Just recently it was time to refinance the mortgage. After running through some numbers with my mortgage broker, he started expressing concern over my current financial plan of taking 25 years to pay off a 15-year mortgage. After much tut-tutting, he hit me with the old cup-of-coffee-a-day parable. The one loved by financial columnists and hated by café owners in equal measure. You know how it goes: just give up one cup of coffee ($4.50) a day and you pay off your $300,000 mortgage in 22 years instead of 25, saving $50,000 worth of interest payments in the process.
After being confronted with these shocking statistics, all that was running through my mind was “For God’s sake don’t mention the wine”. Later in the day, I was brave enough to put pen to paper and worked out the true costs of my wine habit.
Apparently, if I give up drinking wine altogether I’ll save eight years off my mortgage. If I give up wine and coffee I’ll save 10 years. (I’d rather live in a cave.) But if I reduce my daily expenditure on wine from an average of $15 a bottle to an average of $10 a bottle then (as above) I will still save around three years off an average mortgage. Good enough.
So for the sake of our finances (and our palates), this month’s column is dedicated to wines under $10. According to Nielsen, I am not alone in seeking out the best of the bottom end. The average price of wine bought at supermarkets and liquor stores in New Zealand is around $12. That means we are buying a great deal of wine at under $10 — a section of the market we don’t hear much about. I can’t remember reading a newspaper review on a sub-$10 wine. Even New Zealand’s main price-restricted wine competition limits entries to a retail price of $25 — more than twice the New Zealand average.
Here are my picks for some of the best sub-$10 wine on offer in New Zealand:
Makaraka Estate Chardonnay (Australia)
Bottled specifically for the New Zealand market and widely available, this oaked Chardonnay is a knockout for the price.
Dashwood Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
A New Zealand classic frequently discounted to below $10 at the major supermarkets. Buy this when it’s on special.
Oxford Landing Shiraz (Australia)
A South Australian Shiraz that delivers on flavour. This is a lighter-style Shiraz for South Australia but still ticks all the boxes. Australian wine supremo James Halliday gave it 88 points. Not bad for $10.
Lindauer Brut Cuvée
This comfortable old armchair of the New Zealand wine scene has been around for ever and is still delivering fantastic value for money. The winner of many awards over the years, it is frequently available for under $10 at supermarkets.
Clearwater Cove Marlborough Pinot Gris
The 2013 vintage is a double gold medal-winner and currently available at $9.99. Get it at this price while you can!
Michel Torino Malbec (Argentina)
It’s budget-busting red wines from Argentina like this that leave winemakers from other countries exasperated. On special at under $10 — there’s a lot of wine here for the money.