$2.50 Wine

About a week after Aldi opened in Greensboro, we discovered WINKING OWL. For $2.50 a bottle, you can choose between merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and chardonnay. I’ve drank gallons of this stuff by now. Aldi is originally a European discount grocery store chain (I think German). And if there is one thing we are missing in the USA that they do have in Europe, it’s CHEAP wine that doesn’t make you ralph. Thank you Aldi for this piece of Europe. WINKING OWL is absolutely the best value wine I’ve ever had. There are countless $10-$15 wines that are nasty… but Winking Owl somehow manages to be our household’s table wine at $2.50 per bottle. Cheers.

211 Responses to “$2.50 Wine”

  1. Kevin O'Mara Says:

    This … uh … man. See, I worked in the wine industry in New Orleans (retail and wholesale distributing) and drank a lot of wine, and I never found a wine under $5.00 that I could tolerate. I am not a snob by any stretch but I find it hard to believe that this is potable.

  2. Jim in Greensboro Says:

    Kevin, before dismissing Winking Owl wine, please listen to this short true story. A few weeks ago, we attended a dinner where each person brought his or her own wine. Of the four couples at our table, I would say that three brought wines costing more than $10 each. The other couple brought Winking Owl merlot ($2.50 at Audi); everybody had a taste of the Winking Owl and each couple echoed: “It tastes better than what I brought.” Honest. Have you heard of “2 Buck Chuck?” It’s sold only at Trader Joe’s (a chain of upscale grocery stores found nationally in the largest cities), which was founded by the chairman of Audi (of Europe). And interestingly, it was I who introduced the couple (with the Winking Owl) to Audi’s; today, I bought my first Winking Owl Merlot and plan to open it tonight - but first I have to go buy one of the vacuum pumps because the bottle will last me a week. I’m already wishing they would sell a Sharaz.

    Best wishes to all.

  3. Kevin O'Mara Says:


    No, really, when I say I worked in the wine industry I mean it. For three years I tried wine of all (price and vintage) ranges, and I haven’t found a wine under $5.00 that I can tolerate. And again, I’m not trying to be a wine snob. And yes, I’ve heard of Two-Buck Chuck and Bronco Wine Co. and all their legal troubles and … and and and.

    And all I’m saying is hey, you know what? If it tastes good to you then go ahead and drink it. I’ll be glad to try it, but not on my own dime.

    Also, the more wine you drink the more you’ll find there’s no preservation method (save for some complex inert gas pump dispenser wine-bar quality setup) that will make an open bottle of wine taste good for a week. At $2.50 a pop just drink a glass today, a glass tomorrow, and toss the rest. I use a vacuum pump to make sure it’s still drinkable the next day and that’s about as far as it goes.

    Last words: skip this Chard / Cab / Merlot crap that the US is pushing on all of us. Find a wine store, find the Spanish section, and pick up a $5.00 Rioja. Chances are it’ll deliver more flavor, complexity, and body and be actually interesting compared to the Holy Trinity gack that we are taught we are supposed to buy.

  4. admin Says:

    I appresiate the passionLet me throw in my buck ‘o five. (or two fifty in this case).

    I’ve had some excellent wine. I’ve had some ass wine. Honestly, as much as I drink, I’m an extremely “casual” drinker in that I don’t claim to know much about quality other than what my untrained palette tells me. That said, I have toured wineries, been to plenty of tastings, and have even had a couple of glasses of those ridiculous priced wines ($200+ a bottle stuff).

    Jim, you’re absolutely right. I’ve heard several stories of the Winking Owl to a wine tasting trick. To an untrained wino (like myself, and 99% of the population), it’s a HUGE shock that you don’t get the instant headache or have to hold your mouth funny to swallow a $2.50 wine. I love the stuff for that reason. I’ll admit that novelty is part of the fun and the fact that you can serve literally gallons of it at a party for next to nothing.

    Kevin, that rocks that you were in the wine industry… I’ve always thought I would enjoy importing wine or coffee. Thanks for the input. I’ll pick up the cheapest Rioja I can find next time I’m at the store and post my thoughts.

  5. Sara Says:

    Oh, Kevin, come on, just try it. All you have to lose is two-fifty and being right. I can certainly understand your skepticism, and I also could appreciate your wine-biz wisdom (or at least I could be a sarcastic bitch and say I could), but seriously, taste it and see what you think. And then post and let us know.

    For those who don’t know what Aldi’s all about, it has a very unusual business model and sells all sorts of things for way cheaper than what ought to be possible. They mostly sell just their weird store-brand products, some of which are surprisingly good. They seem to do a lot of their own importing from Europe and form their own relationships with domestic producers, rather than going through importer/distributor middlemen who’d be skimming profit off the transaction. So basically, Aldi’s just weird. Their pricing is not normal, and some of the stuff they sell for cheaper than the cheapest price you could find anywhere else is really better than the pricey brands at other stores. (I’m a fan of their refrigerated salsa and organic blue corn baked tortilla chips.) So don’t expect a $2.50 Aldi product to necessarily be of the same quality as a typical $2.50 product.

    For Aldi-virgins considering their first trip, there are a couple of things that are good to know about ahead of time. Bring a quarter, and if you’re cheap, bring your own bags. Rather than paying some guy to move shopping carts around the parking lot all day, they have a system where you have to put a quarter into a slot on the cart to release it, so that you’ll be inclined to put it back where you found it to get your quarter back. Kind of a hassle, but cheaper for all involved, see? Same thing with shopping bags. Rather than making them “free” and hiding their cost in what you’re buying, they charge 5 cents or something. Better for the environment if it makes some people re-use some bags, and cheaper for me, since I do. Both of these are things that I saw done at some regular supermarkets in Europe and thought, “That makes sense. Why don’t they do that here?” Aldi does.

    So I googled ‘Winking Owl wine’ and here is what I learned:
    1. This blog is the third search result in the list. I think congratulations are in order!
    2. Turns out that Winking Owl is produced for Aldi by Gallo, that giant wine company everybody’s heard of.
    3. There’s some schmancy restaurant in Chicago that serves it and charges NINE BUCKS A GLASS! I want in that business.

  6. Kevin O'Mara Says:

    I never said I wouldn’t try it. I only expressed doubts. Bring me a bottle and we’ll do some blind testing.

  7. Larry Wise Says:

    Just bought a few bottles of Winking Owl while over in Charlotte this weekend. Had it at a party Monday night… WOW. Went over great and these were wine people. So…where can I get it in the Knoxville, TN area? Any idea? Or do I need to go back to Aldi’s? Thanks.

  8. dshular Says:

    Larry… as far as I know, there is no place in Knoxville, TN to get it. I’m originally from Knoxville and still go there pretty often. Tennessee wine laws being as they are (i.e… you can only get it in Liquor stores), I would be very suprised if ANYONE carried this. In fact, I suspect it is bottled exclusivly for Aldi. Just buy everything they have on stock when you visit Charlotte I guess is your best bet…. you won’t make the guy like me happy when I stop by there on a Friday afternoon to pickup a few bottles and they are ALL gone (which has happened), but c’est la vie.

