Best Wine and Champagne for Summer: Our Favourite Budget Buys

Delicious purse-friendly drops that won't break the bank
Orange Wine Festival Orange Sitchu
Orange Wine Festival

There’s an art form to choosing the perfect bottle, and even more so when you’re doing it on a budget. But when it comes to wine, you really don’t have to spend a fortune. There are plenty of affordable options out there that taste just as good – sometimes even better – as the expensive stuff.

So, to help whittle down the best of the bunch, we’ve enlisted the help of the wine gurus at Vinomofo and Jimmy Brings, to reveal their favourite purse-friendly drops, along with some handy tips on choosing the perfect bottle for summer – and beyond. From crisp, refreshing Rielsing to spicy Shiraz, they’ve sniffed out the tastiest sips of the season, guaranteed to add an extra-special finishing touch to your culinary spread

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Your essential guide to budget wines by Vinomofo

Eddie Schweitzer, a.k.a. ‘Eddie the Wine Guy’, Head of Merchandising at Vinomofo gives his insider tips on what to look out for when picking a budget bottle of wine. 

Don’t be afraid to ask!

Chat to your friendly wine dealer in person, via phone or website (not to mention your friendly sommelier). Let them know how much you’d like to spend, what you’re looking for and wines you’ve liked in the past. They’re sure to find you some of the most interesting, fantastic wines that really overdeliver.

Blends can be world-beaters

Blends have got a bad rap in Australia for some reason but, in the budget sphere they can offer serious value. If you like Shiraz, try a GSM and if you’ve had heaps of Pinot, what about a Pinot/Gamay? These wines can combine the best qualities of each variety and are often sharply priced.

Look for up-and-coming producers

New producers are full of passion, ambition and tasty wines. Get in on the ground floor before the lesser-known wineries get all the fame, and before the prices rise.

Lesser known regions can punch above their weight

If you find a wine from a relatively unknown region, there are two likely reasons the retailer or restaurant stocks them. Either they’re a handpicked gem from somebody who is passionate about the style (i.e. one that you can’t find in other regions, such as Jacquère from Savoie), or it’s really amazing value. These wines are unlikely to walk off the shelves, so they have to be good to earn their place.

Weird and wonderful grape varieties

Seemingly unknown varieties are another bargain hunter’s heaven. Ask what they are most similar to, see if it matches your flavour profile, then dive in. If you love Shiraz give Primitivo a go, try Vermentino instead of Pinot Grigio. There is so much variety in the wine world, why not see what’s out there?

Meet the maker and visit the cellar door

Holiday time is a great opportunity to hit the road and support local wineries. You’ll get to taste before you buy, which is great, pat the winery dog, and often find a sneaky mixed 6-pack or dozen cleanskin deal.

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(From Left to Right) Giusti Rosalia Prosecco DOC NV, Casaponte Terre Siciliane Pinot Grigio 2019, Bress Unplucked Shiraz 2019, La Val Albarino 2018 and Mosé Rosé 2019

Best budget wines from Vinomofo

Beaujolais Lineup, $185 (6-Pack)

  • If you haven’t yet tried the world of modern Beaujolais, now’s the time to jump in. It’s the light-bodied red you’ve been looking for. There’s an amazing quality to price here too. A go-to picnic red, it can take a light chill and has enough complexity and depth to suit a variety of food options. Pinot drinkers meet your new obsession. 

Giusti Rosalia Prosecco DOC NV, $13.50 per bottle

  • This DOC Prosecco from the north of Italy will have you drinking outdoors all summer. It’s fresh, fun and perfect for weekends of frivolity. Drink it confidently or mix it up with our good friend Aperol for extra sparkle. 

Casaponte Terre Siciliane Pinot Grigio 2019, $9 per bottle

  • Know where else is hot in summer besides Australia? Sicily. These southern Italians know how to do food and wine impeccably well too. This pinot grigio is bursting with freshly cut apple, zingy lemon. The ultimate summer refreshment. 

Bress Unplucked Shiraz 2019, $12.50 per bottle

  • For some of us, shiraz is so damn good that we love to drink it all year round. And we can’t blame you. This summery shiraz has supercharged freshness and a high smashability-factor – made for simple enjoyment and pizza. 

La Val Albarino 2018, $18.50 per bottle

  • Albarino is a variety I often reach for when I want my friends to try something new. From north-west Spain, this zesty and slightly stone-fruited gem loves seafood, BBQs and a social gathering. Move over savvy b, it’s time for Albarino to take the spotlight. 

Mosé Rosé 2019, $21.50 per bottle

  • What do you get when you combine 3 rising stars of Victorian wine, a couple tonne of grapes and a good cause? This. Bursting with strawberry and layered with complexity, this is a super dry rosé with pizazz. A versatile drop, not only will it pair beautifully with a variety of foods but it will also keep both wine geeks and Insta-folk happy. Yep, it’s a winner.  

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Jimmy Brings' Guide to Summer Wines

We got the lowdown from the drinks guru himself Jimmy at Jimmy Brings, on what to look out for when choosing a budget blend.

It's all in the Colour

If you're looking for a grown-up rosé that's a bit dryer on the palate, look for a pale pink hue instead of a darker pink. The darker the rosé, the sweeter it is!

The Best White Wine

In the mood for something light and summery? Sauvignon Blanc is the way to go. It's fruity, easy to drink and usually a favourite across the board.

Light Reds

Strictly into red wines but don't want a heavy Shiraz? Jimmy recommends a Pinot Noir. It's a classy drop that's one of the lightest reds you can drink. 

Jimmy Brings' Selection

Cotes Des Roses Rosé, $31.99 per bottle

  • Unquestionably exquisite, this popular dry rosé encapsulates the taste of the French countryside in every sip.

Winston Surfshirt White Crumble, Sauv Blanc, $24.99 per bottle

  • Developed in collaboration with Sydney funk band Winston Surfshirt, this summery blend boasts fruity notes and a smooth as honey taste. 

On the Grapevine Pinot Noir, $24.99 per bottle

  • Tasting like "a sweet hug from the 1950s", this humble drop is as palatable as they come (with a hint of acidity).

South Island Pinot Noir, $29.99 per bottle

  • The perfect vino to pair with a meaty meal, South Island's Pinot Noir is all about the hints of strawberry and cherry.

See No Evil Organic Rose, $24.99 per bottle

  • Organic and vegan, this sustainable libation marries flowers, spice and fruit to deliver a complex drop.

The Small Rooster Rose, $22.99 per bottle

  • This lively rosé is a perfect mix of sweetness, acidity and crispness. 

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