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Value Priced Bottles of California Wine: AKA – Cheap

Every once in a while you have to take a chance on an inexpensive California bottle of wine. You never know if you’re going to kiss an ugly frog bottle or find your favorite wonderful Prince or Princess bottle of wine.

There are some good value price wines out there.

Every once in a while we pull out a $20 bill and buy four or five bottles of wine from some store just to see what pops our cork. Four California Chardonnays were the target of out experiments on this run. $5 apiece (or thereabouts.)

Two Tradesmen

You won’t be surprised, the first two bottles tasted something closer to lemonade than Chardonnay. We were traveling in our RV and the wine was so bad we didn’t want to dispose of it in our holding tank. A quick step outside to the sewer connection and the offensive vino was dispatched straight to the water treatment facility. We hope it does no harm.

Aha, but the third was a lovely Chardonnay from the coast of Central California. We were unaware of Two Craftsmen wine and wondered who is creating a tasty bottle of wine at this price point. We give it a ✰+ rating.

It turns out we know the name. J&J Cellars is in Templeton south of Paso Robles. We visited them years ago on the Happy Valley Trail in the North East quadrant of Paso Robles. We heard they closed. Did they move or sell the name to another wine maker? We’ll  need to visit this new facility.

Crane Lake Winery
Another inexpensive bottle wine you should try is from Crane Lake Cellars. On a lark while standing in a deli line we spied a $3.99 bottle of Pinot Noir. What the heck, a $4 experiment. It was good enough for a table wine. They create Chardonnay, Cabernet and other wines. We’ll need to find out who creates these and visit for a story.

The cheap guys have egos and they want to produce a good bottle of wine too. Do you think that Fred Franzia of Bronco Wine sits around sipping Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s with his meals? Or what about Ernest Gallo, CEO of Gallo Wine. Surely he’s drinking some fine wine from one of his new purchases like Edna Valley Winery or Talbott Vineyards. These wines can go on sale when wineries need to cut down on inventory.

The lesson here is, be not afraid of experimenting with an unknown bottle of wine occasionally. Surely you’re going to taste some clunkers. But then again, this is all part of your wine journey. You might find a consequential bottle of wine. Dollars don’t make wine. People, weather, dirt & grape create wine and sometimes an inexpensive doozy squeezes through. We have one more bottle to test from this escapade. We’ll keep you informed.