  9. Daniel Anderson Says:

    I bought a bottle of this winking Owl merlot 2 days ago at Aldis in K.C M.O. I drank the bottle over the corse of the evining, and know I have been on the toilet with violent diahrea. Die owl

  10. bwillett Says:

    Daniel- Maybe you picked up a flu bug or had an allergic reaction. We drink a lot of wines and are always trying new (hopefully inexpensive) bottles. Last summer we picked up a bottle of Winking Owl merlot at the local Kroger Food Store in Galveston. Gotta tell ya- absolutely the best merlot for the buck we have ever had! We went back to the store and purchased 10- YES 10 CASES of Winking Owl and tried to get even more. The store informed me that they receive different types of promotional vinos and that once the supply received is gone, that’s it. Much to my dismay, I have not been able to locate it anywhere, and we do not have an Aldi’s. If anyone knows where and/or how to locate and order this wine, we are definitely in the market.

  11. Gilberto Plaza Says:

    Man, I thought Winking Owl was my little secret! Sounds like everyone will soon be turned on to the Owl. (sigh) o well, the price will probably go up to the $5.00 range. Still would be worth it.

  12. dshular Says:

    The response to my Winking Owl post has been suprising. Gilberto, I hope my silly little blog dosn’t spoil the secret for the chosen few who knew about Winking Owl before the news hit the blogosphere.

  13. Dawn Says:

    I have to say, when our ALDI opened here in NC, I was loving it, but could not believe they had WINE??!!! C’Mon…nasty, right? I used to be a wine snob, but then I became a mom, quit working outside the home and spending money became a big deal! SO I bought a bottle…(chardonnay- I love red, but always get migraines…for the earlier poster!) IT WAS NOT BAD AT ALL!!!! Not Kendall-Jackson reserve, or even Mondavi reserve, but darn good. An when you pay $2.49 for a bottle of it, somehow, it tastes a little better. And it’s true-we served some at a party and even our foodie/winey friends thought it was surprisingly good!

  14. John in Atlanta Says:

    Wow, I’m glad someone decided to open up a discussion on Winking Owl! I just tried my first bottle of their Merlot from Aldi’s this weekend and I loved it! I was suprised how decent it was for $2.50 a bottle! They say they add hints of “black cherry and mixed berries” to it, that makes it better. I was fixing some Italian food tonight (spaghetti & meatballs w/ mushrooms, and fresh bread and salad) and I had to have more Winking Owl Merlot! Well, sadly, the Aldi down here closes at 8:00, so I missed it! Crushed, I went to another grocery store and found a similar bottle of Merlot w/ hints of “cherry and ripe plum” made by Gallo, and sure enough, I read here that Winking Owl may also be produced by Gallo, under a different label! This wine isn’t bad, but it cost a bit more and is not as good as Winking Owl. I’m not a wine expert or a wine ’snob’, but I know what I like when I taste it - and I know ‘wine people’ would laugh at a bottle of wine that goes for $2.50 a bottle, but hey, who says they have to know what you paid for it if you’re serving it at a party? Most of my friends are beer drinkers anyway!
    Aldi IS an odd type of grocery store, but you get used to it in a hurry! They have decent items and it’s a blast to walk through and look at all the new products for cheap!
    (I’m also into fine beers, especially German Wheat brews (like Weinstaphaner, Paulaner, Erdinger), if anyone wants to discuss those too!) Great discussion board, guys! Glad I found you!
    John in Atlanta

  15. dranktank Says:

    Thanks for the comments!
    John, of course we like beer here. If fact, if you go to the main page (click on DrankTank at the top of the page), you’ll see the categories on the right hand side of the page… I post more about beer than anything else.
    By the way, I picked up a variety case of ALDI beer imported from Germany around Christmas time (I forget the brand name now). Not bad at all for cheap beer. And the best thing about Aldi beer is they come in brown pop-top longnecks, with really cheap glue on the labels. Just a little hot water and they slide right off… perfect for a homebrewer to reuse.

  16. Laura Says:

    I saw some Winking Owl wine when I was in Aldi today and after reading this I’m going to go back and buy all three varieties.

  17. Grace Says:

    Wow! I will admit I am a wine snob, however—I’ve been drinking Winking Owl Chardonnay for about a year and a half. I find some vintages better than others. Loved the 2003, hated the 2004, am liking the 2005. Winking Owl tastes good the day after you open it, too. As long as you pump it with a wine pump and stopper. I am a Chardonnay lover, and every once in awhile, I want something different and cheap. Winking Owl is better than some $10 Chards I’ve had. It’s by no means the buttery, oaky Chardonnay bomb I love from the Carneros region of Napa, but for a great drink on the patio when it’s 90 degrees wine, this can’t be beat! Heck, you can buy many of them for $2.49 each and even if you don’t drink it all and dump some, you won’t feel guilty! I have to go back and try the Cabernet Sauvignon. One bottle is cheaper than a beer in a bar. Where else are you going to find that. Plus rumor has it that it’s made by our long standing friends at Gallo. And they have come a long way since the 70s. Their wines are top notch. GO FOR IT!!!

  18. Dausman Says:

    The Winking Owl wines have to be some of the best tasting wine bargains we are able to find in West Columbia,SC. I first purchased a few bottles of Chardonnay to give as a “thank you” gift for a new acquaintance and added a few more to the cart for my wife who appreciated wine more than I did at the time. She told me how much she was enjoying the wine and would not believe the $2.49 price until I took her to Aldi. At the time I preferred a red over a white wine so when I purchased more Chadonnay I got Merlot and Cabernet for myself..What’s to lose? I figured I could use it in a nice rich red pasta sauce or hearty beef stew if it was not to my liking….none has made it into any dish I have prepared in the two and a half years we have been drinking W. O. wines. I am no wine expert by anyone’s imagination but I do know what tastes good and all three of W.O.s wine tastes good…I have even developed a great fondness for the Chard (like my wife) The 2.49 inexpensive cost makes all three taste even better and what tasty carriers of the ingredient that brings on such blissful relaxation.
    Aldi’s forte is quality and low cost..tell only best friends so we don’t have any price increase. All the positive statements in previous responses seem valid to me. Looking forward to another “Winkie” night.

  19. Kel Says:

    Ok, I took one sip of a glass of Winking Owl and dumped the rest down the drain - I fear the EPA will be knocking on my door soon. I am no wine connaisseur by any means but my experience with the Winking Owl was an awful one. But to each his/her own! Drink on….

  20. OmahaJim Says:

    We just went to Aldi and picked up some more Winking Owl merlot and its some pretty nice stuff. especially for the price. when friends come over we just pop a few bottles and set out the glasses without guilt. its got just a little more bite than our other favorite cheap red Pacific Peak merlot.

  21. Lori Says:

    You just answered my question, Who makes this stuff? I was trying to find a winking owl website.
    I will agree it’s pretty good and I have tried alot of wines. I am amazed that they can bottle it for $2.49! I gotta wonder how they make any money selling it so cheap! (Not that I am complaining!) I’ve tried all three and would recommend any of them. I, too, would love for them to put out a shiraz!

