You would have to be living under a rock if you haven’t noticed that you’ve been paying more for everything these days. With inflation hitting a 41-year high, there is no way to avoid the 9.1% increase in consumer prices. Groceries, transportation, and rent are really squeezing Americans’ wallets and putting our country at risk for another major financial crisis. Wine is no exception to this price increase.

Thinking outside the box

Sarah had the opportunity to talk with Samantha Sheehan, owner/winemaker of Poe and Ultraviolet Wine, while she was in town. With prices on the rise for everything, we wanted to see how this directly affected Sheehan’s wine pricing and how she manages to keep wine costs consistent. 

“Our costs have been steadily going up for at least the last five years,” Sheehan said. She added that this is a direct result of labor going up in the vineyards, which she is happy to pay. more in labor. “It costs $500 more per ton to farm organically, and we get about 50 twelve-bottle cases per ton, which is almost one dollar more per bottle of wine.” 

Having an organic wine isn’t the only factor affecting the cost of production. Sheehan is battling the rising costs of shipping. It came as a bit of a surprise to us, but the cost of glass has not increased, it’s the soaring costs of shipping due to gas prices. Some wineries have resorted to putting their orders in a year and a half in advance just to save on glass and shipping prices. Who knows when the freight costs will normalize, so winemakers like Sheehan must think outside the box. 

Unlike many other winemakers, Sheehan has managed to never increase the cost of her Ultraviolet Wines. “I’ve always tried to get creative with where we can cut costs that don’t affect quality,” she said, noting she’s using a different fermenting vessel (bottle vs. tank) to help reduce the cost. “It’s really all about the quality of wine that goes in it.” 

Sheehan also uses a lighter bottle for her Ultraviolet Cabernet. Not only is the glass less expensive, but the lower weight saves quite a bit on shipping while reducing their carbon footprint. We wish more brands focused on the quality of the wines over the packaging. 

However, after our discussion with Sheehan, we realized that consumers’ purchases are highly influenced by packaging. Design, weight, and materials used to package a product are what drive a person to make a purchase. During times like these when the cost of goods is at an all-time high, maybe consumers will shift their mindset on expensive packaging in exchange for a better, less expensive product overall.

Less can be more

As wine retailers, many of us carry the huge responsibility to keep our products affordable for our guests. That means that as wine prices increase, retailers have to be the final decision maker before it reaches the buyer. Does this wine warrant the price? The best part about shopping at an independent wine shop is finding a $15 bottle of wine and it ends up being the best $15 bottle of wine you’ve ever had!
Here’s our list of “ballin’ on a budget” wines under $25 to drink this summer.


Sparkling 

Poe Wines Ultraviolet Sparkling Rosé NV, California: You don’t need to be celebrating to drink a bottle of sparkling wine. As a matter of fact, just getting through the workday these days feels like a reason to celebrate. Winemaker, Samantha Sheehan knocked it out of the park with this sparkling rosé that has notes of white flowers, rose petals, juicy ripe strawberry and raspberry, and grapefruit zest. Average retail price: $23.

2021 Avinyo Petillant Blanc, Catalonia, Spain: Calling all beach bums. This is the wine for you. It’s dry, aromatic, floral, and tropical. Notes of lemon peel and salinity. The best part: it’s effervescent and low in alcohol! Enjoy on a warm summer day while hanging at the pool or doing yard work. Average retail price: $18.

White

Ercole Rosso

2021 Terres Blonde Chardonnay, Vin de France, France; Sorry, not sorry. You will change your mind about chardonnay once you try this one. Buttery, nope. Oaky, far from it. Creamy, never. Vanilla apple pie, we wish, but no. When you sip Terres Blonde Chardonnay, you immediately taste notes of orange, honeydew, coconut, a touch of vanilla, squeezed lime, and vibrant acidity. Imported by Martine’s Wine. Average retail price: $15.

Rosé

2021 Château Guilhem Pot de Vin Rosé, Languedoc, France: Each year when this rosé is released, it seems to get better and better. Barely pink in color, it’s just the right amount of fruit, texture, and acidity. All the flavors you want in a dry rosé are present in Pot de Vin: bursting notes of strawberry, watermelon, and tangerine. Average retail price: $16.

Red

Ercole Rosso, Bianco, Rosato, Moscato d’Asti, Pet Nat, Piedmont, Italy: Everyone’s favorite one-liter bottle. Always under $20 and always reliable. These wines were made to be food-friendly, people-pleasing, and great for large gatherings. Can be found at most retailers and markets in Atlanta. Imported by The Piedmont Guy. Average retail price: $16.

2020 Poe Ultraviolet Cabernet, Napa Valley, California: If you’re looking for a cabernet you can chew, this is not the one. Sheehan is using restraint in its greatest form. This is the cabernet you bring to a dinner party when they say they are preparing Orzo Salad with feta and Spiedini di Agnello. Average retail price: $17.

Mary Taylor Wines

2019 Skinner Grenache, El Dorado, California: The perfect summer chillable red. To say we’re obsessed is an understatement. The wine is extremely aromatic and silky on the palate. Notes of raspberry, cranberry and pomegranate. Granite and a hint of herbal qualities. It’s juicy and easy drinking. Average retail price: $19.

Mary Taylor Wines: Atlanta owes many thanks to Carson Demmond, owner of Rive Gauche Distribution Company, for bringing Mary Taylor Wines to the Atlanta wine scene. Every single wine that Mary Taylor produces under her label are winners. Keep an eye out for the Anjou Red, Costières de Nimes, and the Douro Red Blend. Average retail price: $17.

Sarah Pierre

Sarah Pierre owns 3 Parks Wine Shop in Atlanta and is a regular contributor to Atlanta Intown.

Katie Rice

Katie Rice owns VinoTeca, a wine shop in Atlanta and is a regular contributor to Atlanta Intown.