Why You're Overpaying for Wine from the Grocery Store

How much does wine really cost? Did you know it may be costing you more when you go to the store? STOP overpaying for wine from the grocery store!

Want to discover your wine taste profile?

Take our quick 7-question quiz to find wines that fit your taste profile and get them delivered to your door.

Free Wine Quiz Arrow

How much should you be paying for wine? It’s a simple question, but the answer is surprisingly complicated. So, let’s untangle this grapevine. Let’s say you go to the grocery store and spend $12 on a bottle of wine. That seems like a reasonable price... until you learn that a $12 bottle of wine only costs about $3 to make. It makes you wonder, “Hey, what gives?” Now, if you simply want to spend the least amount of money, you can totally buy a $5 bottle of Yellow Tail. But most people – even wine novices – have the inkling that spending more will get you a better bottle of wine.

The thing is, that’s not always true. More expensive wine isn’t necessarily better – particularly if you’re not accustomed to drinking really fancy aged wine. However, you will notice a difference in quality between a $10 bottle and a $20 bottle. You might be thinking, why $20? Where do these numbers come from? Retail price of wine has to do with how the bottle gets from the vineyard to the store shelf. Take a look at why you’re overpaying for wine from the grocery store and how wine subscriptions can save money.

The Grocery Store Markup

Why does wine from the grocery store cost so much? Typically, the winemaker sells to a wholesaler who sells to a distributor who sells to a retailer. It’s not uncommon for five or more middlemen to be involved along the way – and, of course, each one takes a cut. Oftentimes, the winemaker only receives 25-30% of the retail price. Clearly, if you take out the middlemen from the equation, you could get the same wine for less. The only problem is, how are you supposed to find out about little-known wineries who are producing great wines if they’re not in the place where you happen to shop anyway? The thing is a grocery store seems like a great meeting spot for wine lovers and winemakers. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy for winemakers to get their wine into the store as you might think.

A Quick Distillation of the Wine-to-Store Situation

So, how does a bottle of wine land on a store shelf? There are usually two avenues: Either a winemaker is so big that they already have the bandwidth to make a ton of wine that the store can buy in bulk or they’re a smaller operation that has a lot of buzz. In order to get that buzz, they need a marketing team, and that can cost a lot of money. In other words, boutique wineries that make small quantities of wine and can’t afford a fancy marketing department are unlikely to get in front of you – a shopper who’s looking to try a new wine at tonight’s happy hour. Instead, you’re likely to see a lot of big name mass-produced brands and the same handful of smaller brands that can afford to be there. While there are clearly lots of options on the shelves, you won’t find a lot of variation or rotation. The store benefits when you get comfy with a particular brand, so they don’t make it particularly easy for you to branch out. So, in reality, the choices at the store are fairly limited to common varietals from big name producers located in big regions. Even if you’re only spending $12 per bottle, you are seriously overpaying for what you’re getting.

A Better (and Less Expensive) Way to Get Wine

Thankfully, you can get great wine without overpaying. Subscription wine services save you money because they cut out the middlemen. Subscription services are more convenient because they literally do the heavy lifting of sending wine right to you. They also save you the trouble of choosing the right bottles. Let’s be real: When you shop for wine at the store picking a bottle feels like a total guess. Maybe you go for the same bottle again and again, but as soon as you branch out, there’s a 50/50 that you’ll get stuck with a wine you don’t fall in love with.

Wine Subscription Services

Subscription services take out the guesswork. Using your unique preferences as their guide, they find wines that suit your particular tastes, introducing you to exciting new wines that you’re sure to love. Plus, their selection of wines is often way bigger, and frankly, way cooler than the mass-produced blends you’ll find at the store.

Why is that? Since subscription companies source their wines directly from vineyards, they’re able to connect you with lots of unique and small-scale wineries that put a lot of thought into curating high-quality wines. This will exposed you to new varietals and wine regions that you may not have heard of before. Now, we happen to think that’s a pretty cool feature on its own, simply because when you branch out and try new kinds of wine, you’re likely to discover a new favorite. But consider this: Learning about new varietals and new regions will actually save you money on the occasions when you may have to hit up a local store. That’s because lesser-known varietals and smaller regions tend to be priced lower simply because they don't have the name recognition of, say, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. Whether you’re a wine expert or you’re new to wine and want to learn more, wine subscription services make it easy to try wines you’ll love at a better price than the grocery store.

In Vino Finito

Thinking about making the switch to a subscription service? Try taking the Bright Cellars quiz to get started.
Arrow Previous Article
November 18, 2020
New Wine Alert: Watchkeeper...
Next Article Arrow
November 19, 2020
10 Things to Know About Veu...
Featured Articles
Follow Bright Cellars

Articles you might like...

Ready to learn more about wine? Dive right in.

This is a carousel. You can use the slide dots to navigate to a specific slide.

