What’s the best cheap supermarket wine?

Because paying more than a fiver is ridiculous


We’re all tight drinkers at heart, downing Strongbow and Everyday Value vodka on the bus every time we go out, but now you can deceive the judgemental stares from the U1 with this handy guide. With every bottle under a fiver, here’s the pros and cons of every supermarket’s finest basic wine.

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It’s better than any vineyard

Tesco – Silver Bay Point

8 per cent and the cheapest price of them all at £2.80, you get a decent amount of alcohol for your money, but the low price definitely shows in taste. You might mistake it for massively diluted squash that’s had a shot dropped into it but it’s definitely not “sweet and fruity” like the deceptively classy label claims.

Avoid this like the plague, unless you’re going to someone’s house that you don’t like. It’s mildly pleasing aesthetic might trick someone into thinking you’ve spent more than a quid on their birthday shindig.

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Sainsbury’s – Lambrusco Dell Emilia Rosato

At £2.99, Sainsbury’s offers the second cheapest wine on offer – if you can really call it wine. It has a youthful fizz which makes you feel like your parents have fobbed you off with coloured lemonade instead of champagne. Yet it certainly tastes juicy, making it hard to realise you’re even drinking wine.

4% ABV, you’re certainly not going to be feeling anything from this anytime soon. If you want to pretend you’re an adult while still sipping something that’s basically Ribena with a kick, this is the choice for you. But if you want to join your generation anytime soon, save your money (and your reputation).

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Rootes Grocery Store – Cape Classics

This South African vintage hails from Warwick’s own RGS, and offers you the most alcohol content for a mid-range price of £3.99 at 13.5 per cent. This makes it your best value for money, and the taste is far more survivable than its cheaper counterparts. While slightly watery, there’s enough fruity taste to convince yourself you’ve bought a decent bottle, deceiving the people around you into thinking you have wine standards.

Knock back a glass or two, and you’ll have a far better night than the sot slurping his Strongbow in the corner.

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Waitrose – El Guia

To make it a more varied guide, I even ventured into the unknown depths of Waitrose and made the massive price leap to £4.79. From the initial glance, it’s obvious this is not the standard student bev. Even to get into the bottle you need to slice open the cap with a knife rather than the standard screw-cap – clearly Waitrose are aiming even their cheap booze at people sober enough to find and use a blade, unlike the idiot-proof caps from the lesser supermarkets.

Yet the (relatively) high-class appearance is negated by the first sip of what’s inside. With watery undertones, you can’t rely on it for taste, and at 12 per cent, it’s averagely strong compared to the rest.

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Co-op – Own Brand

Hitting the number one spot on my list of wines, with the second highest percentage of alcohol (12.5), this own brand rosé does cost the second highest of all at £4.25,  but the taste and after-effects are certainly worth it. With a strong fruity taste reminiscent of every complementary glass given at supposedly classy careers events, you avoid the watery disappointment of the lesser brands, while still gaining the vaguely attractive label of the higher brands.

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After much deliberation (multiple glasses), the ultimate decision was clear. There’s no question – look no further for the optimum cheap booze up than Co-Op’s own brand.

Not a bad research task

Not a bad research task

It may not sound as appealing as the more exotic names, but it looks good enough to convince those around you you’ve more class than the average student scraping together vestiges of rum and coke from the previous night. You’re welcome – this fruity vintage is the saviour of your family rep this Christmas.