Seven ways to make cheap wine taste amazing.

It’s the end of the month (read: DESPERATE for pay day).

It’s also the weekend.

You can understand my predicament (if you can’t, then you’re likely an extremely irritating budgeting extrodinaire, or you don’t like weekends, which also makes you irritating.)

There is only one answer to the problem that is “no money + weekend”. And that is… Cheap wine.

For those of you who just scoffed, I see through you. You’re expensive wine snobbery is only temporary. Get tipsy enough, or poor enough, and you’ll be drinking cleanskins with the rest of us…

PARTICULARLY once you read our 7 hacks to making cheap wine taste good… (like, arrogant-sommelier-accent, superior-expression, almost-beret-wearing-worthy good.)

Have your $7.50 ready. We’re about to get fancy.

Location, location, location

No, not real estate (c’mon, I can’t even afford good wine, I’m not even close to buying a house), but wine.

Excellent wine regions – or wine “country”, as I believe it’s referred to by those in the know (if not, then it definitely should become a thing, it sounds appropriately sophisticated) – doesn’t have to attract a heart-stopping price tag.

For example, Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand, as well as Riesling and Shiraz from Australia, are all delicious and within the last-weekend-of-the-month price range.

Similarly (if you’re planning an extra classy Saturday night) you can try the Vinho Verde from Portugal ($8.55 at Dan Murphy’s), Malbec from Argentina ($9.49) or a Pinot Noir from Chile (also $9.49).

If you opt for one of these, make sure you tell everyone at the party that your wine is actually from South America, or Southern Europe, and this boast admission is surely to make the wine taste even better.


Keep it cold

If it’s white, chill it thoroughly. – Sam, 26.

Truer words have never been spoken, Sam. There are not many things that taste worse than cheap white wine, except for warm cheap white wine. (It tastes like it could fuel a Boeing 747.)

Keep it cold. Preferably SO cold that it numbs your tastebuds upon entering your mouth, rendering you oblivious to the taste of its cheapness.

You can also do this with cheap red wine, to supposedly make it more palatable. But I’m yet to reach that level – can’t you see I have standards!?

Let it breathe

This is good for two reasons.

Firstly, by telling people you’re “just letting it breathe”, you can maintain your know-everything-there-is-to-know-about-wine persona (it’s working, really).

Secondly, it will also help your $7 bottle of red taste better.

You could invest in aerator to do this (but it is the end of the month, remember?) or you can opt for wide-rimmed wine glasses, which will allow for sufficient breathing space. I recommend the latter:

Nice big glasses are a must – Claire, 22.


Take out the nasties

If you’re a well-schooled drinker of cheap wine, you will already know of these positively magical, make-cheap-wine-bearable, tools.


The Wine Wand uses nano-pore resin technology (sounds expensive, but don’t let that turn you off) to attract the histamines and sulfite preservatives in your wine. You simply swirl the wand through the wine in your glass (a slight upward tilt of the nose, plus a sommelier-worthy expression is necessary for this to work) and it will absorb all the nasties from your poison-of-choice. This not only improves the taste, but also reduces your chances of a killer hangover the following morning.

Preservative-Free Wine Drops do the same thing. You can drop these wallet-saving and headache-preventing droplets into your disgustingly cheap wine to help it go down smoothly (and self-righteously, because you’re so healthy, you’re drinking preservative-free wine, right?).

Get mixing

I’m sorry people, but the time has come to give up your I’m-actually-a-sommelier façade. Expensive wine drinkers are about to see through it, drastically.

(But remember, any hit to your reputation will be compensated for once you reach top-form with a bottle of less-than-$10-wine. You’ll be the (cheapest) life of the party.)


Mixing wine can happen in several ways, you can do it with orange juice, mineral water or you can be extra fancy and make yourself some sangria or mulled wine (might have to wait for the first weekend of the month for these last options).

When I was at uni, I’d mix some of that 40c Coles flavoured mineral water into my goon, and it was actually delicious and enough to mask the awful taste of it. – Chloe, 31.

If I don’t want to get too drunk, I see no problem mixing OJ into cheap white. My parents drink goon and OJ at home and I see no shame in that. – Jacqueline, 27.

Get blending?

There is another way to mix wine, and it is a revelation. 

There’s a thing called hyperdecanting which helps improve the taste of cheap red whine. You just have to blitz your drop in the blender for 30-seconds and it’s meant to age the wine by five years.

All you have to do is wait for the froth to subside and you have a vintage red in your hand and a reason for that smug expression.

Finally, prepare yourself

This preparation can happen in one of two ways.

You can make a concerted effort to NEVER taint your taste buds with expensive wine, ever.

Just never drink expensive wine. Then you don’t know what you’re missing. Then cheap wine is the only wine you know and it seems pretty good compared to, say, water. – Jess, 25.

Eliminating the comparison factor… I like it, Jess, I like it.

If that horse is already bolted, then just make the same concerted effort in getting yourself appropriately sloshed. That way, cheap wine taste like expensive wine, and you’ll never be the wiser.

Being drunk. Being very drunk makes cheap wine taste great. – Amy, 29.

Start cheap, stay cheap. – Georgie, 26.

Philistinism, you say? More like… absolute. fucking. genius.

Keep it classy ladies: