money£5.03 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 cubesSome 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.

But while this average labelled, stoppered and taxed supermarket bottle costs just slightly more than a fiver, the value of the wine inside it works out at only two quid.

And should this bottle retail for £5.03, £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.

PG Wine Reviews

Here’s eight wines that cost around a fiver:

Kumala whiteKumala South African Colombard Chardonnay
Kumala South African Pinotage Cinsault
£4.59 Tesco (down from £6.98 from October 2 to October 22)
Hard to go wrong with Kumala – you know where you are with it. Nothing terribly exciting but good everyday stuff.

Co-op Fairtrade South African Chardonnay 2013
£4.99 Co-op (down from £5.99 until October 8)
Creamy lemon and lychee flavours. A good all-rounder that matches many foods.

Co-op Segredo do Lisboa Portuguese Pires Arrinto Chardonnay 2012
Co-op Segredo do Lisboa Portuguese Casteleo Syrah 2012
£4.99 Co-op
Look beyond the unusual blend of well-known grape with the local ‘what’s that?’ to find a zesty white and a smooth and fruity red.

M&S Rare Cream Sherry
£4.99 M&S (down from £9.99 until November 17)
Yes it does come in a half bottle size, but you’re still going to spend £5 for a bottle of the stuff aren’t you? And when you taste the Christmas cake and toffee pudding flavours you might want to go back again and spend another fiver.

Spar Terra Ricca whiteSpar Terra Ricca Italian Garganega Pinot Grigio
Spar Terra Ricca Italian Sangiovese
£5 Spar (down from £7.49 from October 3 to October 23)
Expect light lemon, melon and apricot flavours with a cinnamon edge in the Pinot Grigio and cherry, choc and cinnamon flavours in the red.

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

sausages and mashAutumn has started. Falling leaves and falling temperatures means a diet of comfort food is now required. A good pork sausage, a bottle of red wine and an extremely large dollop of creamy mashed potato should do the trick.

Mountain Edge casksIf you really like a certain wine, rather than buying it in single cork-stoppered bottles why not get in larger two, three or four bottle-sized amounts available in boxes and pouches?

school signTerm is starting for the children, and in a few weeks time it’ll be the adults’ turn. Evening classes begin in September and it’s not all about beginner’s French. Wine tasting is still being offered by many local education authorities and if you’re lucky the course will be taught by a wine tutor who is knowledgeable and understands you’ll be nervous when you first arrive.