Anyone can see the logic behind buying a can of Tiger Beer at the supermarket and imbibing it at the void deck of your HDB block. But do the same with a bottle of wine and you get quizzical looks. Wine is, after all, supposed to be sipped by people who are not more than three steps removed from royalty, and who wear tuxedoes and gowns at home because it goes with the decor. Well, if you're not sommelier material but still enjoy wine in your own way, here are some ways to economically drink your fill.
Don't laugh, but some Cold Storage and NTUC FairPrice outlets carry fairly wide ranges of wine. Those in the know say that you can occasionally find some real quality stuff there. You can find wines in the $20 to $40 range, and apparently some of them are actually quite drinkable and comparable to prices you'll pay buying directly from the winery.
For a $20 membership fee, you also get to join the NTUC FairPrice Wine Club, which gets you an 8 per cent discount on all their wines, including those on sale.
There are quite a few well-known specialty wine retailers, some of which accept online orders. These wines will be priced significantly lower than those at restaurants or bars, but higher than buying directly from an importer. Here are a couple of the more well known ones that also sell their wines online:
- Merchants - A relatively new player on the scene, they specialise in Australian and New Zealand wines. You get to save more if you buy in bulk.
- The Straits Wine Company - You've probably already heard of them, as they have numerous outlets, most notably on Bukit Timah Road and East Coast Road.
- Wine Connection - Pretty huge collection of wines at affordable prices. House wines can go for as little as $7 a glass if you decide to chill out for a while.
If you're a regular wine purchaser and like to sample a wide range of wines but are just too darned lazy to go through the whole selection process week in, week out, joining a wine subscription service like The French Cellar can keep your coffers stocked.
A $79 a month subscription gets you 2 monthly French wines selected by a 3 star sommelier. Each month (or other frequency), you receive a shipment of a certain number of wines, delivered directly to your doorstep. That's it.
Retailers have to get their wines from someplace, and most of them don't actually do the importing themselves. If you bypass wine retailers and go directly to their suppliers, you get to pay even less.
The catch is that they usually don't have a shopfront, so you won't be able to just "stumble upon" them while out shopping one day. However, you can usually make an appointment to browse their galleries. On the downside, you're often required to purchase in bulk in order to take advantage of the low prices.
- Monopole - make an appointment to browse wine selection.
- Wein & Vin - German and French wine wholesalers. You can choose to buy 6 or 12 bottles of each wine, with the latter obviously costing less per unit.
Duty-free shops at Changi Airport
If you're a frequent flyer, then you know how every Singaporean on the flight makes a beeline for duty free the moment they touch down. Now, duty free wines will shave quite a bit off retail prices. However, if you're really on a budget, don't expect anything even close to the cheapest wines you'll find at NTUC, as the selection here tends to be a little pricier even without taxes.
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