Looking for an affordable bottle of red wine that doesn’t sacrifice quality? With so many options on store shelves, it can be tricky to know which bottles are worth your hard-earned cash. Luckily, there are plenty of complex, delicious red wines available for under $20.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Some great cheap red wines include Apothic Red, La Vieille Ferme Côtes du Ventoux, Menage a Trois Red Blend, Ruta 22 Malbec, and Castle Rock Pinot Noir.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore some of the best inexpensive red wines available today. We’ll cover value-priced Pinot Noirs, Malbecs, Cabernet Sauvignons, red blends, and more. We’ll share tasting notes, food pairings, and recommendations from wine experts.

Read on to become a savvy shopper of cheap red wines!

What Makes a Red Wine ‘Cheap’?

When it comes to red wine, the term “cheap” refers to wines that are priced under $20. These wines are often considered affordable options for those who are looking for a budget-friendly choice. However, just because a red wine is inexpensive doesn’t mean it lacks quality or flavor.

In fact, many affordable red wines can offer excellent taste and value for the price.

Priced under $20

One of the key factors that make a red wine “cheap” is its price tag. Wines priced under $20 are often more accessible and affordable for the average consumer. These wines are a great option for everyday enjoyment or casual gatherings without breaking the bank.

Despite their lower price point, many red wines under $20 can still offer a satisfying and enjoyable drinking experience.

Mass production and blending

To keep costs down, many cheap red wines are produced on a larger scale. Mass production allows wineries to take advantage of economies of scale, reducing production costs and ultimately the price of the wine.

Additionally, some affordable red wines are created through blending different grape varieties. This blending process can help enhance the overall flavor profile while keeping costs lower compared to single varietal wines.

Minimizing costs

Wineries producing cheap red wines often take steps to minimize costs throughout the production process. This includes selecting grapes from vineyards that offer good quality at a lower price point, using less expensive oak barrels for aging, and utilizing cost-effective packaging options.

These strategies help wineries to maintain affordability without compromising too much on taste and quality.

It’s worth noting that the term “cheap” doesn’t necessarily imply that the wine is of lesser quality. Many winemakers are dedicated to creating affordable options that still deliver on taste and value.

So, next time you’re in search of a red wine that won’t break the bank, don’t be hesitant to explore the world of cheap red wines under $20. You might just discover some hidden gems that will surprise and delight your palate.

Tips for Buying Cheap Bottles

Shop sales and closeouts

One of the best ways to find cheap red wines under $20 is to keep an eye out for sales and closeouts. Many wine retailers offer discounts on certain bottles or have clearance sections where you can find great deals. Don’t be afraid to ask the staff for recommendations on budget-friendly options.

Buy wine alternatives

If you’re looking for an affordable red wine experience, consider exploring wine alternatives. These are non-traditional wines made from fruits other than grapes, such as cherries, raspberries, or blackberries.

They can be a fun and inexpensive way to enjoy a different flavor profile without breaking the bank.

Consider boxed and canned wines

Boxed and canned wines have come a long way in recent years and can offer excellent value for money. Don’t let the packaging fool you; these wines can be just as tasty as their bottled counterparts. Plus, they often come in larger quantities, making them more cost-effective in the long run.

Buy in bulk

Another strategy for finding cheap red wines is to buy in bulk. Many retailers offer discounts when you purchase multiple bottles at once. This can be a great option if you have a few favorite wines or if you’re planning to host a gathering.

Just make sure to consider storage space and your consumption rate before stocking up.

Remember, buying cheap wines doesn’t mean compromising on quality. With a little bit of research and exploration, you can find excellent red wines under $20 that will please your palate without breaking the bank.

Best Cheap Red Wines

When it comes to finding a good red wine that won’t break the bank, there are plenty of options available. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or simply looking to unwind after a long day, these affordable red wines under $20 are sure to impress.

Apothic Red

Apothic Red is a popular choice among wine enthusiasts on a budget. This California blend is a bold and flavorful combination of Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. With its smooth finish and hints of dark fruit and vanilla, it’s no wonder that Apothic Red has become a go-to wine for many.

You can find it at most local wine stores or purchase it online.

Menage a Trois Red Blend

For those who enjoy a slightly sweeter red wine, the Menage a Trois Red Blend is an excellent choice. This California blend features the flavors of Zinfandel, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, creating a luscious and fruity profile.

It pairs well with a variety of dishes, making it a versatile option for any occasion. You can easily find Menage a Trois Red Blend at your local grocery store or wine shop.

La Vieille Ferme Côtes du Ventoux

If you’re looking for an affordable red wine with a French flair, look no further than La Vieille Ferme Côtes du Ventoux. This Rhône Valley blend offers an exceptional value for its price. With its rich flavors of dark fruit, spices, and herbs, it’s a great choice to pair with grilled meats or hearty stews.

You can find La Vieille Ferme Côtes du Ventoux at specialty wine stores or online.

Ruta 22 Malbec

Malbec lovers will delight in the affordable and delicious Ruta 22 Malbec. Hailing from Argentina, this red wine features bold flavors of blackberry, plum, and chocolate. It has a smooth and velvety texture, making it a perfect choice for sipping on its own or pairing with grilled meats.

You can find Ruta 22 Malbec at most wine retailers or order it online.

