A guide to buying your Christmas booze

A guide to buying your Christmas booze
With Christmas around the corner, Kim Brebach, The $20 Wine Guy has uncorked his top tips for enjoying the finest wines this festive season, at the best price.

Whether you’re buying for an office party, Christmas dinner with family or a New Year’s Eve soiree with friends, according to Kim, if you buy smart, you can save yourself a truckload.

With decades of experience buying and drinking fine wine, Kim created Best Wines Under $20 in order to seek out the best tasting wines under $20 available in Australia.  Designed for every day Australians who love enjoying good value and a great tasting drop, members pay a $30 annual fee to have access to Kim’s expert wine reviews, the best weekly deals and lists of the best reds, whites and bubbles available that week for $20 or less.

“First of all, price is definitely no guide to quality when it comes to wine,” says Kim. “We’re lucky in Australia to be blessed with exciting wines that aren’t necessarily expensive wines, but they can be hard to find among endless aisles in bottle shops.

“Our job is to do the hard work for you, tasting and recommending the best wines each week and where to buy them for a steal.  At Christmas time when the wine is flowing, the savings can be significant,” he said.

Here, Kim shares his top tips for fuss-free wine shopping and selecting the best drops at the best price this festive season:

1.    Get ready, steady: In the chaos and frustration of Christmas shopping, it’s easy to leave the wine shopping until last, but why? “It’s the one consumable that won’t go off,” says Kim. “You don’t need a cellar to store wine either. A cool space like the garage or a spare room is fine, just pop it in a box and try to keep it away from sunlight and changes in temperature. Pop whites and bubbles in the fridge a few days prior, and your wines will be in perfect condition come Chrissy.”

2.    Match your wines with your festive fare: Whether it’s seafood on the beach or turkey at the dining table, you’re sure to have a drink or two to wash down Christmas lunch. To make sure your wines really hit the mark, there a few easy pointers for pairing fine wines with food. “A sparkling red is a great choice if you be enjoying a turkey with all the trimmings,” says Kim, “but a well-chilled rose makes the perfect partner for a ham on a hot day.” If seafood is on the menu, a full-flavoured chardonnay is a treat and very in vogue.

3.    Do your research and buy online: According to Kim, the most expensive place to buy wine is the bottle shop next to where you’re doing your Christmas shopping. It might be convenient, but it may not be the best value. “Consider buying online,” says Kim. “Big outlets often have good quality wines at great prices, and Australia has lots of boutique wineries with interesting, high quality wines, which you’ll never find in the bigger stores.”

“Many smaller Australian vineyards sell online via sites like Kemenys, MyCellars and Winestar, and most vineyards sell directly online too. Plus, most merchants and vineyards will also deliver at no or low cost, so can save yourself time and a trip to the bottle shop,” he says.

4.    Be adventurous: It might feel safe to go in to a bottle shop and buy by a known brand like Penfolds, Hardy’s or Yalumba, but if you don’t know the wine or the vintage, it could still be a mistake, says Kim. “If you know where you’ll be drinking it (a barbecue, dinner, business or NYE party) and what you want to spend, scan BWU$20 by price, and find the wine that suits.” If you’re nervous about trying something new, BWU$20 lists all the options by varietal, price and review. “It’s easy to find exciting new wines for less than you’re paying for the tired ones you’ve been drinking for years,” he says.

5.    Don’t buy by price: According to Kim, one of the most common mistakes we make when buying booze is judging by price. “Cost is no reflection of quality,” he says. “So often, wines that cost less than $20 beat drops worth $80 or more. We find quality wines that have earned rave reviews and top awards and are available in Australia right now at very special prices all the time – the key is doing your research.”

Taking the leg work out of buying good wines at great prices, you can subscribe to Kim’s tips and reviews at Best Wines Under $20, for an annual subscription fee of just $30. Based on drinking two bottles a week, it can help you save more than $500 a year. For further information, visit www.bestwinesunder20.com.au.


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