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photo 2-1*EDIT photo: Dan SlevinJust 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.

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