Not every day we are able to get expensive wines. Sometimes we want the cheapest wine with highest alcohol content to enjoy life, prepare meals, or serve our guests. This means that you don’t have to fork over your entire paycheck for wine while also not sacrificing the quality of the wine.
In this article, we will go through the 30 cheapest wines with the highest alcohol content but also that taste great. We will describe their average price, alcohol content (proof), type, and varietal from pinot noirs, zins, Sauvignons, Merlots, to chardonnays. To enable you to make a good choice we will give you options of red and white wines that have high alcohol content and are cost-friendly with all of them bar one costing less than $20.
We have run a liquor store at Hopsters Brewing Company for over 10 years and truly understand the right prices and alcohol content of not only wines but other alcoholic drinks. Thus, in our previous article, we also gave you the cheapest beers with high alcohol content and the strongest liquors in the world. Let’s start with the cheapest wines with high proof below:
Cheapest Wine With Highest Alcohol Content -White and Red Wines
The cheapest wine with the highest alcohol content includes Flipflop (13% ABV), Rex-Goliath (13% ABV), Firefly Ridge (13% ABV), and Beringer (12% ABV) which cost less than five dollars for a 750 ml bottle. Sandeman Fine Tawny Port is one of the highest ABV (19.5% ABV) wines that cost less than $20.
Generally, there are some varietals that produce cheaper wines compared to others. These are varietals where grapes are easier to produce and which require no special processes in their production. Some of the popular low-cost wine varietals include:
- White wines varietals: Riesling, Moscato, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chenin Blanc
- Red wines varietals: Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Shiraz/Syrah
Comparing white wines and red wines, you will get drunk faster when taking red wines compared to white wines. This is because typically the ABV is higher in red wines compared to white wines in addition to higher concentrations of congeners in red wines which can affect alcohol metabolism in the body. High quantities of congeners in darker alcoholic beverages make your alcohol stay longer in the system.
To note is that champagne and sparkling wines have a lower ABV than both white wines and red wines. The following table gives you the list of the cheapest wines with high alcohol content.
|Wine||Red or White||Average Price (750 ml)||ABV||Wine type||Varietal|
|FlipFlop||Red/ White||$4.49||12.5% – 13.5% % ABV||Semi-dry||Pinot Noir & 11 varietal|
|Rex-Goliath||Red||$4.99||13% ABV||Dry||Californian Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Firefly Ridge||Red wine||$5.00||12.5% – 13.5% ABV||Slightly Sweet||Merlot/ Chardonnay/ Pinot Grigio|
|Beringer||White||$5.00||10% – 13.5% ABV||Dry||Chardonnay/ Zinfandel/ Merlot|
|Double Dog Dare Cabernet Sauvignon||Red||$5.99||12.5% ABV||Dry||Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Cheap Bastard Basement Red||Red||$7.00||14% ABV||Sweet||Cabernet Sauvignon / Tempranillo|
|Sutter Home Pink Pinot Grigio||White||$7.49||12.5% ABV||Dry||Pinot Grigio|
|The Original Smoking Loon||Red/ White||$7.99||13.5% – 14.5% ABV||Dry||Zinfandel/ Pinot Noir/ Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi||Red||$7.99||13.5%- 14% ABV||Dry- Semi-sweet||California Shiraz (Syrah) / Moscato|
|Turning Leaf Sauvignon Blanc||White||$7.99||12.6%||Dry||Sauvignon Blanc|
|Fancy Pants Sauvignon Blanc||White||$9.94||13.5%||Dry||Sauvignon Blanc|
|Montevina Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay||White||$9.99||13.5%||Dry||Pinot Grigio/ Chardonnay|
|Cycles Gladiator Pinot Grigio||White||$9.99||13.5% ABV||Dry||Pinot Grigio|
|Mirassou Sauvignon Blanc||White||$9.99||13.1% ABV||Dry||Sauvignon Blanc|
|Woodbridge Sparkling Extra Dry||Sparkling||$9.99||11%||Dry||Pinot noir/ Chardonnay/ pinot meunier|
|Victoria Chianti DOCG||Red||$10.99||12.5% ABV||Dry||Sangiovese|
