MONEY

How to spend less on a great bottle of wine

Why it’s a buy: During the boom, California producers boosted prices on luxury wines more than some vintners elsewhere. But with high-end wine sales down and 2007 Cabernets hitting stores now, merchants are knocking 20% to 40% off the retail price of ’05 bottles — even though that vintage was terrific and those Cabs will just get better over the next few years, says industry consultant Jon Fredrikson.

The strategy: Ask your local merchant about deals on wines from small family-owned producers. They’re most likely to cut prices. For example, the well-regarded 2005 Ruston La Maestra Cabernet Sauvignon (right) sold for $50 a bottle in April; today you can find it for as little as $30.

Save even more: Find the best deals among thousands of retailers at snooth.com and wine-searcher.com. Most states allow wine shipments to consumers, but check the seller’s website for details.

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