And how much does price play into which wines we choose?

By Mike Pomranz
Updated November 07, 2019

If your biggest concern when buying wine is the price, you're not a cheapskate, you're normal—at least according to a new poll on Americans' wine-drinking habits from YouGov. Price topped the list of factors people said they considered when buying vino, with 66 percent of those polled saying cost was one of the primary three things they considered.

Brand was the second most important factor, with 36 percent saying that who the wine was from was also one of their top three considerations. Then came alcohol—with 24 percent of people apparently trying not to get too drunk (or maybe trying to get extra drunk?).

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Interestingly, varietal came in as the sixth most important factor, slipping behind reviews and even region, which might explain why the top red and white varietals in the poll are often both considered controversial. Merlot garnered 19 percent of the vote to land the distinction of voters' top red: Though Merlot can be an excellent variety, the grape's reputation has continued to suffer since Sideways' protagonist famously badmouthed the wine in the movie. Cabernet Sauvignon came in second with 18 percent of the vote, followed by Pinot Noir (12 percent), and Zinfandel (12 percent).

As for whites, Moscato topped the list with 23 percent of respondents calling it their favorite, despite many people being turned off by the wine's typically sweet character. Chardonnay came in second with 17 percent support, followed by Riesling (14 percent), Pinot Grigio/Gris (13 percent), and Sauvignon Blanc (11 percent).

But honestly, by these respondents' own accord, you might not want to take their word for it on which wines are good and bad. The majority—57 percent—said they weren't confident that they could distinguish between a $5 bottle of wine and a $100-plus bottle of wine in a blind taste test—which probably also explains why 68 percent said they typically aim to spend $20 or less when buying a bottle. It all comes back to price, apparently!