Tips + Tricks
December 01, 2023

7 Wine Gift Ideas for Everyone On Your List

When in doubt, gift wine. Here are some helpful ideas for gifting to the wine lovers on your list this...

Pairing Tips
October 08, 2022

Wine and Pierogi Pairings For National Pierogi Day!

Happy National Pierogi Day! This Polish dumplings can be savory or sweet. Here are 7 wine and pierogi pairings to...

Tips + Tricks
July 12, 2022

10 Ways to Get Out of a Wine Rut

Looking to rediscover your love for wine? Here are 10 fun, foolproof ways to get out of that wine rut...

Wine Spotlights
July 07, 2022

Wine Spotlight: Paper Tiger Wines

We're introducing our new wine brand, Paper Tiger wines. These varieties are rare, enticing, and, above all, worth trying.

Tips + How To
June 12, 2022

Wine Wisdom: How to Learn About Wine

Introducing Wine Wisdom — a series of bite-size, sommelier-approved lessons that allow you to learn about wine on your own...

June 01, 2022

All for Wine & Wine for All: Raising a Glass to our Differences

Happy June, fellow wine drinkers! This month, we’re celebrating with a reminder: There’s enough room at the table for all...

May 26, 2022

Wine Spotlight: Dreamlet Wines

These California wines are exploding with flavor, but we’ve also added a new bottling technique with a little bit of...

May 13, 2022

New Wine Alert: Unsinkable Wines

Bright Cellars is excited to announce the launch of a captivating new brand ready to hit boxes – Unsinkable wines.

Wine 101
May 11, 2022

From the Judge's Corner: Wine Competitions Explained

Our own Julie Albin recently judged two wine competitions in London – the International Wine Challenge and Decanter World Wine...

Wine 101
May 02, 2022

What’s the Deal with Chilling Red Wine?

Should red wines be chilled? The short answer: yes, but don’t go tossing any red wine in your fridge. Here...

April 20, 2022

Best Cellars Spotlight: Folk & Fable Wines

Of all our Bright Cellars wines, there’s one that never fails to impress, time and time again. From its bold,...

Wine 101
April 14, 2022

7 Things to Know About Malbec Wine

You know about the ever-popular Cabernet Sauvignon, and you probably know a thing or two about Merlot. It’s time we...

Wine 101
Wine Facts
April 07, 2022

What Is a Red Blend Wine?

What is a red blend wine and why do winemakers blend wines? We're explaining the magical process that is blending...

Tips + Tricks
March 29, 2022

Spring Cleaning: Wine Bar Cart Essentials

As the weather warms, use this handy checklist of wine bar cart essentials to prepare yourself for spring sipping.

March 25, 2022

NEW! Colorfast Wine Label Spring Cleaning

In the true spirit of spring cleaning, we’re excited to unveil something we’ve been working on behind the scenes. Introducing...

Wine Inspiration
March 22, 2022

Sipping Through Spring: Wine Playlist

Imagine: You're sitting on a blanket at the park with sunshine on your face, a good read in one hand,...

Wine 101
March 16, 2022

A Beginner’s Guide to Different Types of White Wine

Not sure where to start with white wine? Here are the most common types of white wines you'll see at...

February 28, 2022

How to Be the Main Character of Your Wine Experience

Some call it main character energy. We call it good wine vibes. Everyone’s story is different – whether you’re just...

Wine 101
Wine Facts
February 09, 2022

How to Talk About Wine: Wine Terms to Know

From tannin to terroir, here's how to talk about wine and the top wine terms to know for your next...

Wine 101
January 27, 2022

What Are Wine Sulfites & Which Wines Are Low Sulfite Wines?

Sulfites get a bad rap in the wine world, but the truth is, they’re essential to the winemaking process. So,...

Wine Inspiration
January 21, 2022

37 Wine Quotes to Keep You Inspired

Wine quotes are like a good glass of wine - they can truly take your day from good to great....

Wine 101
January 21, 2022

What is Wine Sediment and How Does It Get In My Glass?

In your wine lifetime, you may have experienced wine sediment - traces of the winemaking process left in wine that...

Wine 101
January 14, 2022

Can Wine Freeze? 3 Hacks for Frozen Wine

We know hard alcohol can’t freeze, but can wine freeze? Here's the explanation you've been waiting for and a few...

Wine 101
January 12, 2022

Red Wine vs White Wine: What’s The Difference?

We're sharing the fundamental differences of red wine vs. white wine, plus how you should serve both types of wine.

Tips + How To
January 07, 2022

7 Ways to Embrace Try January, Instead of a Dry January

New Year’s resolutions don’t always have to involve giving something up. Here are 7 ways to make this month a...

Wine 101
December 31, 2021

Sparkling Wine VS Champagne: What’s the Difference?

As we ring in the New Year, it’s important to address this surprisingly common question - what is the difference...

