Become a sommelier on a budget

Cheap wine recommendations for university students

Photo Sheena Macmillan

During the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, my family and I needed something to keep us sane.

Lo and behold, we stumbled upon a fun new hobby: wine tasting. Needless to say, wine tasting definitely made quarantine a lot easier to enjoy for my family, and I absolutely loved it. 

Now that COVID-19 restrictions have eased and my family has been spending less time at home, my parents are far less willing to fund my wine drinking habits, meaning I need to pay for my own beverages. Now, I want to share what I’ve learned with other university students who want to try new drinks without ending up broke in the process. 

The first thing to consider is that even for something under $10, you are entitled to wine that doesn’t taste like gasoline. Secondly, to get the cheapest wines, always buy them from the SAQ because the tax is already included, so what you see is what you get in terms of price. Here are my suggestions for wines you can find that both taste great and won’t break the bank. 

1. Tisdale Pinot Noir (SAQ code 14023297)

$9.10 at the SAQ

This is a light and very fruity red wine from California. When you drink it, you should be able to taste notes of cherry, raspberry, plum, and vanilla if you aren’t too drunk already. This wine is best enjoyed with cheese and crackers, or just a bag of chips. 

2. Fontana di Papa (SAQ code 711)

$8.80 at the SAQ

This white wine comes all the way from Lazio, Italy, in 1L bottles and costs less than $10. With its floral notes and sharp tang, it is super easy to drink the whole thing! This wine is excellent when paired with anything deep-fried.  

3. Lindeman’s Bin 85 Pinot Grigio (SAQ code 13993929)

$10.90 at the SAQ

This wine comes from Australia and goes with pretty much anything. It’s delicate with notes of peach and other white fruits. It’s not super sweet though, so it won’t give you an awful headache the next day. Trust me when I say, the best way to have this wine is with bagels and lox for brunch. 

We’ve had enough whining, so cheers to the start of your wine journey instead! 

This article originally appeared in The Money Issue, published November 2, 2021.