  22. Cathy Peyton Says:

    I bought this wine on a whim and was pleasantly surprised by it’s quality. Wines in the 5-15 dollar range of my sampling are well below it. It does not have the telltale vinegar taste of most cheapo wines. Since I have a low budget and a taste for wine, it sure suits my needs. I’d love to have some more wine experts review this wine without knowing it’s modest origins to see what a consensus of reviews says. But for me alone, I give it a huge thumbs up - esp the merlot!

  23. Todd Says:

    Was just opening another bottle of our Winking Owl Cabernet and decided to search the web to see if anyone else enjoys it as much as we do. I’m happy to see so many have found this little bargin. We were quite suprised how much we like it for the price. We’ve tried all 3 wines and like them all. They are definately best once they have a chance to breathe. We also find this wine at ALDI’s and have yet to find it anywher else.

  24. jill Says:

    We bought our 1st bottle of the Owl today. We are enjoying it in our Waterford wine glasses. It is quite good! If we don’t wake up w major headaches tomorrow we will probably go back and buy the Chardonnay! Our 1st trip to Aldi in a few years, too. Yes, it is weird, but it is cheap. That we like! Holland, MI. Leave it to those wacky Germans. Whooo-whooo!

  25. mary Says:

    I was running a Google search on Winking Owl wine (just trying to find out what winery produces it) and found your Blog.
    To all the nay-sayers and poo-poo’ers on cheap wine, just try it. you’ll be surprised. I’m not saying it beats some of the finer wines, but it’s actually quite pleasant and I don’t get the headaches that I have gotten from wines that cost $15-$20 a bottle.
    I served this wine to my sister, who I would call an expert (her palate is far better than mine and thinks nothing of dropping $80+ on a bottle of good wine) loves this wine and now serves it at parties. Of course, I doubt she tells her guests she’s serving wine that in Ohio costs only $3.29 per bottle. The only problem she has with it is when someone asks her what kind of wine she’s serving and where can they buy it. (They obviously are not Aldi’s customer’s)
    I’m a red-drinker myself, the cabernet is wonderful, especially if you give it 30 minutes to breathe. I’d still like to find out where it’s produced if anyone knows the answer to that.

  26. Darren Says:

    Funny story, my mother-in-law was buying winking owl as a cooking wine for a long time that was until sometime last year when my father-in-law opened a bottle for himself to drink. Then he introduced it to my wife; one thing lead to another and now the whole family is using it as a regular table wine. I’m no wine expert but to me this stuff tastes pretty good and for 2.50 a bottle its hard to beat. I would be interested in seeing how it would rate in a blind taste test with some real “wine snob” types.

  27. andrea Says:

    Now that I’m a parent of two kids and have to really watch my spending, I tried a bottle of Winking Owl last summer, thinking that if I couldn’t stand it, I could at least use the rest of the bottle as a cooking wine. It was surprisingly good, and now it’s my family’s table wine. When we have guests we get a bottle or two of something more expensive, but when the expensive stuff is gone, our guests do get the Winking Owl, and so far nobody has complained.

    For dinner today I have a big pot of boeuf en daube simmering on the stove- for the wine in the daube I used a bottle of Winking Owl merlot- when it’s finally done cooking and I get Sunday dinner on the table, we’re going to open a bottle of Winking Owl cabernet to go with it.

    And by the way, I got everything for the daube but the herbs and spices (which are dirt cheap at the dollar store) at Aldi– beef, carrots, celery, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, garlic and potatoes. We’re going to have a heck of a Sunday dinner (with leftovers for lunch tomorrow) for about $12.

    Of course, I would like to know how Aldi can sell it so cheaply. The back of the bottle says “vinted and bottled by winking owl vineyards Modesto CA”

    I’d prefer to spend my money on food and wine at a store where the profits would ultimately end up in the USA, not Germany, but since there aren’t any similarly-priced stores around here in Grant County, WI, Aldi it is for now.

    Andrea (off to check the daube now)

  28. andrea Says:

    I just found an article- Winking Owl is made by Gallo:


  29. barbara moore Says:

    Where may I purchase winking owl in fort Lauderdale, florida? Heard it was better than 3 buck chuck…

  30. Sylvia Says:

    I discovered Winking Owl on a recent trip to Ashville NC. I would like to find out where I can buy it in the Jacksonville, FL area or who might be willing to ship it here. It is great and all who tasted what I bought were very impressed.

  31. John,Demorest,GA Says:

    I have 3 buck chuck ship from Reno. Now Winking Owl is as good as 3 buck chuck,NO its better…
    Thanks ALDI’s

  32. jim lark livonia, MI Says:

    recently started drinking a glass of red before
    bed in response to the many articles about the
    health properties of red wine (the skins of red grapes
    are the secret)… tried some two/three buck chuck from
    trader joe’s and 11.00 (4 liter) livingston cellars, both
    kind of harsh, sorta bitter, etc.

    saw winking owl at aldi’s (where i buy nice lean bacon for
    $1.99 per lb)
    and tried a bottle (at 2.49) of the merlot, it was surprisingly
    good, mellow, just enough dryness, no after taste, went
    back today and bought 10 more bottles and three of the
    cabernet-sauvignon for a trial, have a hunch i’ll enjoy it

  33. Chris Biagini Says:

    Glad to have found this discussion! We have an Italian restaurant here in Alexandria, Virginia that advertises a $25 dinner for two, including a bottle of wine. I always wondered how they did it, and now I know. What’s funny is that I’ve never heard anyone complain they didn’t like it, though I’m sure I’ve dined with a few that would scoff at drinking a two-and-a-half dollar bottle of wine.

    Now I just need to find a store that sells it.

  34. Brian Says:

    I am totally baffled. I was looking up winking owl on google to see if it were even still in business or if they had just sold all their stock dirt cheap to ALDI. This is the most boring wine I have ever tasted in my life, it has NO flavor. How can you rave about it so much? I guess if you enjoy drinking dilluted nasty wine that was made under a prison cot. What a waste of $2.50.

  35. sj martin Says:

    Kevin O’Mera,

    The world is notnwaiing for your mature opinion on wine and love.
    Basically, your opinion has no value, even to you–that happens
    when you offer an opinion without the substances. You are embarassing–Maybe a 13-year-old tests your own benchmark for maturity at 17. But not Winking Owl at 27.

  36. Kevin O'Mara Says:

    sj martin:

    I’m not sure I can understand what you’re saying. Regardless, I’m not changing my opinion.

  37. Ken Says:

    Ok, I finally tried Winking Owl wine after finding it for 2.49 at Aldi. My taste buds aren’t lying to me either, it’s a good bottem, cheapo wine. Some sites are saying it’s made by big california winery.

    I’ve had good wine and bad wine so far and this Winking Owl isn’t that bad.

    Makes a good table wine. An affordable everyday wine for anyone.

    Aldi has good priced German Beer also. Fairly good ratings on Ratebeer.com, but than dudweiser!


  38. Stephanie Says:

    Kevin O’Mara,

    I’m sure there’s 2.50 worth of change in your couch or in a change jar somewhere - of all people, you should know better than to judge a wine by it’s cover. You don’t have an opinion because you have nothing to base it upon. You only have an assumption. Why not think outside your expensive box, relax your stubbornness and create an opinion and try the winking owl? You say you don’t mean to be a wine snob - yet that describes you entirely.

  39. Kevin O'Mara Says:

    Look, Stephanie, I’m not being a snob out of ignorance. I worked in a wine store for years. I have tasted wine at every conceivable price level. I can assure you I have never had a wine under $4.99 that even came CLOSE to tasting like wine. Forgive me if I don’t rush out to be disappointed for the hundredth time.

  40. John Lawrence Says:

    Are you afraid to try The Merlot because you are afraid you might be wrong? Please give it a try and give us your expert opinion. Thanks

  41. dranktank Says:

    I felt I should step in an respond to the overwhelming response this post has brought. Kevin, thanks for your comments. I’m really amazed at how much people will defend Winking Owl. It is GOOD in the sense that it is drinkable and you can get it for so cheap. Kevin… I’m going to try to swing by your town sometime around Christmas and I’ll see if I can get a bottle to you (the $2.50, that’s on me).

    Also, If you’re reading this, I’ll assume you found this website by googling “WINKING OWL WINE” or something along those wines. Welcome. Please look around at my other incoherent ramblings about other drinks I’ve drank. And by all means, comment.

  42. TODD Says:

    I enjoy the fact that i found a Winking Owl blog of all things. My wife and i are summer of 06 discovers of winking owl and love it. I cant believe that they can even bottle it for such a cheap price.

  43. Fairbanks Says:

    I have been drinking Winking Owl for about 8 months now. Great wine value. Just as good as most 10$-15$ bottles from World Market.

  44. Zygmunt Says:

    After replenishing my supply at Aldi’s today with three whole cases of winking owl cabernet, I couldn’t help but be curious about the beverage that I now purchase in such great volume.
    Winking owl is not high quality, but it is a perfectly suitable table wine. The cabernet in particular has the nice bite and strong body required to clear the palate over dinner and that is all I require from day to day.

    After living a few months in Argentina, I became accustomed to having a glass of wine with dinner every day, a habit that’s very difficult to sustain with prices in the United States. Thus in our country, the beverage is popularly associated with snobs and the upper classes.
    Argentina is one of the wine drinking countries. Everyone has it in their house and for no more than a 4-6 pesos a bottle. It wasn’t great or refined wine, but it was always very pleasant with an evening meal. Just while taking a bus trip to the north of the country, they served me some wine with dinner, but in a styrofoam cup.
    Cheap wine is no sin, nor need it necessarily be of inferior quality. It’s just a daily drink. Nothing more. You don’t see people getting overly preoccupied about their milk or apple juice. Winking owl can’t measure up to a Malbec from the Mendoza highlands or a fancy Napa Valley Cab, but its function in life is altogether different than the fine wines that one uses for special occasions.

  45. T. Halton Says:

    Thanks Kevin,
    You made this blog interesting enough that my wife stuck with it all the way through. Now that she realizes other people drink this stuff and like it she may return to it once in awhile and save me some $$$. She admits it’s good but keeps drifting back to the $7 to $22 Chardonnays. My big mistake was leaving the Aldi receipt in the bag after I brought home a couple bottles last year. It was great wine before she saw the sales slip.


  46. Kevin O'Mara Says:


    Your comment, more than anyone else’s, has piqued my interest. Someone bring me a bottle of this stuff to a blind tasting.

  47. Jerry Barnett Says:

    I usually buy cheaper wines, less than about $15 per bottle. Kroger stores near here (Dallas, TX) occasionally have truck load wines at $3 per bottle. Some are terrible, some so-so. I picked up a couple of bottles of the Winking Owl to try, not much risk at that price. After tasting, I returned to the store and filled a grocery cart. As I sit here, I am finishing my last glass of the Chardonnay. Got on the web to find sources of more. Mine is 2004. Don’t know if it is consistent in taste, but what I got is very good at any price. I would pay much more. I am no connoisseur of wines (either), but I know what I like. Found this blog searching for a source for more.
    J. B.

  48. Kevin Says:

    We went to Aldis (first time in 10 years) as they had inexpensive strawberries, pineapples, nuts, etc and I saw the winking owl wines for $2.50. I thought the bottle was cool so I bought some. I have had high dollar bottles ( Premier Cru Merlot $125) of wines and low range ($12-15.00) bottles. I opened the winking and let it breath for 30 min or so I was really surprised by the taste, I would serve to my friends without any hesitation.

  49. steve Says:

    I think the owl is wincing, not winking. I believe he’s about to cough up one of those big furry pellets.

  50. Jeano Says:

    funny - after two years of enjoying W.O. I cannot believe I finally looked it up to find this blog. Great house wine I don’t have to feel guilty about drinking alone (because of cost). I couldn’t tell the secret of my house wine to my wine snob friends for a long, long time - but I wouldn’t be suprised to see them at an Aldi buying it with their sunglasses on (not wanting to be recognized of course!) My in-laws from South Africa have also chosen this to be their favorite American house wine as well. I guess my secret is finally out!

  51. Barbara Says:

    We discovered WO about 6 months ago and I have learned that my Aldi store gets delivery Wednesdays around 10 a.m. and I am there to stock up every other week! I was bummed this last weel to discover that the wine has gone to a whopping $2.99 per bottle. Interesting to know it’s produced by Gallo.

    I was buying a bottle of Kendall Jackson Chard every week and I honestly can drink the WO just as well. Anything that doesn’t give me a blinding headache after 2 glasses and tastes good is fine with me!

    It’s so great to find a bargain like that!

  52. Jeremy Says:

    My ceramics professor of all people insisted that I head on down to Aldi to get a few bottles of the Owl, as he popped open two bottles this fall and I thought it was pretty damn smooth. Once we polished those bottles off, he told me the Lexus’s and Mercedes were pulling into aldi to get the stuff, and it was only $2.50 a bottle.

    needless to say, my wife and I had two bottles of the chard this weekend with guests and it was a hit, and I’m on glass two of the evening of the Cab… it sure beats that $4.99 bottles of nasty barefoot wine found at Kroger with all the fake gold medals printed on the side… that stuff is FOUL.

    (I actually enjoy fine wines, but as a student and wine drinker, dinner doesn’t always get the silver oak if ya know what i mean)

  53. Mark T Says:

    OK - I found a bottle of this buried behind other wines I have. It’s a 2005 Chardonnay. I am a red wine drinker for the most part - I honestly have spent anywhere fro $3 - $80 on wine - I’ve had some surprises (as far a good/bad) on both ends of the spectrum.

    As for this WO.. it’s OK. Not great, not terrible.. it’s OK. I don’t know that I would rush out to stock a bomb shelter with it but, it’s March 26th, I’m in Chicago, it’s 73 degrees (can you believe it!), I chilled the wine, opened it and … not bad - the mix of spring, great weather. chirping birds and chilled wine may be influencing me a bit and, if so.. so be it. In the end it’s all about the experience anyway. Besides, I am out herestudying for a certification test in June and needed a break - not sure if I am enjoying the wine or that it is making the studying more enjoyable.. in any case (pun intended) this wine is a notch up from other wines in the “single digit” price category… now.. back to my studying!

  54. Diane Says:

    I have been drinking Winking Owl Merlot wine for 2 years. I would recommend it to anyone.
    The fact that it is only $2.50 should not scare people away.
    It is just one great find!

