Your Guide to the Best Wines Under $30

The best wine is the one you enjoy. That said, wine can feel complex. Not just in its flavors, the way the rich scents bloom under your nose, or the smooth, silky texture of a savored sip. When there are 12 Pinot Grigios, and they cost anywhere from $7.99 to $70.99, how do you know which wine is the best, or the best for you? Wine is timeless, with history and stories as dense as tangled grapevines themselves. So, we decided to craft a wine guide designed to help you pick great bottles under $30, with a wide variety that caters to a spectrum of tastes, foods, and occasions. We also made sure these are some of the best wines you can find at your local store, including Cox’s and Evergreen.

So whether you’re an oenophile or an “Eh, this looks good” wine shopper, uncork your next adventure with our list of affordable wines…each handpicked with an eye to factors like value, sustainability efforts, and of course, taste.

*As of publishing (July 2023), these prices were all accurate.

Meiomi Pinot Noir – $17.99

Lush and balanced, with a soft fruitiness, Meomi Pinot Noir pairs well with a wide variety of foods. Delicious with cheeses and pasta dishes, it can even dance along smoothly with grilled and roasted meats, including bacon. A perfect pick for a dinner party, or keep it on hand to elevate pizza night.

While Meomi is a newer kid on the block (the brand was created in 2006), it has won over casual sippers and critics alike thanks to its dedicated focus on high-quality fruit and thoughtful blends. We also like Meomi because they know that, in all seriousness, if California can’t prevent the recent increase and severity of its wildfires, there is no future in the wine business. We give Meomi serious credit for donating more than $200k between the National Forest Foundation, the Red Cross, and Napa Valley Community Foundation + Sonoma County Resilience Fund.

Apothic Red 750mL – $8.99

Love a powerful red wine? Apothic Red doesn’t shy away from feeling bold on the tongue, thanks to oak aging, and a solid, broad-shouldered blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Fun fact: it’s this blend that makes Apothic Red such an intriguing, easy-to-drink wine…Zinfandel for a touch of smoke and spice, Merlot for earthy softness, Syrah for rich fruits and vanilla, and Cabernet for a bright foundation and a kiss of plum and dark berry. Blended by a female winemaker and her team, Apothic Red is a winner. Try it with dark chocolate desserts and for burger night. Yup, it works with both, and plenty more.

Whispering Angel Rosé 750mL – $21.99

Why is rosé so popular? Sure, it has an Instagram-worthy blush hue, but don’t think for a moment that it’s just a recent trend. In fact, the ancient Greeks drank rosé in 600 B.C. Whispering Angel Rosé, a Provence-made bottle from Château d’Esclans, has long been considered an elegant, refreshing option for summer sipping. Need more proof It’s not just for influencers? Crisp, citrusy, with a whisper of grapefruit, peach, and strawberry…a chilled glass is perfect for an evening on your balcony…set out a shrimp cocktail or a dozen oysters, and you’ll feel like you’re in France on a Friday evening, for less than $30.

M&R Asti 750mL – $9.99

You can’t fake authenticity. That’s where DOCG comes in…it’s the highest classification given to Italian wines, and Martini & Rossi Asti proudly bears the mark. Try this sparkling, effervescent wine with your next Thai takeout or swap it into your next batch of mimosas — the crisp bubbles and light acidity are a treat on the tongue. Made in the Piedmont region of Italy with Moscato Bianco grapes, this is technically a spumante, a sparkling wine similar to champagne but without the stark dryness of its French cousin.

Coppola Diamond Claret 750mL – $11.99

Coppola Diamond Claret is a wine with main character energy. Made in the Bordeaux style of blending (aged 12 months in oak barrels, and made with Cabernet-Sauvignon grapes, among several others), this is a confident wine. It carries a smooth, jammy flavor with toasted oak and a shadow of earthiness. Pair Coppola Diamond Claret with your BBQ, steak, grilled lamb chops, and even a hearty Caprese salad (thick tomato slices, milky mozzarella, and fresh basil) for a summer dinner that knows its own worth…even when the bottle costs less than $15.

La Marca Prosecco 750mL – $15.99

Prosecco and hot dogs. We stand by it. Try it, and when you do, use La Marca Prosecco. It makes sense…if you like beer with your hot dogs, a cold glass of prosecco gives you the same nose-tickling effervescence, and balances the rich, salty flavors of a freshly grilled hot dog. Served chilled, the light, bubbly feel is balanced with notes of apricot, honeysuckle, and citrus. In fact, La Marca Prosecco is our go-to for pairing with everything from charcuterie boards to desserts and mixing into mimosas or bellinis. La Marca was also awarded an Equalitas Sustainability Certification in 2021, an official nod to its efforts in economic, social, and environmental sustainability in its native region of Veneto, Italy. Bubbles you can feel good about sipping!

Bonanza Cabernet – $19.99

We love a family business. Real people behind a brand, and that’s what you get with Bonanza Cabernet. Remember our Meomi recommendation earlier in this post? Bonanza is owned and crafted by the father of Meomi’s founder, and trust us when we say Chuck Wagner knows his way around a vineyard. This affordable, delightful Cabernet Sauvignon will earn a permanent spot on your wine rack. It’s versatile and easy on the palate with waves of currants, blackberries, and a slow, lingering finish that offers an echo of toasty spice and a brush of oak. This is truly a family wine. Picture this wine as part of your story…a classic, solid wine that suits the diverse tastes at your dinner table, and simply adds to the evening, like it’s always been there.

Stella Rosa Moscato’s 750mL – $10.99

You’re in a pear orchard, and the fruit trees are heavy. You pluck a pear off the branch, and it’s just like a pear should be…juicy, crisp at first with an inner softness, and a hint of floral from the tree that grew it. Stella Rosa Moscato is as close to this experience as we’ve gotten (given how infrequently we visit idyllic pear orchards) but as long as we have a chilled bottle of this slightly sweet, slightly sparkling wine on hand, we’re content. It’s our pick for a Moscato under $30, because it’s not too sweet, nuanced enough to keep us interested, and a great price for a wine that can be trusted to pair seamlessly with everything from a fruit and cheese plate to dessert.

Ready to pick a few bottles? Like our picks and want to know other suggestions? Come by Cox’s and Evergreen to peruse our aisles and speak with some of our expert team members. They’re always happy to help you customize a wine for your needs, taste, and budget. Cheers!