Buying wine is hard, whether you’re navigating unfamiliar grapes, regions, and producers, or simply trying to get maximum bang for buck. Most of us are likely driven by that latter factor — price — when shopping for bottles. But the good news is: Good wine can be cheap and cheap wine can be great.
Beyond being friendly to our bank accounts, there are many reasons to search for bargain-priced diamonds in the rough. Find a $15 rosé that you love, and you can pick it up by the case-load, ensuring you always have a refreshing bottle on hand for the summer season. Discover a similarly affordable sparkler, and it will once and for all put to bed the notion that bubbles should be saved for special occasions.
Of course, the below $20 price point is one of the most competitive segments in wine, with countless producers vying for our attention and dollars. But some stand head and shoulders above the rest of the pack. Consider this a list of “buy it now” bottles — wines you should instantly pick up when you see them on sale and keep on hand for everyday drinking.
Here are the 20 best cheap wines under $20 to drink this year.
Table Of Contents
Bodegas Naia-Vina Sila ‘Naia’ 2020
From Spain’s Rueda D.O. region, this wine is made from the bright and zesty Verdejo variety. This bottle is a fine example of grape and region, with its easygoing personality and energetic, fruity palate. At just $15, it’s a great midweek wine that will complement a broad range of foods and cuisines. Average price: $15.
D’Arenberg The Hermit Crab Marsanne – Viognier 2018
The classic Rhone combination of Marsanne and Viognier grapes finds a new home with this bottling, which is produced in Southern Australia’s McLaren Vale region. Aromas of pear and ginger arrive with vibrant intensity, while the palate is generous in body and texture. Perfect for those who enjoy bolder whites, this can be sipped solo or paired with food. Average price: $16.
Decibel Crownthorpe Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2020
Whether you love or hate New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, this Hawke’s Bay expression deserves your attention. Tropical fruit aromas kick things off, while savory bell pepper notes take a back seat. Though fruit-forward on the palate, a saline note and bracing, mouthwatering acidity ensure each sip is a multi-dimensional experience. Average price: $18.
Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina del Sannio 2019
Most notably grown in Campania, in southern Italy, Falanghina makes lean and crisp white wines with citrus aromas and refreshing green-fruit flavors. At their best, such as this incredible value bottle, the palate is also loaded with minerality, making it a perfect match for seafood dishes. Average price: $19.
Lagar de Cervera Albariño 2020
From Rías Baixas in northwestern Spain, this Albariño is tank fermented (a common practice for region and variety), which helps maintain its spring-like fruity and floral freshness. A period of time on lees makes for great body and complexity, adding to its suitability for the dinner table. Average price: $16.
Mary Taylor ‘Pascal Biotteau’ Anjou Blanc 2020
What a fine expression of Chenin Blanc this is, from the variety’s homeland of the Loire Valley in France. Its aromas recall honey and fresh dough, with a hint of fragrant elderflower. Generous depth on the palate is matched by lively acidity. We love it with goat cheese. Average price: $16.
Weingut Setzer Grüner Veltliner 2020
This is a bright, zippy, remarkably well-priced Grüner Veltliner from a historic Austrian producer. With refreshing fruity notes balanced by a sprinkle of white pepper, this wine screams schnitzel time. Average price: $11.
Acrobat Pinot Noir 2018
Sourced from vineyards located in three different Oregon AVAs, this is a comforting Pinot Noir. Cherry cola aromas leap out of the glass while lively acidity leads to refreshing sips and a pleasant finish. Enjoy this everyday Pinot with a slight chill. Average price: $18.
Beni di Batasiolo Barbera d’Alba 2018
There are a host of great options for pasta night, and this Italian red from Piedmont ranks among the best of them. Earthy notes add a rustic edge to its fruity nose before the palate displays its concentrated core (more fruit). With a light profile overall, there’s no risk of this wine outshining or overshadowing your favorite dish. Average price: $17.
Cantine Argiolas Costera Cannonau di Sardegna 2019
Made from Sardinia’s native Cannonau grape, which many believe to be the same variety as Grenache, this is a lively, fruity red with interesting texture. Enjoy as they do on the Italian island with spit-roasted suckling pig or a seafood pasta dish. Average price: $15.
Giacomo Mori Palazzone Chianti DOCG 2017
Case buy alert: This is one of the most balanced, expressive Chiantis available at the under $20 price point. Its fruit character immediately springs to life, with cherry and cranberry aromas joined by a hint of soil, and all three continuing onto the perfectly poised palate. Average price: $15.
Penley Estate ‘Phoenix’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Southern Australia’s Coonawarra region is a hotbed for high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon. With an average price of $19, this bottle punches well above its weight and offers great insight into the region’s wines. Rich dark fruits are matched by savory, meaty notes, while medium acidity saves the palate from feeling too dense. Average price: $19.
Santa Julia Reserva Malbec 2019
This wine offers everything you’d expect from a great Malbec. The nose is dominated by brooding dark berry aromas, as well as plum and cherry. The palate is weighty but not full-bodied, with acidity and tannin equally matched. At just over 10 bucks per bottle, this is a bargain buy. Average price: $12.
Vietti Tre Vigne Barbera d’Asti DOCG 2018
Another great budget Barbera, this wine awaits on cheese night. It smells like the tart cherries you might wish to accompany your fromage selection, while earthy seasonings dial up the complexity. Average price: $19.
Gabriëlskloof Rosebud 2020
Looking for a rosé that’s fun and different? This blend of Syrah and Viognier from the Western Cape of South Africa ought to do the trick. While its strawberry and herb aromas are slightly austere, it comes to life on the palate, which is full-flavored with fizzy acidity. Average price: $15.
Skouras ‘Peplo’ High Elevation Rosé 2019
Another esoteric outlier, this Greek blend from the Peloponnese is made from Agioritiko, Moschofilero, and Syrah. Highly aromatic, the nose delivers heady scents of orange blossom, pear, and ginger. The palate lands dry and exceptionally crisp, with fruit arriving in tart, refreshing form. Average price: $15.
Tormaresca ‘Calafuria’ Negroamaro Rosato 2020
Produced from the inky Negroamaro grape in its native Puglia, Italy, this is a clean, mineral-driven rosé. Full-bodied mouthfeel is kept in check by electric acidity, and everything about this wine — down to its funky label — screams beach vibes. Average price: $17.
Graham Beck Brut Rosé NV
This Méthode Cap Classique South African sparkler blends Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Though made using the same technique as Champagne, its profile strays from brioche and pastries into strawberry yogurt territory. Yogurt proves to be an apt descriptor for the palate, too, given its smooth, persistent mousse. Average price: $18.
Pierre Sparr Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé NV
Some of the best deals to be had in sparkling wine arrive via the various Crémant-producing regions in France. This example from Alsace, a 100 percent Pinot Noir, smells like crushed strawberries and serves up juicy fruit on the palate. Simultaneously heady and refreshing, this sparkling rosé is where it’s at. Average price: $19.
Venturini Baldini ‘Montelocco’ Lambrusco Frizzante Emilia IGT NV
The perfect bottle to begin a Lambrusco exploration, this fizzy red lands neither bone dry nor overly sweet, which can often be the case. Its bubbles are gentle and soft, and the fruit notes tart. Keep this on hand for fried chicken or pizza. Average price: $17.
What are some tips on buying good, cheap wine?
To find great cheap wine, avoid bottles from well-known, expensive regions. Instead, look to offerings made with more obscure grapes from the New World, which includes Argentina, Chile, and the U.S., among other places.
What is a good large brand of cheap wine?
Chateau Ste. Michelle is a widely-available wine brand offering great value across the board.