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Best wines under $10 for students on a budget

Walking up and down the wine aisle can be very intimidating. Hundreds of brands, varying prices, different colors, and a whole lot of confusion. While it’s easy to google “wine for beginners”, it’s not entirely helpful. Especially for beginners that don’t have the funds to figure out what they like.

As a current student who has a very limited income, I wanted to share my top five favorite wines that are very kind to your wallet.

I want to share this guide because this is good knowledge to have. Imagine, in the future, you’re out to dinner with your boss, a client, or even a date and you can’t even pronounce Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay, let alone know the difference between them. 

I mean college is all about learning, so let’s learn. 

Simplified terminology check:
Sweet wine refers to having sugar in it. 
Dry wine refers to having no sugar in it. 

Barefoot – Sweet Red Blends – $5-$6 – 750 ml

  1. Barefoot as a brand is pretty great on its own. It’s a great beginner brand because it’s cheap and they’re quite good. My favorite is their red wine, sweet red blends. Yes, it is a sweet wine, so it would be more of a dessert wine. It has a mix of various red fruits like cherries, pomegranate, and raspberries. These can be found at Target or Safeway. 
  2. Pairing: Chocolate cake. Any chocolate cake. All chocolate cake.

Wine Cube – Chardonnay (shaar-duh-nay) – $4.99 – 500 ml 

  1. It’s wine, in a carton. Crazy right? Where glass bottles aren’t allowed, these will be. Chardonnay, a white wine, is a good beginning wine because it can almost be paired with anything. It is a dry wine, but it’s like the OG of wines. It’s light and fruity. It is the most popular white wine for a reason. This brand is only found at Target.
  2. Pairing: Basil Pesto Pasta

Cupcake – Sauvignon Blanc (soh-vin-yohn blahn) – $8-$9 – 750 ml

  1. This is just one of my favorites. This white wine has a citrus taste, and this is dry with a bit of sugar to give it a little more richness. It’s fairly fruity as well. These grapes grow in New Zealand, so that’s pretty cool too. These can be found at Safeway and Target as well. 
  2. Pairing: Squash is just (chef kiss) perfect with this. So are chicken and fish.

Menage a Trois – Pinot Grigio (pee-noh gree-joe)- $8-$9 – 750 ml

  1. So CellarMasters.com confirmed that Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are the same exact grape, they just have different names due to the area they are grown in. Pinot Gris is in France and Pinot Grigio is in Italy. This sweet white wine is Limelight Pinot Grigio, and it is so light, clean, crisp, and so many citrus flavors are involved. This has flavors of green apples and limes. These can be found at Target and Safeway.
  2. Pairing: Hummus and pita bread! Mac and Cheese! Fruit. Any fruit. All fruit.

Bogle – Cabernet Sauvignon (kab-er-nay soh-vin-yohn)- $9-$10 – 750 ml

  1. This is the most expensive one on the list, but my favorite red wine. Cab Sav is also one of the most popular wines as well. It is a dry wine that is just packed with dark intense fruits like plums and blackberries. This is one of my favorite all-around wines: snack, dinner, and dessert wine. DCanterWines.com approved of my cheez-it snacking with Cab Sav by my side. 
  2. Pairing: Burgers, Black bean burgers, Cheez-Its, and dark chocolate anything. 

So while these don’t cover all of my favorites, these do cover the ones that are easy to try, easy to find, and won’t put a dent in your pocket. 

Have fun and please drink responsibly. 

Illustrations by Mikayla Moore-Bastide

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