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Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
Wine tour operator, wine writer and lapsed physiotherapist. "Nature abhors a vacuum. I personally hate dusting."


Wednesday, September 30, 2015


As a hobby wine writer on a modest income I do like to open a different bottle of wine each night and share it with my charming spouse during dinner and over the course of an evening. But, aside from trade samples, I am obliged to buy my own wines. And these generally fall under the $25 dollar mark. I’d dearly love to say that I have a huge cellar stocked with many hand-picked bottles from the very best vintages and producers, but the sad fact is no, I don’t. 

Thus I’m always on the lookout for a bargain and sometimes stumble upon the odd gem – largely by trial and error.  As a rule of thumb, it’s extremely rare to get anything drinkable under $10. And there are some truly awful imported supermarket cheapies in the $8.99 and below range.

Generally you do get what you pay for, so don’t expect concentration of flavour, longevity or complexity in a sub $10 wine. Wines in the $25 plus range are generally produced with a lot more TLC, including crop-thinning and vineyard selection.

Anyway, here’s a selection of very good value wines that I managed to bring in under the $16 price point, on a recent hunting and gathering expedition into deepest Ponsonby.

Disclaimer: I bought the wines on special at the time of writing, from Glengarry in late September, so current prices may vary depending on where you buy these wines.

Kumeu Village Pinot Gris 2013 $NZ 14.99
Yeasty lime aromas, leading on to a rich and complex medium palate of nougat, lime juice quince and grapefruit, with a mineral dry finish. Yum.  Reflects a hot dry vintage in west Auckland. Fantastic value.  A brilliant pre-dinner wine. And during. And after.
Available from Glengarry or direct from the winery

Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Pinot Gris 2014 $NZ 14.99
A clean, crisp and mineral style of pinot gris. Smells like lime juice and cut grass. Medium palate of prince melon, lime juice, Nashi pear and a tangy dry, crisp finish. Good match with seafood.
Available from Glengarry

Coopers Creek Fat Cat East Coast Chardonnay 2014 $14.99
Smells like rock melon and citrus with a whiff of funky yeast.  A nice soft and light easy-drinking style with flavours of melon, lemon squash and nougat and a dry finish. Nice chilled as a picnic wine or a friendly BBQ white wine option for the savvie averse.
Available from Glengarry, or direct from the winery

Kate Radburnd Vine Velvet Martinborough Pinot Noir 2013  $NZ 15.99
Earthy and briny, savoury aromas.  This is a great value intense and complex Martinborough pinot.  Flavours of ripe black cherry, tamarillo, and earthy spice with a dry finish.
Available from Glengarry, Pask winery  and Boozee Liquor Online (!)
Yalumba Y Series South Australia Shiraz/Viognier 2013 $NZ 10.99
Bang for buck. Typical South Aussie dark fruit number. Blackberry and spice on the nose and again on the palate. Also some savoury baked meat flavours, plus black cherry, with medium firm tannins and a dry finish. Great with BBQ steak and snarlers.
Available from Glengarry.

Rosemount Estate Diamond  South Australia Shiraz 2011 $NZ 14.99
Yum. Big fat and sweet like a juicy ripe blackberry in the summer heat.  Again, the Aussies nail it with a value for money stunning red. Num num num. Boysenberry, blackberry, black cherry, hint of spice and a voluptuous silky palate with a soft mouthfeel.

Available from Glengarry and Countdown online.

Phil Parker runs wine tours in Auckland region.
Phil's e-book NZ Wine Regions - A Visitor's Guide is available on Amazon kindle.


  1. Shiraz/Viognier ? I thought Viognier was a white?

    1. Yes - well spotted. A small amount of Viognier grapes are fermented with the Shiraz - as is done in France in the Rhone Valley.