coins£4.87 is the average-spend on a bottle of supermarket wine. And with the recession predicted to carry on until goodness knows when that amount isn’t likely to increase any time soon – unless our Chancellor of the Exchequer decides to put up alcohol excise duty yet again. And he might – but until that time comes what exactly does an average-priced bottle of wine taste like?

sugar and raisinsSome may have an aftertaste of over-cooked jam (South African reds seem particularly prone) and some may be over-sweet (adding sugar or concentrated grape must to pad things out can work out cheaper than using 100% freshly-pressed grape juice – all allowable within the wine ‘quality’ laws of many countries) but if you can avoid these then you’ll find some perfectly nice fruity reds and refreshing whites.

Bottles of wineBut while this average labelled, stoppered and taxed supermarket bottle costs slightly less than a fiver, the actual value of the wine inside it works out at only £2.09.

And should this bottle retail for £4.79, £3.99 or even £2.99 then the wine inside will be worth even less - possibly as low as 50 pence.

So how can wine makers make a profit at these low, low prices? By mass production and investing a lot of money in modern stainless steel wine facilities that’s how. It’s not romantic, but neither is a discounted 23p tin of own-brand baked beans, and we consume vast quantities of these too.

Here’s five wines that cost less than a fiver

Tesco FianoTesco The Vineyards South African White

£3.29 Tesco

An easy-drinking everyday blend that tastes of apple, almond and apricot crumble pudding.

Tesco Chilean Red

£3.79 Tesco

Final flavours of black pepper swamp the light and creamy blackberriness but it’s alright.

Canti Sicilian Catarratto Chardonnay 2011

£4.49 Co-op (down from £5.49 until September 25)

Like drinking a fruit salad with a swirl of cream.

Tesco ClaretCanti Sicilian Negromaro Zinfandel 2011

£4.49 Co-op (down from £5.49 until September 25)

Tastes of violet, sloe, plum, liquorice and blackcurrant. A little sharp.

Devil’s Rock German Riesling 2011

£4.75 Co-op (down from £6.75 until September 25)

Devil’s Rock is a reliable brand that always produces some very drinkable wines. This one tastes like a light fruit mousse. Pleasant.

This article has also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on