|The Naked Grape Sauvignon Blanc||White||$10.99||12% ABV||Dry||Sauvignon Blanc|
|Nobilo Fall Sauvignon Blanc Harvest||White||$11.48||12.5%||Dry||Sauvignon Blanc|
|Chalone Monterey Sauvignon Blanc||White||$11.76||13.5%||Dry||Sauvignon Blanc|
|Guenoc Sauvignon Blanc Lake County||White||$11.99||14.1% ABV||Dry||Sauvignon Blanc|
|Ravage Dark Side Red Blend Red Wine||Red||$11.99||13.5% ABV||Semi-sweet||Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Sean Minor Chardonnay Signature Series||White||$11.99||13.5% ABV||Dry||Chardonnay|
|Naturalis Riverland Organic Sauvignon Blanc||White||$11.99%||13% ABV||Dry||Sauvignon Blanc|
|Victoria Prosecco Millesimato||Sparkling||$13.99||11% ABV||Dry||Prosecco Millesimato|
|Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Gris||White||$14.99||13.5% ABV||Dry||Pinot Grigio|
|Martha Clara Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon||Red||$15.99||13% ABV||Dry||Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Finca Wölffer Red||Red||$17.99||13.9% ABV||Semi-sweet||Malbec/ Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Sandeman Fine Tawny Port||Red||$18.99||19.5% ABV||Semi-sweet||Port and Sherry wines|
|Mixed Up Red||Red||$20.09||13.5% ABV||Dry||Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Zinfandel|
|Chandon Sparkling Red||Sparkling red||$22.99||12% ABV||Dry||Pinot noir|
Strongest Wine Styles (Varietals)
As described above, there are some varietals that are low-cost but high in alcohol. These varietals include both red wines and white wines. The popular low-cost wine varietals are:
- White: Riesling, Moscato, Pinot Grigio, and Chenin Blanc
- Red: Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Shiraz/Syrah
These varietals produce the most alcoholic wines in the World to drink. The different alcohol content in different varietals is as follows:
1. Shiraz/ Shylah -14% to 15% ABV (Australia)
Australians produce great, highly alcoholic wines. That is why you will find most Shiraz containing 14% to 15% alcohol content by volume (28 proof to 30 proof).
Shiraz is a full-bodied red wine whose grapes are heavily planted in the Rhône Valley in France and Australia. They are thus powerfully flavored, bold red wines which are usually made in dry styles.
You will find Shiraz in the list of cheapest wines with high alcohol content. Even though some Shiraz wines are cost-friendly, they are well known for their rich and juicy mid-palate giving you pepper, spice, and sweet red fruit flavors.
2. Red Zinfandels- 14% -17% ABV (California)
There are several Zinfandel wines that you will find in the market costing under $15 with a high alcohol content of between 14% to 17% ABV. Some of the most popular ones include Gnarly Head Old Vine, Ravenswood Vintner’s, Cline Zinfandel Lodi California, Canyon Oaks, and Oak Ridge Zinfandel Ancient Vine Estate Grown Lodi.
On the other hand, white Zinfandel wines have an ABV of 9% to 10%. This makes them low in alcohol content compared to most red Zinfandels.
Red Zinfandel (Zin) is a rich classic California oaked or unoaked red wine that gives you ripe fruit flavors, high alcohol, and in most cases a touch of residual sugar. Some red Zinfandel winemakers blend zinfandel wines with other grapes for increased tannin and body.
Compared with both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Zinfandel is lighter in color. However, even though it is light-bodied, the taste is bold due to its high acidity and moderate tannin content. This makes its serving temperature to be a bit cooler than room temperature meaning between 60-65 degrees.
3. Muscat – 15%
Muscat wines have a range of alcohol content from 11% and 17% for dry wines and more than 15% for off-dry Muscat wines. You can buy a Muscat wine for less than $10 and more than $50 with the most reputable styles being sweet wines although we have dry and off-dry styles of Muscat. Muscat wines
The Muscat aromatic wine wines are mostly served with dessert including but not limited to cheesecake, chocolate, or dried fruit. They are produced from the (mostly) white-grape Muscat family.
