What to Drink Now: The Best Wines Under 30 Dollars

My Top 12 Favorite Attainable, Easy-to-Find, Everyday Wines
Filed Under > Cocktail Hour

Best Wines Under $30 dollars, Waiting On Martha

By now you know that I take my wine very seriously.  Over the past few years I’ve spent weeks in Napa and Sonoma, crossed harvest off my bucket list, blogged about my top wine and champagne picks, favorite warm weather wines, and snapchatted more nightly wines than I can count.  But as much as I love wine and everything about the wine making process, I’m by no means a “wine snob.”  In fact, some of my absolute favorite wines are priced under the $20 mark, and the majority of them can be found at Whole Foods and Costco.  Which brings me to today’s post…my top 12 picks for the best wines under 30 dollars.

I think of this list as a solid starting point for stocking your home with some great attainable and everyday wines.  And while this list is a great discovery tool, I know it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you find yourself in the wine aisle.  So a few of my rules of thumb: when in doubt always opt for France. The regions of France (Bordeaux, Sancerre, Burgundy, Rhone) are known for producing fantastic and mostly inexpensive wines.  Nine times out of ten, you can get a great bottle without breaking the bank.  

Second, don’t live and die by the number, ie. the wine Points. Sure, a wine’s score is helpful, but remember there’s a person with their own specific palette behind the system.  For example wines that Robert Parker may score 90+ aren’t often ones that I prefer.  Sure the points can be helpful, but you should drink what you love regardless of the Points.

Lastly, when branching out, learn what you like to drink.  Do you prefer a dry wine, bold, light, crisp, fruity, etc.  That way when you’re wandering the aisle and ask for help the wine expert can lead you in the right direction based on your preferences.  

I’d love to know: what are your go-to table wines every day of the week?  Cheers, friends!  Truly, MKR 



Whispering Angel

Chateau d'Esclans Cotes de Provence, $15-21

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Whispering Angel is my all-time favorite rose for a reason; it’s extremely drinkable, approachable and easy to find just about anywhere.  In fact the first place I ever drank WA was in Turks & Caicos.  Another plus, the price.  You can usually find a bottle for $17 and under and in my opinion, you should never pay more than $30 for a bottle of rose. The most expensive I will EVER get is Miraval

Something to note; you can usually tell the “sweetness” of rose by the color; the pinker it is, the sweeter it tends be. 


Locations (F, E, I, AR, and OR)

Orin Swift, $17-19

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I’ve never met a Locations wine I didn’t like. Of course, I’m a fan of all of the Orin Swift wines.  But with the Locations, David Phinney gives us a few cant-be-beat red wines that I like to have on hand at all times. I started drinking them when there were only three locations, and now there are perhaps 12 out there. I’ve heard that there’s actually a great one from Texas now (which I’ll have to try before my verdict is out). 

Added bonus? I pick these up at Whole Foods for $19/bottle. 

2015 Sauvignon Blanc

Honig Vineyard, $15-17

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Aged in stainless steel tanks, this Sauvignon Blanc has a crisp freshness with flavors of peach, passionfruit and lemongrass. It’s considered a medium-bodied, refreshing wine that has a can’t-be-beat flavor profile.  

This is a great, great pick from Napa Valley’s Honig Vineyard & Winery…and will never break the bank. 

Something to note; if ever in Napa Honig is right across the street from Round Pond and around the corner from Silver Oak…3 of my favorite wineries.  I highly suggest you make the loop & hit up all three if ever in town.

Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

La Crema, $19-22

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As you may remember, I checked an item off the bucket list a few years ago when I worked harvest with La Crema.  It only deepened my love for this winery, ans its Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is (and will always be) a household staple for us.  It’s an easy-to-drink, balanced red that makes for a great “house wine.”

Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

La Crema, $19-25

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Another favorite from La Crema, the Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is broad, juicy, and beautifully balanced. With each sip, you’ll enjoy notes of vanilla and yellow plum, and flavors of apple. It’s another crowd-pleaser you can’t go wrong with. 


Pinot Grigio

Santa Margherita, $18-25

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I just can’t quit you, Santa Margherita.  There’s a reason why everyone loves this clean, crisp white wine.  It has a slight sweetness, with a delicate, tangy flavor and is always a crowd pleaser.  If you’ll remember, I used this pinot grigio in my holiday sangria recipe.  Just so good! 

Sauvignon Blanc

Les Ruettes Sancerre, $20

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I’m a big fan of this Sancerre’s subtle minerality, yet vivid, tangy citrus and herby flavors. 

Really just anything from the Sancerre will be good. It’s a French Appalachian region in the eastern Loire Valley.  I also love Les Ruettes Sancerre Rosé and Sancerre Domaine Philipe Raimbault Sauvignon Blanc…they’re all great warm weather wines that are easy to find and reasonably priced.  I’ve never tasted anything from Sancerre I didn’t love.

Barrel Fermented Chardonnay

Harken Wines, $12-13

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To be honest, I didn’t think I would like this barrel fermented chardonnay.  It specifically boasts “rich, oaky, buttery notes” and I usually hate buttery rich chardonnays. But Mama K and I recently tried it, and both REALLY liked it.  And at only $12-13/bottle, it’s definitely worth stocking up on.

Boom Boom Syrah

Charles Smith, $15-18

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Of course the name and label is what made me pick up the bottle, but I’m happy to say the taste is what made this my go to wine back in my twenty year old days.  This Washington state syrah has aromas of fresh picked herbs and wet earth.  It’s a dark, explosive wine that is absolutely incredible with rich entree like slow-roasted pork shoulder. 

Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Round Pond, $23-25

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One of my all-time favorites: Round Pond’s Sauvignon Blanc.  It’s simply a beautiful, dry wine and a consistent crowd-pleaser. Round Pond’s vineyard is located in Rutherford, an area in Napa Valley known for its dusty, earthy soils. It’s mostly well known for its Cabernet Sauvignon (which is great), but I’m partial to this Sauv Blanc.  It balances juicy fresh citrus, pear and white peach fruit with light floral notes, enhanced with a nice layer of texture from a touch of sur lie aging (or leaving the wine on the yeasts for a short period of time,), all while staying refreshing and light. 

I’m also a member of Round Pond’s olive oil club; it’s some of the freshest EVOO in California. 

Basket Press Block 14 Shiraz

The Lane Vineyard, $23-26

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Harvested in Australia’s Adelaide Hills, this cool-climate shiraz by The Lane is both balanced and elegant.  It has a deep purple hue, with a spiced, peppery nose of plum and cherry.  This isn’t your plain old table wine; it’s a medium-bodied red with intense flavor. 

Arriviste Rose

Blackbird Vineyards, $20-22

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Blackbird Vineyards is one of my favorite stops in Napa, and I especially love its elegant, deep pink rose. On the nose, you’ll get whiffs of strawberry and iris, and to taste: red delicious apple, strawberry and hints of melon. With a blend of Bordeaux grapes, it’s a dry rose wine, perfect for summer sippin’. And it has a clean mineral finish that’s exceptionally light.


Photography, Rustic White for Waiting on Martha

Leave a Comment


  • These are awesome choices! I’ll have to try some. I’m usually a red only girl, but I fell in LOVE with the Chardonnay from Rombauer and Rose from St. Supery when in Napa!

  • Definitely pinning this for later! I’ve heard great things about Whispering Angel! Fancy Pants makes a pinot grigio that is delicious and usually around $10.
    Ellen | A Pop of Pink

  • Kat Neunaber / 11.14.2016

    Great! We’ll have to try the Fancy Pants too. xo

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