  55. Aaron Says:

    Winking Owl Merlot is fine, the Chardonnay is nice (not very oaky at all which is a refreshing surprise), but the Cab should be avoided.

  56. Miguel Says:

    Found a bottle of the 2005 merlot stuff in my parents basement. Drank a bottle with some friends. The stuff isn’t bad, and if it’s available for as cheap as 2.50, I’d say go for it. Will it please everyone? No. But I really don’t think that’s the point.

  57. dubrub Says:

    I LOVE winking owl - my boyfriend calls it winking bowl - but it costs me 2.99 at Aldi - but then everything is expensive in MI.
    I would love to try 2 buck chuck (Charles Shaw) just saw it on the news - but you cannot have wine shipped to MI - another monopoly - would like to know somewhere in MI you can by 2 buck chuck.

  58. Michael Says:

    I have tried this wine and have discoverd it as quite good. I wonder how this wine would taste if it was aged for 10 to 20 years.

  59. Brian Says:

    I would think pretty damn good, good question. Anyone else have an opinion on this.

  60. Rose Says:

    I was introduced to Winking Owl (Merlot) for the first time in Indianapolis a few weeks ago. I’d switched to Chianti a few years back after one too many Merlot headaches. I found the WO’s Merlot surprisingly smooth and great tasting — especially for $2.99 a bottle! I’m not a wine connoisseur, don’t need to become one. But I’d been looking for a decent table wine. Now that I’m sold on Winking Owl, I’d like to buy it in northern New Jersey. Did locate places in south Jersey and eastern PA. For the price, I’m prepared to hike to get it!

  61. Steve Says:

    Wow! I picked up a bottle of WO Cab at Aldi and I’/ve been afraid to open it due to the low $2.49 price I paid for it. I decided to Google WO for more info and found this blog. Cant wait to try it tonight!!

  62. Steve Says:

    Just baked a loaf of bread for dinner…so I decided to pop the cork. This WO Cabrenet is VERY good. I’m a Robert Mondavi guy but this is very good. It goes down very smooth with very little after taste. Is it as good as Robert Mondavi at $14 a bottle? I’d have to say YES. Time to go back to ALDI and stock up for the winter. I must say I’m very pleasantly surprised. This would be great if you were entertaining….you could buy 10 bottles for under $25! Geesh….


  63. Cheryl P from Niles IL Says:

    On New Years Eve, a few ladies and I decided to do a taste testing at the party with a few bottles of red wine. I’m not surprise the Cabernet Winking Owl won, hands down to $10-$15 bottles. We sent my husband to Aldi before they closed to purchase more for that evening.
    I recently discovered the Shiraz and it is right up there with the cabernet. Cheers! and enjoy for less$$$!

  64. Joel Says:

    have to agree with the majority. Me and my girlfriend have been drinking winking owl for a couple months now. It has become our favorite wine, we really like the merlot. the price is great too!!

  65. JYoda Says:

    Apparently they make a Shiraz now… haven’t tried it yet.

  66. alpcat Says:

    For the Mee-chi-gan poster. Two buck chuck is available at Trader Joe’s if you have one nearby. I get ours in Ann Arbor.

  67. Matt McCann Says:

    I just relocated to North Carolina from Cincinnati. I’m a long time Aldi shopper (and huge fan) but my Aldi up north didn’t sell beer or wine.

    So I was happy to see the Raleigh Aldi’s sell both. I am trying my first bottle of Aldi wine, Winking Owl chardonnay. Opened 10 minutes before posting this, in fact. Drinking it as I type.

    It’s not good.

    Not revolting, but not good. I’m not disappointed; it’s exactly what I expected for $2.50. I’ll say this for it; I’ve had worse in the $8 range.

    I know there are better chardonnays out there below the $5 mark. I’ll keep looking. It won’t stop me from trying the Winking Owl merlot next time, I’m much less fussy about merlot.

  68. dranktank Says:

    I’ve always thought cheap red wines are more bearable than cheap white wines. Certainly the case with Winking Owl.

  69. Cindy Says:

    Price on Winking Owl has gone up!! Last time we were there, not only had the price gone up, but the new vintage is not as good as the 2005 was (merlot and cabernet, anyway). Glad I already have 150 bottles. Have yet to see Shiraz at Greensboro. I use the Chardonnay for cooking.

  70. Carusoe Says:

    Kevin O’Mara, I’m sure you are very knowledgeable about wine, however you have no business posting an opinion about a wine you haven’t tasted.

    I enjoy it as a table wine. It is pleasant and somewhat chewy with soft tannins. I have fooled many wine snobs at BYOB tasting events. Everyone wanted to know where to get it before I even mentioned the price. Some were embarassed to have enjoyed it when I did tell them. Others wanted to know the location of the nearest Aldis.

    Having compared it more expensive merlots, I will say it is simpler with less character. You may find it uninteresting but not offensive. But it is not swill and goes good with food or snacks. It is about the best bang for buck out there and I’ve poured out wines costing three times as much.

    We have both Aldis and Trader Joes in my town, they are owned by the same parent company. TJ’s Charles Shaw ($2/3 Buck Chuck) is vinegar by comparison. I’ve noticed the Shaw can be crap shoot, some bottles OK, some horrible.

    And yes they have a shiraz now, but I haven’t tried it. It seems since everyone has been jumping on the shiraz bandwagon, the overall quality has gone down, even with the established Australians.

  71. Chris Pribisco Says:

    Hello Fellow Americans, I love the owl. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy and its only a couple of bucks better than a pabst blue ribbon hangover. All of you wine snobs keep paying too much for aged grape juice. I am happy and drunk on the shiraz right now. I am 32 and i live in Asheville N.C. and yes we have an Aldi. Rock on wino’s and winettes. ps. listen to some Lucinda Williams while your drinking it and get back to me

  72. HDR Says:


    I am drinking the Shiraz right now. It smells great but it tastes a little weaker than I was expecting. I guess it’s okay but nothing great. Can’t beat the price though…

  73. Mike Says:

    Tried the W.O. Shiraz with our holiday ham this afternoon - nice for the price, fruity but not deep as a typical Shiraz (as HDR noted above) - but it complimented the ham well… will buy again -

  74. Willie B: Says:

    Dang. My secret is out too. I’ve enjoyed The Owl for over a year, turned onto it by a guy working in a wine store. It’s not the best I’ve had, not at all, but it’s as good as many table wines I’ve had.

    Got to admit that the “wincing owl” line was really funny though.

  75. eva schlick Says:

    I just want to complain a little I used to buy countless of bottles of winking owl merlot/chardony at aldis. this was when they had it sold for &2.50. but now aldi’s had changed their prices on this wine. it is now on the &3.00 or more.

    I hate liking something, and not knowing if their going to changed price on you all the sudden.

    for instant aldi had sold their jambo cocktail shrimp for 3.99 per pound. and now they have changed the price. to 4.49. what the heck??? is it because I have come in the store and buy this shrimp everyday?

