£5 and under wine category is expanding - WineUncorked: Wine Reviews and Tips

The review of Marks and Spencer's £5 This Is wine range shows that it's not just the discounters, like Aldi and Lidl,  who are embracing this budget end of the market. Waitrose too have a £4.99 range with bright and simply designed labels consisting of nine wines while the rest of the UK supermarket giants are jostling for attention with a whole host of £5 and under wines - starting at just £2.99 from Lidl.

When you consider that the average spend on a bottle of wine in the UK is now £6 (an estimated rise from the £5.93 at the beginning of 2020 by the wine trade association WSTA who predicted the average bottle price would exceed £6 by June 2020) then it could be easy to dismiss this less-than-average segment - but for every statistic that is an average there must always be those spending less than the average and those spending more.

Spending less than £5 is actually easier than you might think - Aldi has 9 of its 39 white wines priced at under £5 (their Italian Pinot Grigio Sauvignon Blanc blend is £4.39) and 19 of their 36 current reds at under a fiver - including a Bordeaux and Chianti at £4.49.

Both Morrisons and Asda can match these £4-something bottles - Morrisons with their own-label whites starting with a Chenin Blanc at £4.25 and a Soave at £4.35, while Asda have their Winemaker's Choice range at £4.25.

But how low can you go? The cheapest wines will always be those labelled 'British-made' wines. Don't confuse these with English wines made from grapes grown in England. British wines are made from imported grape juice (which could be Italian or Spanish) and then fermented into wine here in Britain - a bit like home-brew kits but on a larger scale.

The lowest priced British wine I've come across is Lidl's Baywood British White at £2.99. This 'easy drinking and versatile' wine at just 8% alcohol is remarkably priced when you consider that all bottles of wine over 5.5% in alcohol must pay the UK government £3.30 in tax (Duty at £2.23 a bottle and VAT at 20% which is £1.07). This is clearly a loss leader in that the retail price is less than the cost to put it on the shelf. Not all supermarkets are prepared to do this - Asda's Three Mills Reserve British wine is priced at £3.49.

Big name wine brands are also represented in this £5 segment too - McGuigan's Private Bin Merlot at Asda for £4.60 and Black Tower Smooth Red is also at Asda for £5. Waitrose stocks Gallo's Summer Rose for the amazing price of £4.85.

Premium wine retailers are also dipping their toes into budget wines - Virgin Wines' cheapest wine (as of August 2020) is their VinobyVana Pink Grapefruit (a blend of French rose and natural fruit flavourings) at £5.49 and 8% alcohol (down from £5.99). Majestic have two wines at £4.99 - but you only pay this price if you buy at least 6 bottles in total - while top end retailer Berry Bros & Rudd's lowest priced wine is the Stellenbosch Waterford Estate Chenin Blanc at £6.64.

If such a By Royal Appointment wine retailer as Berry Bros is welcoming customers with less than a tenner in their pockets then where will it end? Perhaps the face on the tenner will pop around to the St. James's Street store when she needs something to wash down the haddock and frites.

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About WineUncorked and its editor, Paula Goddard Read more