'm also going to get them a nice engraved wine case, with their names on it or something.

    Something like this, or this.

    What do you guys think?

    Edit:

    Hevach: Yeah, Brotherhood has some iffy wines, but the majority I've tasted were pretty good. Luckily, I live in the hudson valley, which happens to fortunately have a shitload of wineries, for whatever reason! Also, it'll give me a change to go wine tasting which is always fun.

    AlyceInWonderland on
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