Tips + How To
December 16, 2021

7 Wine Holiday Traditions to Start this Year

Some holiday traditions are just better with wine. Here are 7 creative ways to celebrate the season with vino, year...

Wine Inspiration
December 10, 2021

Last Minute Gifts That Will Arrive In Time

These last minute gifts are great for wine lovers and are guaranteed to arrive before the holidays. Check out these...

Wine Inspiration
December 03, 2021

25 Best Christmas Songs and Wine Pairings

From classic carols to modern hits, we’ve taken the liberty of rounding up the best Christmas songs and pairing them...

Tips + Tricks
Wine Inspiration
December 03, 2021

Holiday Hacks: How to Reuse Your Bright Cellars Box

Instead of tossing your box on the curb, here are a few holiday hacks and DIY wine bottle crafts to...

Pairing Tips
December 02, 2021

Top Wine Pairings for Your Holiday Dinner – No Matter What You Cele...

The holidays are all about enjoying good food! Here are the perfect holiday dinner and wine pairings – no matter...

Wine 101
November 29, 2021

Winter Wine: The Best Winter Reds

There’s nothing like cozying up next to a fire with a glass of winter wine in hand. Here are the...

Wine Inspiration
November 26, 2021

Gift Guide: Gifts for Wine Lovers

Wondering what to get someone who loves wine? From the Wine Newbie to the Cocktail Connoisseur, here are the perfect...

Wine Inspiration
November 24, 2021

7 Reasons to be Thankful for Wine

When you go around the table this Thanksgiving and share what you're thankful for, don't forget to be thankful for...

By The Numbers
November 23, 2021

Your Favorite Wine Cocktails, Ranked

There’s something special about the seasons changing. It’s the perfect time to try a new wine or get out of...

Pairing Tips
November 19, 2021

Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes & Wine Pairings

You can only eat turkey so many days in a row. Here are the best Thanksgiving leftover recipes and the...

Wine Inspiration
November 19, 2021

2021 Black Friday Wine Deals

Whether you're a wine beginner or seasoned sipper, here are the best Black Friday wine deals for wine lovers alike.

Wine Inspiration
November 12, 2021

The Best Holiday Wine Gift Subscription On The Internet

We found the perfect holiday wine gift to give your loved one all the warm and fuzzies this holiday season.

Wine 101
November 12, 2021

How to Open a Bottle of Wine

Grab your corkscrew and your favorite Bright Cellars wine - we're teaching you how to open a bottle of wine...

Wine 101
November 04, 2021

How to Read a Wine Label

Deciphering wine labels can be downright confusing. Today we're teaching you how to read a wine label in four easy...

Wine Inspiration
October 29, 2021

Have You Ever Visited a Vineyard?

There are some experiences that are simply irreplaceable when it comes to wine. We asked our Bright Cellars’ community, “Have...

Tips + Tricks
Wine 101
October 29, 2021

How to Taste Wine

How to Taste Wine in 3 Easy Steps https://youtu.be/yZiVhcLNCto Anyone can drink wine, but tastin’ wine ain’t easy. In order...

Hosting Tips
Wine Inspiration
October 28, 2021

Don’t Forget the Wine: A Holiday Hosting Checklist

Are you hosting for the holidays? Check out our holiday hosting checklist focused on, you guessed it, wine!

Pairing Tips
Wine Inspiration
October 21, 2021

How to Pair Wine With Your Fall Charcuterie Board

Get creative for your next fall get together! Here are our recommendations for pairing wine with your next fall charcuterie...

Pairing Tips
October 19, 2021

Thanksgiving Wines Based on Your Favorite Side Dish

In some situations, it’s okay to play favorites! Here’s which wine you should drink based on your favorite Thanksgiving side...

Pairing Tips
Wine Inspiration
October 19, 2021

5 Apple Dessert and Wine Pairings Perfect for Fall

Move over pumpkin, it's apple's time to shine! These 5 fall apple desserts and wine pairings are perfect for celebrating...

Hosting Tips
Tips + How To
October 15, 2021

How to Throw a Hallowine Party

If you think Halloween is just for kids, think again. Here are 5 foolproof ways to take your celebration from...

Wine Cocktails
Wine Inspiration
October 15, 2021

How to Make Mulled Wine (And Other Fall Cocktails)

There’s just something special about a homemade fall wine cocktail. Here's how to make mulled wine (and other fall cocktails!)

Pairing Tips
Wine Inspiration
October 14, 2021

Pairing Wine With Halloween Candy: The Ultimate Guide

Sometimes you have to treat yourself! These 12 Halloween candy and wine pairings are perfect for ending spooky season and...

Pairing Tips
October 11, 2021

9 Wines for Pumpkin Spice Lovers

Some call it fall, others call is pumpkin spice season! Here are 9 wines perfect for pumpkin spice lovers for...