wine pourDespite the recent duty increase on wine there are still some good bottles to be found that cost the same as a couple of National Lottery tickets. The £3.99 and under price range is dominated by German wines and 3-litre boxes, where you pay more upfront but the equivalent bottle price is always less than you'd pay for a separate 75cl glass bottle.

Sainsburys NiersteinerSainsbury's Niersteiner Gutes Domtal, £2.99 Sainsbury's
Many German wines taste overly sweet and unbalanced without the necessary citrusy and floral flavours that make a white wine refreshing. But this low alcohol (only 9.5% alcohol by volume) blend of German grape varieties tastes smoothly of lemon and orange blossom. A good match with Chinese food.

Asda Soave 3-litre box (holds four bottles of wine), £10.74 Asda – equivalent to £2.68 a bottle.
If you want a reliable white that goes with almost any food, and you've got space in your fridge, then consider getting in this 3-litre box. The Italian grape variety mix of Garganega and Trebbiano, with a bit of Chardonnay thrown in, make this light wine taste crisply of apples, lemons and lychees. All this for under three quid a bottle.

Babycham Sparkling Perry, £2.04 Asda, £2.98 for 4x200ml bottles Tesco
Made with pears rather than grapes Babycham isn't a wine, but if you covered up the label many people would say it was. Light, fruity and sweet with a slight fizz, this makes a very acceptable low alcohol alternative (just 5.5%) to the many white wines now available with an excessive 13% alcohol by volume.

orangesPaddington bear is celebrating his fiftieth birthday. Yes it's been five decades since the Peruvian immigrant with a love for marmalade sandwiches arrived at a certain railway terminus and took up residence with the Brown family. Their housekeeper, Mrs Bird, instinctively knew that bears need plentiful supplies of that bitter-sweet breakfast jam if they're to maintain the shine on their fur. And so a message was sent to the local grocer for top up supplies. How times have changed. Now finding and purchasing a decent pot of marmalade suitable for south American bears and Wiltshire-born writers with a penchant for chunky, dark and sour marmalade is virtually impossible.

Chapel Down BacchusIt's English Wine Week, so of course it must be raining. That pretty much captures the essence of what it's like to be an English winemaker - great when the sun shines but for the other 300 days of the year it's just plain hard work getting grapes to ripen in less than ideal conditions. Luckily newer cross-bred grape varieties make it easier to produce an end product surpassing New World competitors.

Mont Tauch labelMany wine experts predicted the extinction of the three pound bottle from Britain's supermarket wine aisles following the Chancellor's recent duty increases. But rummage among the expensive named chateau in the 'French' wine aisle of your nearest Somerfield supermarket and you'll find a great bargain hiding behind a sepia monstrosity of a wine label. Mont Tauch Corbières 2006 may not look much from the outside but the young and vibrant wine inside will get you excited.