The sweet and fruity flavor profile taste profile for Muscat wines is that they have lychee, heady tangerine, orange blossom, beach rose, mango, and jasmine notes. This makes the wine to give you zesty orange and sweeter spiciness on the palate due to the tropical fruit notes described above.
4. Pinot Noir & Pinot Grigio
The alcohol content in Pinot Noir depends on the region that the grapes are grown. Wines made from grapes in warmer climates such as California and Australia have a higher alcohol content (13.5% to 15% ABV) compared to Pinot Noir from cooler regions such as France and Germany whose ABV is between 12% to 13.5%.
Pinot Noir is rated as one of the healthiest wines. This is because it contains high levels of resveratrol. The grapes that make the wine have thin skin, low sugar, fewer calories, and low alcohol content making it healthier than most wines.
Pinot Grigio on the other hand has a rather low acidity but still, manages to be voluminous and rich in extracts. It will come with an ABV of between 12% to 13.5%.
However, wine snobs term the Pinot Grigio wine “too simple” and the mass-produced wine bottles can be abused giving users bad wine or “interesting” wines.
5. Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is a dark-colored wine with a full body and high alcohol content. Actually, most Cabernet Sauvignon wines have over 13.5% alcohol content even though the price is friendly.
The alcohol content of Cabernet Sauvignons is higher in wines produced in warmer climates such as Australia, California, and Chile, with the range being 14.5% to more than 15%.
The cheapest sweet wine with the highest alcohol content is the Cheap Bastard Basement Red with 14% ABV. Thus, it is a cheap wine that gets you drunk faster than most other wines on this list.
The wine as indicated has strong tannins that mellow with age. Moreover, the wine grape varietal gives you a wine with a bolder, mouth-drying base. The stronger tannins and high alcohol content make the Cabernet Sauvignon more powerful than Merlot wines.
6. Sauvignon Blanc
One of the wine varietals that features prominently in the list of the cheapest wines with alcohol content is the Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is typically high in acidity, with moderate alcohol content (12.5 to 14% ABV depending on the region), and is fully flavored with grapefruit, grass, or mineral notes.
As discussed for most wines, if the grapes are produced in warmer climates, the resultant wine will be higher in alcohol content compared to wines from colder climates. The Sauvignon grapes produce a white wine with the highest alcohol content.
Compared to Chardonnay below, Sauvignon Blanc is lighter, bright, and herbaceous in taste compared to the richer and fuller-bodied Chardonnay. However, both wines are quite dry but with some Blancs having residual sugar. Therefore, you will find some Blancs to be sweeter compared to Chardonnay.
This type of wine is quite popular due to its straightforwardness with flavors rarely hidden in the background and its ability to be fresh for five to seven days after opening when refrigerated.
We have comprehensively gone through the Chardonnay Alcohol Content which is 13.5% by volume in the United States but with a range of between 13.5% and 14.5%.
The full-bodied white wine has a high alcohol content compared to most other wines. The grocery store wine with high alcohol content and great acidity in addition to being dry.
This makes the Chardonnay pair well with lean fish meats, seafood appetizers, and roast chicken.
8. Sherry – 15-20% (Spain) & Port – 20% (Portugal)
Sherry is a fortified wine that is used as an aperitif or on other occasions. It is fortified with high-proof brandy giving it a final alcohol content of between 15% to 20% by volume.
To classify Sherry from the driest and palest to the sweetest and darkest, we can follow the following order: fino, manzanilla, amontillado, oloroso, cream, and Pedro Ximénez.
Some dry Sherry can have up to 22% ABV. The time the brandy is added to the wine determines how dry or sweet the Sherry will be.
Port wine is also a fortified wine made by adding brandy to the wine giving it a high alcoholic content level of between 19% to 22% ABV. Therefore, both Port and Sherry have an ABV that is significantly higher than the 12% alcohol content which is considered the standard wine ABV in the United States.
Merlot is full-bodied wine because of its high alcohol content which is easy to drink due to the lower tannin content compared to other wines.
