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Wine On A Budget: Oak Creek

March 3rd, 2010

Happy Hour

It’s Happy Hour today at MyMoneyMinute! My wife, The Lovely Miss H, really enjoys her vino, as I’m sure many of you do too. In case you hadn’t noticed though, wine can expensive! Nothing breaks a budget like a taste for the finer things in life. Well fear not, because I’m starting a new feature for our little website called “Happy Hour”. The MyMoneyMinute Happy Hour will feature fine beverages and snacks that are frugal on price, but not on taste.

Today’s Selection: Oak Creek Merlot

Oak Creek Vineyards are based out of California’s vast Central Valley, with vineyards in the cities of Livermore & Ripon. We tried Oak Creek based on a friend’s suggestion, and it didn’t let us down. I’m not a vinophile, I pretty much distinguish wine between red & white, LOL. But what I can distinguish between is good & nasty, and this wine wasn’t nasty; in fact it was pretty decent!

Quality vs. Cost

The age-old question is do you go with quality or price? Name brand or generic? Nike or New Balance? Krispy Kreme or 7-Eleven? You get the point, but here’s my take: we all value products differently, and tend to over-value products we are particularly fond of. The trick to managing your budget is to find the best quality without sacrificing your budget. Believe it or not, this compromise is almost always possible.

Cost Is Exponential; Quality Is Subtle

I love basketball. If my budget permitted, I would have season tickets to the Spurs. But I don’t have thousands to spend each year on basketball. The compromise? I buy the NBA League Pass, and can watch every game for less than what it would cost to attend one game. Oh, and I put in a 114″ projector screen in my house on the cheap. So unless I’m sitting lower bowl, I’d rather stay home and watch it anyway!

What’s my point? At some point, the cost of an item will eventually out-pace it’s matching quality. Would the quality be better to have season tickets? You bet! Is that Quality of live basketball worth paying 50 times the Cost of watching every game at home? For me, it’s a no. Compare a brand new $60,000 Lexus to a pre-owned, three-year old $15,000 Toyota. Is the Quality of the ride four times greater? No, you are paying for luxury status, and a new car smell, but ultimately it’s the same engine and body with different labels and extra added features.

Back To Happy Hour!

Currently, Oak Creek wine is on sale at CVS, $10 for 3 bottles – $3.33 each! This wine may not be as good as a $50 bottle of wine, but the Quality is enough where I don’t care to justify paying 15 times more in Cost, because I won’t get 15 times the Quality in return. In fact, this taste survey gave it decent marks. From what I’ve been told, the Cabernet is even better, so try that first. I would have, but they were sold out. Obviously, somebody found out about Oak Creek’s Quality before I did!

Next Selection

Readers, help me and the MyMoneyMinute community at-large!

Have you tried Oak Creek wine? What budget wine would you recommend?  Give me some good options and I may feature your selection in a future “Happy Hour” segment.


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