    I am so prostrated with this store here in cape girardeau missouri. could someone please tell this people here to put the prices back to where it was before. ?? WINKING AWL MERLOT/CHARDONY. & JAMBO SHRIMP COCKTAIL. ~~~~ THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    Eva Schlick

  76. eva schlick Says:

    Is there anyway that I can order cases of this winking owl? of course with a little discount lol. my husband and I really love wine. we often go for a ride to the nearest winery on sunday.

    but when we found and tasted the W.O merlot & chardony. we fall in love with it.

    but all of the sudden the freakin price changed on me….. I used to empty the shelves at the store. just so I can stock up. and I used to send all my family and friends to get it at aldis. now I hardly ever buy it anymore. simply because Im Mad at them for changing the price on me. Darnit!!

    Eva Schlick
    Activities Director /FTF Program Coordinator
    Chateua Girardeau Health center/ Retirement community

  77. trent Says:

    My buddies and I used to throw these Earth Day parties in our apartment in college (with sod and vegetation and gardens and volcanoes and everything in the place), and we’d serve bottles and bottles of Winking Owl - only because it was so cheap and we were broke. Never had a complaint. Not that I remember. I don’t ever remember loving Winking Owl for the taste of it, but more for the memories. I’ll always be a Winking Owl fan.

  78. Pete Krosby Says:

    A great cabernet at a great price. Many of our friends have been fooled, thinking it’s an expensive wine. We love it, and they love it. We buy it, 6 or 12 bottles at a time.
    The price in Atlanta, Georgia, is now $2.99, but still a great buy. If it goes much beyond this price, there would indeed be some competition from other brands. We hope the price stays where it is.
    Forget the ‘hard stuff’! The ‘red’ wines are good for your health (in moderation) and certainly good on the palate, and this one is a great choice!
    P. Krosby, Atlanta, GA

  79. John Says:

    I got three bottles yesterday, each different, I tried one last night, and I can say, I have doubts about trying the other two. it was the worst and I dumped it down the drain

  80. RipVanWinkle Says:

    Can’t beat the ol’ Winking Owl Cab or Shiraz for price/performance ratio. I have a friend who, just because, goes to a wine-snob store every once in a while and buys whatever the new flavor du jour happens to be, pays upwards of $20 for the privilege, and has, on many occasions, had to pour the stuff out because it was so nasty. What I like about the WO reds is that I can have a glass or two in the evening, and be very satisfied with the taste, effect, and cost. Two glasses while cooking dinner is pretty much what I consider a perfect ending to a long day. It seems that many on this blog did exactly what I did: Sat down one day and asked google “who makes this stuff?”

    One thing I will agree with (and I am most certainly no wine expert): the most recent vintages are not quite as good as the 2004 and 2005 that I started with. With success comes a lowering of the quality, I suppose. I also noticed that they stopped putting the vintage on the bottle! Wonder what’s up with that.

    I echo the sentiments of some previous posts when I ask “how can they make this wine, put it in a bottle with a real (artificial) cork, ship it across the country, and sell it for a profit at $2.99 (local ST Louis price)?”

    –RipVW, STL

  81. Joe Pearcy Says:

    Winking Owl came and went here in North Texas. The finest 3 dollar bottle of Merlot ever. Any clues as who who carries it would be appreciated.

  82. Candace Says:

    Just gotta say - loving the Winking Owl - I am not a huge red wine fan, but I have fallen in love with the Cab Sauv - am now making weekly trips to Aldi - one of the few reds I have found since Two Buck Chuck ( oh how I miss that!!!) that is really really enjoy - has to be served at the right temp - but an awesome find - having a glass right now as a matter of fact!

  83. Rebecca Says:

    Tried the Chardonnay for the first time tonight and I think it’s wonderful for the price. Going back to Aldi tomorrow to stock up for parties.

    Those that have made remarks about it being awful and pouring it down the drain, why? What was so offensive?

  84. Kimberly Says:

    I did the same as many of you.. Decided to google Winking Owl to see who its parent vinter was..
    My stepdaughter & I were talking about drinking wine one day so I sent her off to Aldi (love that place) to get me a bottle of Burlwood Cellars 2005 Merlot..(about $6.99)
    She brought me back a 2006 which was all they had (was ok but not as good as the 05) and she bought herself a bottle of Winking Owl Shiraz. She didnt like it at all…(It wasnt Strawberry Hill or Tickled Pink) so I thought I’d try it… and to my surprise I thought it was pretty good..
    Im not a vino by any means… but I had to say that I was pleasantly surprised by both the Burlwood Cellars (also a Gallo vinyard) and the Winking Owl. Not bad.. not bad at all.. especially for the price.
    Aldi is known for its low low low prices.. and most of its products are quite awesome. There are a few items there I wont buy.. but their wines arent one of them.
    Im with the rest of you who go there especially to buy the wine. Cheers!!

  85. Jenny Says:

    I am not a wine snob either, but I was disappointed by the selection of cheap wines I picked up at my first trip to Aldi last week. I thought the Winking Owl shiraz was undrinkable - it was like weak fruit juice with a dash of vanilla flavoring and little grain alcohol dribbled in. I am trying the Cabernet sauvignon right now - it’s weak but drinkable, and I most likely will never buy it again. I picked up two others also, forgetting the name on one (pretty undrinkable also) and the other was Dimante brand or something like that. Again, not something I’d buy again. I’d much rather buy a $7 bottle of Yellow Tail or a $6 bottle of Barefoot. I do thank the person above that mentioned rioja - I’d never tried it before and picked up a bottle the other day at our local “upscale” wine store - it was Martin-something Ergo Rioja and it was incredible IMO (although not dirt cheap at $15 a bottle), I felt it rivaled my favorite Franciscan wine, for less $.

  86. ann Says:

    Hi- I am sitting here having a glass of Winking Owl Chardonnay. Kevin O’Mara, where are you? Have you spared $2.50 to try this wine yet? Where is your spirit of adventure? Sometimes it is fun just to see for yourself what you think. I had no idea this blog existed, and bought the wine after reading about it in Time Magazine. WO is the favorite wine of some NY interior designer. If you think of wine in terms of there are some bottles to savor with close friends and create an experience, and there are some you just open and drink because you feel like a glass of wine. (but can’t justify $15-25, or more). Good luck and good tasting.

  87. DrankTank : The Beverage Blog » Blog Archive » Wal-Mart Wine Says:

    […] Even being a Wal-mart hater, I do plan on buying a bottle very soon and probably praising it as “not ass” like I did Winking Owl. I regret to report that at $3/bottle, wine is still more expensve per gallon than gasoline in the USA. […]

  88. Radar Says:

    I just made an awesome portabella mushroom, parm and Asiago risotto and I used WO Chard for the wine component….I would serve this dish to ANYBODY…regardless of their wine bias! I drink the WO Cab, and I keep waiting for the price to skyrocket like everything else in the U.S. Until then, I will just ENJOY it…and call it my little secret!!
    FYI…I live in Iowa City, and my Aldi’s is STILL under water…Keep the Midwest in your thoughts as we start the rebuilding process…and be glad you still have an Aldi’s you don’t have to SWIM to!

  89. m. Says:

    Kevin has a good method, I think i’ll adopt it. Someone bring me some wine and i promise i’ll drink it! Hurry!

