VALUE FOR MONEY
With 400 wine importers in Singapore and only 400,000 wine drinkers (some estimate even less due to the exodus of foreigners), it's no surprise that the primary tactic employed by many is "savings", "discount" and "value for money".
The other tactic is to scream award medals such that practically every bottle on the screen is award winning, which makes you wonder who is giving out all those awards and does everybody get one just for participating?
I DRANK 3,000 BOTTLES TO CHOOSE THE BEST FOR YOU
We also wonder how 2 or 3 people claim they can personally partake of the 700-1,000 bottles of wine on their website. And that's the ones they sell. Does that mean they were so lucky that every bottle they drunk, was also that good? Otherwise, that means they tasted a couple of thousand more and did the honest work of sifting the bad from the good which means they tasted 8 bottles/day on average.
So, let's get real and not believe all the discounts, awards and marketing hype. Why does one bottle of fermented grape juice cost $103, and another just $18? Why and when should you be willing to pay more?
THE VERY BEST GRAPES GROW IN FEW PLACES
While the very best grapes only grow best in very few places, your $18 bottle can be grown anywhere. Very few places means the land is expensive and the yields are not as big, making the cost of a bottle of grape juice range from $2.50 to $25.00 (more for organic and even more for biodynamic vineyards), not including the other costs.
Proper winemakers often use only the ''free-run juice,'' i.e., minimal pressure is applied to the grape so that only the juice flows out and will have less solids. If you've been drinking only $18 wines in Singapore, you would have tasted the coarseness of the wine but may not know it if you've never had a better wine. You can also be certain that the wine you're drinking has not been in any temperature controlled condition to make sure it is still good.
AGING IN OAK BARRELS INSTEAD OF STEEL TANKS
Your cheap wine is probably aged only in steel tanks which last longer and are easier for the winemaker. Aging in oak, on the other hand, is what gives complexity to a wine. Since they are porous, they allow the wine to slowly breathe, smoothing, softening or “rounding out” the wine naturally (not with additives as they do in cheap wine). There will also be some evaporation which concentrates the flavours or mouth feel.
More importantly, a creamy texture from Malolactic, secondary fermentation, and distinct aromas like caramel, cinnamon, coconut, marshmallow, nutmeg, smoke & toasted bread can only be achieved in an oak barrel.
DIRTY SECRET OF CHEAP WINE
I know you won't believe me so you can google it yourself on how the dirty world of cheap wine have many players who "inject" flavours into their wine (like soaking them in oak chips, adding grape juice concentrate, powdered tannins, etc) so they too can claim they are not a flat, one note blah wine.
If you get a headache from your wine, and you've only drunk a glass or two, then you are almost certain that it has been caused by one of the many additives cheap wine has to make them palatable.
So when should you pay good money for wine?
There is so much information out there now, read about the winemakers and the wineries. Forget the $18 bottle (remember $9 goes to the government, so how much is that bottle, yes they are giving it away because storage costs more?!) and pay just another $20 to get a proper, decent bottle of wine. Save some real money (medical bills and headaches). Your body and your mind will thank you for it.