Wine is often thought of as a drink reserved for the rich and famous, but you don’t have to pay a high price to be able to enjoy a nice glass of Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. If you’re planning to host a party or if you just want to treat yourself for a job well done, you might want to consider picking a bottle from this Australian wine collection—where each wine costs less than $20.
Our list is based on The Wine Collective’s under $20 list, sorted by best selling and highest review scores.
The Best Wines Under $20
- 2017 Rolf Binder MVV Barossa Valley Shiraz
- 2017 Pure Clare Shiraz
- 2016 Glendale Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2018 Riondo Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie DOC
- 2017 Winemaker’s Selection Mandala Yarra Valley Chardonnay
- 2019 Picnic Sauvignon Blanc
- 2019 St Hallett Eden Valley Riesling
- 2009 Mystery Museum Release Margaret River Cabernet Merlot
- 2017 Jaffelin Pinot Noir Rose
- 2019 TWC Regional Selection Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris
1. 2017 Rolf Binder MVV Barossa Valley Shiraz
This classic bottle of Shiraz straight from Barossa Valley entices your senses with its sweet fragrance and exquisite taste. Rolf Binder is famous for their Barossan blends, and the 2017 MVV is no exception.
The 2017 Rolf Binder MVV uses selected types of berry fruit from Marananga and Vale Valley, such as blackcurrants and red berries, to create an aromatic Shiraz that’s rich, elegant, and flavourful without being too expensive.
2. 2017 Pure Clare Shiraz
The 2017 Pure Clare Shiraz offers a concentrated punch of plum, blackcurrant, and spice with a matching aroma that seeps with intensity. This Shiraz from the Clare Valley is for those who favour the taste of dense fruit that’s prominent in Clare Valley tradition.
The winemakers over at Vickery Wines are experts at concocting Riesling and Shiraz blends in the Clare Valley region, and the 2017 Pure Clare Shiraz is proof of their mastery at the craft. This drink embodies the best parts of the region with its chocolaty yet spicy palate at a fair price.
3. 2016 Glendale Cabernet Sauvignon
This one is a delightful cabernet sauvignon, representing the Glendale region with its full, ripe flavour. The 2016 Glendale Cabernet Sauvignon packs an intense aroma of blackberries, blackcurrants, and blueberries that amplifies the ripeness of its taste and ends with a pleasant, oaky finish.
This wine is produced by the Brand Group over at Glendale on the Limestone Coast. This family-operated business is well-known for producing regionally specific wine that is easily distinguishable and offers excellent value for under $20.
4. 2018 Riondo Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie DOC
The 2018 Riondo Pinot Grigio uses grapes from the Italian region of Veneto, and it offers a mid-full-bodied taste of wine with a bright aroma of citrus and herbs. This Pinot Grigio is lifted with ripe pears with hints of red apple to create a wine that’s crisp and very refreshing.
This is an excellent choice for hot summer days or as a dinner party drink. The fleshy texture of the wine easily complements meals of any kind, and its refreshing finish is perfect to help you cool down.
5. 2017 Winemaker’s Selection Mandala Yarra Valley Chardonnay
This Chardonnay is a graceful and elegant wine option with a fresh, fruity flavour. The 2017 Winemaker’s Selection Chardonnay is a premium white wine from the Yarra that has taken a modern twist. It has an attractive, citrusy scent with the matching taste of succulent fruits that is guaranteed to burst with flavour.
Hailing from the Yarra Valley, this chardonnay has a long and smooth flavour note thanks to its creamy texture and subtle oak finish. It’s fairly balanced with mild acidity and alcohol, and it accurately represents the taste of renowned wines in Mandala.
6. 2019 Adelaide Hills Picnic Sauvignon Blanc
The 2019 Picnic Sauvignon Blanc is another white wine with a strong emphasis on fruit. It’s refreshing taste and tropical fruit flavour creates an enticing aroma that smells as good as it tastes. It has notes of pineapple, gooseberries, and a hint of passionfruit, and the mild acidity leaves a long and smooth finish with each glass.
This sauvignon is excellent if you want a cheap wine with tremendous value. The tropical taste and inviting aroma will have you coming back to the bottle for more.
7. 2019 St Hallett Eden Valley Riesling
This sub-$20 Riesling from Eden Valley is defined by a strong acidity that’s complemented by an intense, citrus flavour. The 2019 vintage of the St Hallett Riesling makes it incredibly fresh and easy to drink.
Fresh limes give this wine a strong, citrusy flavour with that’s surprisingly full and well-textured. The taste of lime is most prominent, but there also hints of mineral talc that completes the flavour profile. This Riesling sports a very fine texture that ends with a persistent yet smooth finish.