  90. Melissa Says:

    I have to say I am not one to try a wine I have never heard of…I live near 42 in clayton. A friend brought a bottle of the Winking Owl as a gift…she brought cabernet.I am more of a white wine drinker but having running out I decided to pop it open and see. I must say WOW. It could make me swith back to reds. I give it a thumbs up and everyone keeps telling me about the store Aldi I just never listen. Guess, I am heading out the way.

  91. DJ Says:

    Not bad at all! Anyone know where I can get a Winking Owl T-shirt?

  92. Tom Says:

    When I was diagnosed with Prostate cancer 2 years ago, my doctor told me to drink 2 glasses of red wine a day as part of my treatment for this disease. A friend of mine in Greensboro, NC told me about Winking Owl wines and that they were only available at Aldi. We still do not have one here, but during visits to Greensboro I do stock up on the cab. What a nice wine for the price!!!! In addition to the WO, I have also started drinking some Malbecs from Argentina. Not as cheap, but a wonderful low cost wine.

    Thank you Aldi and Gallo.

  93. Vivian Says:

    I am one those that felt $2.50 wine must be bad, went to a party and the host had nothing but different types of the”owl” OMG, everyone and me included loved it, I plan to make trip to Greenville just to buy it.. Surprise surprise, and I was up to that point a die hard KJ person!! The merlot is especially nice

  94. Rick Says:

    I tried Winking Owl Merlot, I found it to be very weak on flavor. it tasted more like grape juice and really was not that impressed.

  95. Randy Says:

    Everyone should tune their expectations to the cost. What do you expect for $3? Anyway, my wife bought a couple of bottles of the Cab & Merlot. The merlot is a lot better than the cabernet. The cab is thin as noted in these blogs. But, here is a gem for you all-You should try their vina decana Crianza. It’s a pretty good spanish wine with a lot of flavor and complexity for about $6. Its a cross of tempranilla (think Red Guitar) and cabernet. I like some other spanish wines (at $10-$15) a little better, but it’s really good for 6 bucks. Again-get calibrated-it’s pretty good and pretty cheap. Enjoy!

  96. Xav. Says:

    First of all, it’s ALDI. There is no apostrophe “s” in the store’s name. (Low-priced wine is one thing but “’s”-ing the name of the store is just a tad too déclassé!)

    Now, I am happy to report that WO does make a Shiraz. I just picked one up for $2.99 and am expecting it to be the hit of Thanksgiving tomorrow, along with a Deutsche Küche® Luxury Cherry Stollen ($4.99) and a couple poinsettias all from the same store!

  97. Melody Says:

    Where do I buy this in Dallas, TX?

  98. Jay Says:

    I was given a bottle of WO Merlot by a neighbor who loves bargains. Skeptically I tried a glass & was surprised to find it was drinkable, soft, inoffensive, worked in beef stew, and drank even better after the first glass, so I decided to search it out. I’m really surprised it is so cheap, but not surprised it has generated so much interest. Ymm.

  99. Joe Says:

    I am one who is always looking for bargains in inexpensive drinkable wines and my personal opinion is that Winking Owl Merlot is a pleasant surprise and a great buy at $2.99 here in Virginia at the Aldi’s in Woodbridge. I haven’t tried the Shiraz or Cab Sauv but probably will soon.

  100. Amanda Petrucelli Says:

    I am German and love cheap things for value. My husband is Italian and likes fine, “stop and smell the roses” things. He’s also a food editor for a larger Midwestern newspaper. I kept bringing home the Winking Owl. He said nothing until he tried the Shiraz and complimented it profusely. I revealed it’s Aldi origin. He was shocked. We’re on on our fourth bottle now…not four bottles in one night, mind you…we’re talking over months. Kevin O’Mara has disappeared; our only naysayer. Kev, ole buddy, where do you live for us to bring you a bottle? Are you incapable of $2.50 and a car and an ALDI?

  101. cindy williams Says:

    I myself love the winking owl shiraz. In this type of economy now, we need more in-expensive wines offered. I myself always try and save a buck or two, I am very pleased with this wine. I tried the other kinds and did not like them. I only liked the shiraz. kudos to the savings.

  102. mark grauel Says:

    i’ve tasted a lot of merlots which were fairly expensive and i didn’t like them. i am sold on winking owl merlot. it’s great. different strokes for different folks.

  103. Tim Eckel Says:

    I read the reviews, and purchased a bottle of the cab and merlot. Both are very clear for a red wine, I could see right through it in the glass, which is never a good sign for a cab or merlot, which should be inky dark. The nose was just okay for both, not a lot to comment on, very one-dimentional. Nothing complex at all, a little fake red berry smell and that’s about it. Now for the taste. The cab is undrinkable. It’s sweet and almost candy-like. Tasted it several times over several hours and it only got worse. I’d rate the cab a 70, undrinkable and not even good for cooking, a real headache in a bottle I’m sure. The merlot’s taste is a little better. More dry but not much to write about either. A little fake berry again and nothing else. I rate it 73 and only good for cooking, and even that is marginable.

    Both of these wines are an absolute PASS! You’d have to be 16 looking to get drunk to like this stuff. If it was $0.50 a bottle, I’d say buy it. But, I’d say that to just get the bottle for $0.50, which would be a good deal. Anyone who actually likes this wine enough to write a good review really needs to try some other wines. I’ve had some MUCH better wines for $8 from Spain. And MANY good wines from around the world for $10. I know these wines are only about $3, but nothing can make up for the fact they are undrinkable.

    I love Aldi’s and have been very happy with everything until now I’ve got from them. Just avoid this wine at all cost, trust me.

  104. dranktank Says:

    I do think the quality has changed over the last few years. I originally wrote this post over 3 years ago and I can say that the merlot is not as good as it was. We used to drink a few bottles a week, but now we pretty much reserve WINKING OWL for mulled wine, or other volume-mix-wine drinks for parties.

  105. Ray Says:

    I have presently drank approx 1/2 a bottle, or 2.5 glasses, of Winking Owl chardonnay, having for the first time visited the local Aldi here in Tampa.

    Not bad. Was I knocked off my shoes? Not quite. But was I satisfied, and did I feel like I was actually drinking vino? Yes. The chardonnay got better as I drank more of it, I might add. I do not feel any of the woozy effects that cheap wine brings on in. It was not as good as your $10 california chardonnay, not as nuances as chilean whites . . . but it drank.

    I am a what you would consider a food snob, but also cheap. Most of my wine consumption has been in the $5 to $10 range, since i am one of those who believes that wine doesn’t appreciate much above $20 or so, and even then I have little need to go beyond the $10 mark. I view wine as an everyday libation to be consumed with food. I have no reason not to go back and drink this wine some more. As someone previously said, the fact that it’s cheap makes it taste better!

    Incidentally, accompanying this not bad wine was a Mahi fillet (purchased in a frozen package of four for $6 dollars or so!) also purchased at the local Aldi. This mahi fillet (Frozen, Seal King brand) actually tasted BETTER than Mahi recently purchased at Publix.

    Also purchased a bottle of Merlot, which I am VERY excited about. I will definitely be back for more.


  106. Ray Says:

    A retraction.

    The Merlot was repugnant.

    but would I buy the chardonnay again . . YES.

