When it comes to wine, I’m probably drinking cheap swill

Whether you buy your wine at the gas station, the grocery store, or an upscale booze emporium, you know that–other than those disgusting boxes with faucets on them–most wine comes in the a 750 ml (standard) bottle and a 1.5 L magnum bottle.

After the harvest. Wikipedia artwork.

Other than an occasional glass of scuppernong wine, I drink nothing but red wines: Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Shiraz, and Cabernet Savauginon. I don’t drink Merlot because it tastes like the original Vick’s Formula 44 from my childhood, nor do I drink Port because it just tastes gosh awful.

But, I digress. I buy wine in the 1.5 L size because the standard 750 ml bottles are (according to me) a rip off and environmentally irresponsible. That is, two of them usually cost more than one 1.5 L bottle. So, I’m paying for extra glass. What a waste.

What tells me I’m drinking swill is the fact that wine clubs and other forms of advertising are telling me what a good deal it is for me to buy (from them) a 750 ml bottle of whatever for, say, $15 to $25 dollars. Excuse me. I don’t even pay that much for a 1.5 L bottle.

The 1.5 L bottles of red wine that I normally buy sell from about $8 to $12 dollars. So, telling me that half as much wine at twice the cost is not going to get my attention. I’m sure those with refined tastes can probably list all the aromas and influences in every glass of wine they drink while being able to identify whether it’s Shiraz or Zinfandel with their eyes closed.

I’m grateful that my tastes are less-well defined because, while I appreciate the complex makeups of various wines, I don’t need them any more than I need coffee from Starbucks where one cup costs more than I spend in a week when making coffee at home. (My favorite restaurant coffee is what I get at Waffle House, so that probably tells you all you need to know about how much I’m willing to pay for something to drink.)

I remember the “old days” when cigarettes were starting to get expensive and people were figuring out just how much a person spent on tobacco every year if they smoked one, two, or three packs a day. I feel that way about wine and coffee. I want it to taste good, but I seriously don’t see the point of paying more per year than my house is worth just so I can brag about and show off my favorite premium brands.

However, what I would like wineries and wine distributors to do is stop selling those puny 750 ml bottles as standard. They are a waste of money when you consider how much packaging is in them compared to the larger bottles. This argument ought to appeal to those who drink swill and to those who buy wine at $100 per bottle.

Malcolm