Here are five (or six) great wines I’ve stumbled upon in random local stores in the middle of Iowa and Minnesota, which means that with even a bit of legwork, they can be found anywhere. They’ve all been $10 or less for me, but they might be a bit more in your area. If you’re looking for good wine deals, these are the best I’ve found recently. My only advice on what to avoid: Yellow Tail. Enjoy!
First, if you have a Trader Joe’s anywhere near you, you probably know that they sell a lot of very cheap wine. Out of all of these, I recommend Charles Shaw Sauvignon Blanc (the classic “Two Buck Chuck”) and the J.W. Morris Merlot (“Three Buck Moe”). The Charles Shaw Chardonnay is also pretty good. If you buy these, you’ll walk out of the store with a solid bottle of wine for less than five bucks.
If you’re nowhere near a Trader Joe’s, try looking for a J. Lohr Riverstone Estates chardonnay, which is just delicious and can be found for about $9 a bottle. It’s worth calling your local wine shops to find it.
Columbia Crest Grand Estates is another good brand, particularly their merlots. These seem to be pretty easily available in a lot of places for $9-$10 a bottle.
Speaking of merlot, you might also be able to locate a merlot by Bogle Vineyards; it’s a bit hard to find, but I picked up their merlot for $8 a while back and it was memorably good. Their site features a list of stores that carry them.
I would be proud to have any of these wines at my family meal. They’re all great, inexpensive, and not too hard to find. If you’re looking for more options, here’s an extensive collection of reviews of sub-$5 wines.