8. 2009 Mystery Museum Release Margaret River Cabernet Merlot
The Mystery Museum Merlot is a fine drink with a wide mix of flavours that makes for a gentle yet savoury experience. This 10/10 vintage Margaret merlot is a high-quality red wine that has aged wonderfully.
This wine is blended with Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon fruits that create a whole dimension of flavour that tastes of chocolate, cassis, and dried herbs complete with the character of finely aged Cabernet. This is an amazing merlot considering the sub-$20 price, and it is definitely worth checking out.
9. 2017 Jaffelin Pinot Noir Rose
This Pinot Noir is perfect for those who want a more upfront taste of wine. The 2017 Jaffelin Pinot Noir Rose is a delicate drink crafted with Burgundian grapes and over 200 years of industry experience.
The Jaffelin Pinot Noir Rose balances mild acidity with the delicious taste of strawberries that contrasts the more acidic and slightly smoky flavour of a pinot meuniere. The sweet scent is as lovely as the pink gloss that makes each bottle shine and its non-intrusive texture makes it a very crisp and delightful drink to enjoy under $20.
10. TWC Regional Selection Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris 2019
This 2019 vintage Pinot Gris from Adelaide is an impressive $16 option that boasts of a remarkable freshness and a clean, crisp texture that’s perfect for warmer days. It’s a drink with plenty of flavour and character for its price.
This Pinot Gris from the TWC’s Regional Selection gets its freshness from bright hints of pear and citrus flavours. It feels very crisp and smooth and just the overall taste of it accurately captures the distinct flavour of the premium grapes and berry fruits used in Adelaide wines.
How to Pick a Good, Inexpensive Wine for a Party
You don’t need to buy an expensive cask to impress your party guests or flatter a host. Good wine makes for great gifts, but even cheap wines can be just as good as top-shelf options if you know what to look for.
Most $20 bottles aren’t aged for as long as their premium counterparts, but that doesn’t make them any less competitive. When picking a bottle, make sure to take note of its sweetness, acidity level, alcohol content, tannin, and body.
In terms of sweetness, wines normally come in sweet, mildly sweet, or dry options. Rosé, Moscato, and Riesling are typically sweet along with fruity or citrusy wines, while red wines are generally less so. Dry wines are never sweet, so if you want a drink that matches the occasion, be sure to check how sweet it is first!
On the other hand, the acidity of wine will determine how bitter it tastes. A wine with a high acidity level will taste bitterer than those with lower acidity.
Tannins refer to grape skins that are usually involved during the winemaking process. Tannins will affect the bitterness of wine much like acidity does, as well as how “dry” it tastes. Red wine makes use of tannins more than other wine types, which causes them to have their distinct flavour and dry finish.
The alcohol in wines makes them warm as they go down your mouth and throat. The alcohol level varies between bottles but they’re usually between the range of 11 and 13 per cent. Some wines go for more while some opt for less.
Lastly, the body defines how “heavy” a drink feels in your mouth. There is a very palpable difference between light-bodied and full-bodied wine, and it can really affect one’s enjoyment. Red wines tend to be fuller while whites are lighter.
An inexpensive wine option with a great blend of all of these qualities is sure to blow anyone’s mind away!
Our Recommended Wine Choices
Now that we’ve gone through what makes wine good, here are our recommendations:
For red wine, the 2009 Mystery Museum Merlot is the best option on this list. It’s a very well-aged wine with a lovely aroma that lingers under your nose, and the hearty flavour from its blend of five different fruit parcels gives it a rich, savoury texture that is definitely a must-try.
Best white wines under $20
- 2018 Norfolk Rise Pinot Grigio
- 2018 Zeppelin Big Bertha Chardonnay
- 2018 The Butterbox Chardonnay
- 2019 McWilliams Regional Release Pinot Gris
- 2019 Water Dancer Semillon Sauvignon Blanc
- 2018 Deep Woods Estate Ivory Semillon Sauvignon Blanc
On the other hand, the 2019 Picnic Sauvignon Blanc and its fresh, tropical flavour makes it the best white wine from our selection. The delicious mix of passionfruit, gooseberry, and pineapple blends extremely well with its moderate acidity. Each sip is a wonderful combination of tropical flavours that provides a refreshing experience from each glass for a fraction of the price.
Best red wines under $20
- 2015 Houghton The Bandit Shiraz
- 2017 Pure Clare Shiraz
- 2017 Thorn Clarke Terra Barossa Shiraz
- 2016 Glendale Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2017 Deep Woods Estate Ebony Cabernet Shiraz
- 2016 Blue Pyrenees Estate Section 26 Cabernet Sauvignon