The Merlot wines produced in cooler regions like France often have 13–14% alcohol by volume (abv) while those produced from grapes grown in warmer climates such as Australia, California, and Chile can approach 14.5% ABV.
Other high-alcohol-content wines in the market today include:
- Marsala — 20% ABV (Sicily)
- Madiera — 20% ABV (Portugal)
White wine with the highest alcohol content
Fortified white wines such as Spaining Sherry, Ports, Portuguese Madeira, and French Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise are the white wine with the highest alcohol content with alcohol content being more than 14.5% by volume. However, there are several other wines including Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauternes, Pinot Gris, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc that have a high alcohol content of between 13.5% to 14.5% by volume including:
- Australian Chardonnay
- California Chardonnay
- California Pinot Gris
- California Sauvignon Blanc
- California Viognier
- Chilean Chardonnay
- French Sauternes
- South African Chenin Blanc
These wines come with high alcohol content as explained in the table above. As discussed, wines from grapes grown in warmer climates tend to be higher in alcohol content.
Moreover, picking riper grapes contributes to a higher sugar content which leads to higher alcohol content and fuller-bodied wines. The last thing that determines the alcohol content is the yeast used in making the wine.
This also applies to white wines.
The exception is on fortified wines whose ABV is determined by the amount of distilled liquor that is added to the wine.
What determines the price of the wine?
The wine alcohol content is typically measured in percentage alcohol by volume (ABV). Wines with higher alcohol content tend to have a higher price point because they are usually made from riper grapes and have higher sugar content.
Additionally, wines with higher alcohol content are often considered to be of higher quality and may come from more prestigious vineyards. However, there are some wines that can be high alcohol and still relatively inexpensive, such as fortified wines like Sherry and Port, which are typically around 20% ABV.
There are many factors that contribute to the price of a bottle of wine, such as the grape varietal, the region where the grapes were grown, and the production methods used.
Wines made from grapes that are grown in less favorable conditions, or that are more difficult to cultivate, tend to be more expensive. Additionally, wines that are produced in small quantities or that have a longer aging process may also be more expensive.
Cheap wines and Examples
There are many different types of wine that are considered to be “cheap” or budget-friendly in the United States. The exact price range can vary depending on location and other factors, but in general, some of the cheapest wines available in the US include:
- Boxed wine: These are often sold in large, 3-liter, or 5-liter boxes and can be a very cost-effective option for those on a budget.
- Jug wine: Wines that are sold in 1-gallon jugs, often from lesser-known wineries, can also be a good value.
- Wine from bulk: These are wines that are made from excess grapes from larger wineries and sold at lower prices.
- Private-label wines: Some grocery stores and liquor stores produce their own house-brand wines that are often less expensive than well-known brands.
- Popular low-cost wine varietals such as:
- White: Riesling, Moscato, Pinot Grigio, and Chenin Blanc
- Red: Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Shiraz/Syrah
Keep in mind that the taste and quality can vary greatly among the different types and brands of cheap wine.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cheapest strongest wine?
Fortified wines such as Port wine or Sherry is the cheapest strongest wine to take with alcohol content being 20% by volume on average.
If you are not going for fortified wines, you can consider high-alcohol-content red wine. Red wines have more alcohol by volume (ABV) than white wines.
What wine has the highest alcohol content?
As discussed above, fortified wines have the highest alcohol content. The four main fortified wines include Spaining Sherry, Ports, Portuguese Madeira, and French Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise whose ABV is more than 14.5% making them higher in alcohol content compared to the regular wines.
What wine gets you drunk fastest?
Red wines will get you drunk faster than white wines because of the higher alcohol content, more tannins, and higher concentrations of congeners. Higher concentrations of congeners can affect alcohol metabolism making the body eliminate alcohol slowly.
We have taken you through the 30 cheapest wines with the highest alcohol content and given you tips on their varietal and why they have high alcohol content. We can use the article to classify wines from the lightest to the strongest in terms of alcohol content.
We hope that from this article, you can easily make up your mind to get a quality wine rather than quantity. Please leave us a comment in the section below on whether you feel empowered by the content in this article.