POSTED ON May 7, 2009 | IN Wine Information | BY Joe Becerra

We are always on the prowl to find delicious wines under $20. Lately, we have been finding an amazing number of wines at under $15. I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts the astonishing number of excellent tasting wines from Argentina, Chile, and Spain that are selling at bargain prices. I think we are going to begin finding many California wines in this category in the coming months.

California wineries do a lot of bottling around this time of the year and if they have a large inventory left from the previous vintage, they are going to want to “dump”this wine onto the market to make room for their latest vintage.

Two places to find wine bargains, and sometimes at astonishing prices are Costco and Trader Joe’s. At a recent trip to my local Costco I found several Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc at bargain prices. I was shocked to find the Flora Springs Merlot priced at $14.99. I was just at this winery and this same Merlot is selling for $24 there. Also at Costco was the 2006 Louis Martini Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon for $10.99. Robert Parker gave this wine a 90-Point rating in his 2008 December newsletter. The Hanna Sauvigon Blanc is always good and the 2008 has recently been released at selling at $10.99.

Trader Joe’s always has sales and sometimes they are fantastic deals. Look for the wines that say “Hustle Buys.”Â  These are wines that wineries what to get rid of in a hurry. Rather than keep them in inventory they negotiate with Trader Joe’s to buy the entire lot. These ”˜hustle buys”tend to sell out quickly and when the wine is gone from the shelves, it is likely never to be back again. Rumor has it that there are two wine buyers in Trader Joe’s Monrovia, CA. headquarters that hunt these wine bargains and make the decision to purchase. Each Trader Joe’s gets a list of wines available and the wine person at each store stocks the wine department from this list. If you find a “Hustle Buys,”buy one or two bottles to taste and judge. If it is to your liking, then hustle back to your Trader Joe’s and buy what you can before others find out about the wine.

Both at Costco and Trader Joe’s if you cannot find a wine that was there the previous week, ask at the main desk or computer kiosk. They can tell you if this wine is in stock at one of their nearby stores.

By the way, Good Cheap Vino is a social website that a few wine friends of mine and I started. Here we list all the wine bargains and values we find. Sign up and keep up with the bargains we find.