#WineWednesday: Our Editors' Favorite Bottles Under $25

Budget-friendly wine is definitely something to celebrate.

Related To:

I'm not someone who needs a reason to drink wine, but the holidays and #WineWednesdays are always good excuses. (Speaking of the holidays, this sums up how I feel about it already being October.)

Beyond that, though, it's always helpful to have a go-to bottle or varietal on hand for an impromtu gathering, a last-minute gift or a mid-week pick-me-up. So, whether you're looking to try something new or need a budget-friendly suggestion, our editors' picks won't set you back more than $25.

Varietal Preferences:

This year marks the debut of the 3-acre pinot noir vineyard.

Vineyards at Carmel Valley Ranch

This year marks the debut of the 3-acre pinot noir vineyard.

Photo by: Image courtesy of Carmel Valley Ranch

Image courtesy of Carmel Valley Ranch

"A $25 bottle would be a serious splurge for me! Heck, I only consider spending more than 12 bucks if it’s a special occasion. But I like a good glass of wine. Rather than focusing on favorite brands, I’ve narrowed down the varietals that I personally like best, and I’ll explore different brands within those. For example, I love Tempranillo for red and Pinot Gris for white. Because those are specific and less common than, say, Chardonnay, there are usually only a few options in the $10-12 range, and I like to mix it up and try new things within those parameters. Oh, and I also like to choose based on the creativity of the label (#sorrynotsorry) and if the grapes were grown sustainably or biodynamically." — Kelly Smith-Trimble, Director of Editorial

"...It’s like a real math equation/series of questions: What Grape? + Is the Bottle Cool? + Is the Name Cool? I cook a lot, so I’m usually picking a wine to go along with what I’m cooking. I actually (accidentally) signed up for one of those wine subscription services over the summer and it was pretty cool. They’re called Naked Wines, and their thing is that they support independent wine makers. I got a voucher, so my first case (Yes, I ordered a case of wine, and let me tell you it was a glorious event.) was valued at $250 and I got it for $100. From there, you basically “load up” your balance each month to buy cases of wine, and you get a certain discount." — Jessica Yonker, Newsletter Editor

"I’m not good at remembering names of wine, so I go for places. For whites, sauvignon blanc from Marlborough New Zealand, most are around $10. When it comes to reds, a spurge (around $20-$25) is any Valpolicella from North Italy — I drank it on a trip to Venice, so it brings back good memories. Malbecs from Chili and Argentina are tasty and affordable." — Jackie McGilvray, Editor


"When I’m standing in the wine aisle and don’t want to use a drop of brain power trying to make a decision, I either grab a bottle of Rex Goliath cabernet or Avalon cabernet. Cheap, drinkable, cool label: check, check, check. If I’m feeling a little more splurgy (like Kelly, any bottle that costs double digits is a treat!), I really like The Dreaming Tree cabernet. Because wine by Dave Matthews? Yes." — Mallory Ziglar, Community Manager

"My husband and I love boxed wine because we can grab two and we’re solid for a while. Plus, they’re great for last-minute get-togethers. Our go-to in the warmer months is Bota Box Shiraz ($20) and RedVolution ($20) in the cooler months. I like making on-the-fly sangria with La Croix and assorted berries, like blueberries and raspberries. It’s nice and light for a post-work, pre-dinner destresser." — Kayla Kitts, Managing Editor

"I like the Apothic Red because it provides the red taste I’m looking for without having to choose grapes, and it gives me a cool-looking bottle." — Jordan Lawson, Online Editor

"My husband and I stocked our wedding bar with Layer Cake malbec on a recommendation from the liquor store owner, and now it’s our go-to bottle of red wine. Some red wines are too intense for me, but he prefers it to white, and this one is a good compromise for us — not too sweet, not too dry and not at all white and all for about $15 a bottle." — Beth Rucker, Managing Editor

"Josh Cellars cabernet is by far my favorite wine. It tastes like an expensive bottle, but it costs only $15. It’s my go-to when I host larger parties because it’s within my budget but is still on par with a more formal get-together. Plus, the founding father was a volunteer firefighter, so they’re donating a dollar per bottle sold to the National Volunteer Fire Council through the month of October. It’s a win-win!" — Farima Alavi, Assistant Editor


"...If I’m really trying to stick to a budget, it's Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw Chardonnay all the way." — Bridget Mallon, HGTV Magazine Online Editor

"If you like labels (as do I) and are into white wines, you should check out Ecco Domani’s pino grigio, which is my go-to white. It’s currently featuring a Zac Posen-designed label with silver, gold and black polka dots. Classy with a C, not a K, and matches your most expensive tablescape for a mere $12." — Beth Rucker

"I'm no wine expert, but Chardonnay is just one of those varietals that is either really good or not at all good. I actually didn't even think I liked it until I tried Bogle's version. It's usually around $12. I'm also a huge fan of the a lesser-known white: vino verde (it refers to "green" or young wine.) It's tart, refreshing and had just a few bubbles. Since they don't age as long as typical wines, they tend to be cheaper. My favorite variety, Casal Garcia, is usually around $8." — Liz Gray, Managing Editor

"[I was] at an interior design firm opening party a couple of weeks ago, and they were serving this delicious, expensive-tasting chardonnay by Clos du Bois. I went to the grocery store afterwards to buy some, thinking I’d probably have to shell out close to $30, and it was only $9! It’ll probably be a go-to for me from now on." — Chelsea Faulkner, Assistant Editor


"I still can’t get enough rosé, even though it’s technically fall. My favorite as of late is Mulderbosch’s Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé, which is usually 9-11 bucks. It’s a super drinkable wine, on the drier side and refreshing. I’m also a sucker for the sleek, stylish label. (I’m on team cool bottles/labels, too)." — Bridget Mallon

"I’m with ya on that rosé train, Bridget. I’ll drink it through winter! My favorite, go-to rosé right now is one from Trader Joe's called Carayon la Rose. It's fruit-forward with delicate minerality. At $5.99, it's not only cheap, but the closest thing to Miraval (my all-time favorite rosé, which is quite a splurge at $26)." — Molly Miller, Apple News Editor

"My go-to wine throughout college was (and, let's be honest, still is) Sutter Home's pink moscato! It's inexpensive, slightly sweet and sometimes comes with a cork that cheekily reads, 'Cheers!' Definitely Insta-worthy." — Katie Friedman, Editorial Intern


"I love mimosas and fancy Sunday brunch. But if I’m throwing a brunch, that gets expensive. I have no shame in admitting I stock up on $10 Bruts at Trader Joe’s. If you’re mixing with orange juice you don’t want to waste a premium bottle anyway." — Deanne Revel, Managing Editor

"[My pick] is almost never the same bottle unless its Champagne, and then I get Korbel or a Barefoot Wine." — Jessica Yonker

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