Castle Rock Pinot Noir

For those who prefer a lighter red wine, the Castle Rock Pinot Noir is a fantastic option. This California Pinot Noir has delicate flavors of cherry, raspberry, and spice, with a silky texture that is sure to please the palate.

It pairs beautifully with a variety of dishes, from roasted chicken to salmon. You can find Castle Rock Pinot Noir at many local wine stores or purchase it online.

Next time you’re in the mood for a glass of red wine, don’t let budget constraints hold you back. These affordable options are not only delicious but also offer exceptional value for their price. So go ahead, uncork a bottle of one of these best cheap red wines and enjoy!

Pairing Food with Cheap Red Wines

When it comes to pairing food with cheap red wines, there are several options that can enhance your dining experience without breaking the bank. Here are some delicious food pairings to consider:

Beef, lamb and meaty dishes

Red wines with bold flavors and strong tannins are a great match for beef, lamb, and other meaty dishes. Look for cheap red wines with medium to full body, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec. These wines provide a rich and robust flavor that complements the richness of the meat.

The tannins also help to cut through the fatty texture of the meat, enhancing the overall taste.

Tomato-based pasta sauces

When it comes to pairing red wine with tomato-based pasta sauces, opt for wines with good acidity. This helps to balance the acidity in the sauce and enhances the flavors of both the wine and the dish.

Cheap red wines like Chianti or Sangiovese are excellent choices as they have a bright acidity and fruity notes that pair well with the tangy tomato flavors.

Hard cheeses

For those who enjoy a good cheese plate, pairing it with a cheap red wine can be a delightful experience. Hard cheeses like aged cheddar or Parmesan go well with red wines that have a good balance of fruitiness and acidity. Consider trying a Merlot or a Rioja with your cheese selection.

The smoothness of these wines complements the richness of the cheese, creating a harmonious combination.

Mushroom dishes

Mushrooms have a unique earthy flavor that pairs beautifully with red wines. For mushroom dishes like risotto or mushroom pizza, opt for a cheap red wine with earthy and savory notes. Pinot Noir or Grenache are great choices as they have a lighter body and delicate flavors that won’t overpower the mushrooms.

The combination of the earthy mushrooms and the subtle complexity of the wine creates a truly satisfying pairing.

Dark chocolate desserts

Satisfy your sweet tooth by pairing dark chocolate desserts with a cheap red wine. The bitterness of the dark chocolate pairs well with red wines that have a hint of sweetness and robust flavors. Look for red wines with fruity undertones, such as a Zinfandel or a Cabernet Franc.

The combination of the rich chocolate and the fruity notes of the wine creates a decadent and indulgent experience.

Remember, taste preferences can vary, so feel free to experiment and find your own favorite pairings. Cheers to enjoying delicious food and affordable wines!

Cheap Red Wine Cocktails

When it comes to enjoying a glass of red wine, there are plenty of options that won’t break the bank. But why stick to just sipping it straight when you can get creative and make some delicious cocktails?

Here are a few ideas for cheap red wine cocktails that are sure to impress your friends and please your taste buds.


Sangria is a classic red wine cocktail that is perfect for any occasion. Made with red wine, fruit juices, and sometimes a splash of brandy, it’s a refreshing and fruity drink that can be enjoyed year-round.

Whether you prefer a traditional Spanish sangria or a tropical twist with added pineapple or mango, this cocktail is a crowd-pleaser.

Mulled wine

When the weather gets colder, there’s nothing quite like a warm and cozy glass of mulled wine. Made by simmering red wine with spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, this aromatic drink is perfect for sipping by the fireplace on a chilly evening.

Add a squeeze of orange juice and a dash of honey for a touch of sweetness.

Red wine spritzer

If you’re looking for a lighter and more refreshing option, a red wine spritzer is the way to go. Simply mix equal parts red wine and sparkling water, and add a squeeze of lemon or lime for some extra zing. This low-alcohol cocktail is perfect for a summer afternoon or as a pre-dinner drink.


A Kalimotxo is a simple yet delicious cocktail that originated in the Basque region of Spain. It’s made by mixing equal parts red wine and cola, and served over ice. Although it may sound unusual, the combination of flavors creates a surprisingly tasty and refreshing drink.

It’s perfect for those who enjoy a hint of sweetness in their cocktails.


Sangrita is a Mexican cocktail that is traditionally served alongside a shot of tequila. It’s made by combining tomato juice, orange juice, lime juice, and spices like chili powder and hot sauce. While it’s typically enjoyed with tequila, substituting red wine for a unique twist can result in a delicious and tangy cocktail.

Remember, while these cocktails can be made with cheap red wines, it’s always a good idea to use a wine that you enjoy drinking on its own. The quality of the wine will greatly affect the taste of the cocktail, so choose one that you like the flavor of. Cheers!


You don’t need to spend a fortune to enjoy delicious, complex red wine. Armed with the right knowledge, you can find bottles under $20 that overdeliver on quality and flavor. Focus on value-driven regions and grapes. Experiment with alternatives like boxed wine.

Most importantly, pay attention to your own palate and taste preferences. The best cheap red wine for you might not top the critics’ lists, but it will make you happy. Cheers to drinking well on a budget!

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