  107. Monitor Says:

    Still drinking it. I cannot tell the difference between a $20 and a $5 so why waste my money on the $20 bottle

  108. Davey Says:

    As for Winking Owl, let me just say that I have not had this much fun since entering and winning a West Coast dresage event with my ugly, and mean-spirited Appaloosa. “Cheap is good” may be the new metaphor for vinophiles of any stripe. The Cab travels well in any setting. Salut!

  109. Ray Says:

    The Shiraz is very good. The chardonnay, as I said before, is ok. The merlot was just not worth it for me. BAD. Now I am afraid to try the cab, because I am having so much fun with the shiraz as a daily red that I dont want to be dissapointed by winking owl.

  110. Jasmine Says:

    I agree I would approach a 2.50 dollar bottle wine with some skeptism. But, I conducted a lil test among my collegaues one night. I brought two expensive bottles of wine (merlot) and the aldi brand. Did a taste test, and honestly to everyone surprise the Aldi brand was favored. But you know what to each its own. If you don’t like aldi brand wines, that just means more for the ones who do enjoy it. CHEERS!

  111. Sarah Z. Says:

    I bought a bottle of Winking Owl on a whim once. I had been to my favorite winery in Weston, West Virginia. My dad said “We’re stopping at Aldi’s on the way home, ok?” Like I had a say in the matter. HE was driving! lol

    Well, I walked into the store and at the door was a bin of wines. Most around $5, some a little more. I fell in love with the label on the Winking Owl. And for $5 I decided what the heck, I’ll try it. Was not disappointed. I was just glad I bought several bottles.

    There is an Aldi’s near me, but being in Pennsylvania, they don’t sell beer and wine. Sadly, the Wine and Spirits shop, just up the sidewalk from Aldi’s doesn’t sell it either. I have to visit my parents to get it, and even then, it’s a drive. So, if I’m going to Aldi’s, I head to my favorite winery, and hit Aldi’s on the way back. lol

  112. Valente Says:

    I was recently in Milwaukee, stopped at an Aldi and thought, why not. Got a bottle of the Chardonnay. I was very pleasantly surprised. Not knowing it was made by Gallo for Aldi, I searched all over Houston for a bottle. Next time I’m in Milwaukee I will buy all they have. It’s far better than even any $15 bottle of wine I’ve ever had.

  113. Scott Says:

    I have enjoyed aldis wines for at least 13 yrs now and im wondering if anyone feels the cabernet winking owl would actually be worth making a place for in my Wine/Canned food cellar, it seems so,the tannic acid seems very high, i was wondering if anyone thought it might be worth putting in a cellar to age ,and if so would one tilt the bottle up ,since its a plastic cork and no problem with drying?

  114. Brendon Says:

    Kevin O’mara
    You are an internet thug, liar, and worst of all a wine snob. Winking Owl is the best wine I have ever tasted! I would die for that brand. The Best in the World!!!

    Ok, that was to keep things interesting…reading this blog has been as fun as guzzling a cheep bottle of shiraz.

    I had the privilege of working in chicago for a short time as a photographer and I had several assignments working with a writer doing reviews at 5 star dining locations all over the city. We drank a ton of great wine…..at a price that would have broken my bank had it been on my own dime. Winking owl doesn’t come close to the mind blowing flavors of these incredible wines…HOWEVER, at 2.50(3.00 in chicago) who can beat it? Sure it lacks SOME flavor, particularly the Merlot, but for a guy who enjoys a glass or two a night and doesn’t want to spent an ass load of money on his habit, it’s not half bad. I, like many others on this blog, have even impressed a guest or two with said wine. Unless someone else is buyin W.O. is for me.

    Winking Owl, Aldi….I tip my hat to you. Many thanks and may the gods honor you.

  115. Justin Says:

    Kevin O’Mara-
    First I would like to say, I am a tea-tottleing, badge holding, know-it-all WINE SNOB! From the word go. I will not commit to professing my background or expertice here for anyone to criticize (except for my horrible spelling…lol), but as all TRUE wine drinkers are, we are lovers, not fighters. I was raised in the fine dining industry and was attending wine auctions in Napa, Sonoma, Spain, and Austraulia. I came across this blog about a week ago, as a recent goal to successfully restructure my personal financial budget, I was told About Aldi from a friends nanny who is a “broke college student”. I picked up a bottle here in NC, after my 2nd trip to Aldi for some cooking wine…. But then I said, what the heck, and cracked it….. Remember, I am a snob… A TRUE SOB Snob….. Kevin, leave your home, go find an Aldi, next time you have a party, drop this wine… it may not be an “everyday drinker”, but its way better than “not bad” … its actually pretty good…. I will even send you a bottle and you can hold your own blind test as I am tired of seeing people bash you for not trying it, and tired of seeing you not want to cough the few bucks…. BTW, W.O. has Shiraz, its 5.99 here in NC, a bit steeper than the Cab Sav, Chard, and Merlot…. we will see what the verdict is on that later…… The ball is in your court Kevin…. please put up or shut up…. We like our Owl….. Hoooo Hoooo

  116. Laura Says:

    Loved all the comments about the Owl. I’ve tried all the WO’s now since the first of spring. Our income was drastically cut but I still wanted to enjoy a glass of wine w/dinner. These are good as your basic table wine. I have served them to friends and they have all had no problem drinking it. I like to call it lite wine. There’s always a place for a ‘nice’ bottle of wine but for day to day my $$ are on WO.

  117. jena Says:

    kevin, don’t listen to these goons. i tried a bottle of 2.99 shiraz today and i am fairly certain that the red wine VINEGAR i use for cooking was less vinegary than the wine itself. i would be annoyed that i wasted money, but it was $3, if it had been good i’d have been surprised, but i expected at least DRINKABLE (or cookable; i dumped mine out and cut my losses, if its that bad to drink, i’m not cookin with it!)

  118. Roger Says:

    Kevin, just stop with your “I’ve worked in the wine industry” bullshit. How many times do you have to tell us that?

  119. David Says:

    Oh man! I tried the Winking Owl Merlot and it was awful! I guess you get what you pay for! I ended up Christening the toilet with this stuff. I won’t buy it again. If people like this stuff, more power to you, I’m not drinking it.

  120. Christopher Says:

    It is said best like this, you can’t please everyone. Myself, along with a lot of people on here, find Winking Owl for $2.99 very good and very drinkable as a weekday dinner wine. For everyone professing their disdain and horrible case of deuce juice I am sorry. Maybe it is the wine maybe it is not. But do not think everyone that actually likes this wine is just some cheap ass that doesn’t know surging about wine in general.

  121. Christopher Says:

    Surging = anything. Stupid iPhone thinking it knows what I want to say. =)

  122. Adrienne Says:

    The best $2.99 bottle of Cab out there. Count me among those who had a drastic cut in income. At least with Winking Owl available, I can have a fairly decent glass of wine now and then. Will try the Shiraz next.

    P.S. Justin, I suggest you look up the definition of “teetotaling” before you label yourself that AND then call yourself a “wine snob.”

  123. Scott L. Says:

    Just had my first bottle of Winking Owl Cabernet this evening. (Aldi opened a store in my area this week.)

    Not bad…not bad at all. Not really what I think of as a cabernet; too sweet for that. Reminded me more of the red zinfandels I used to drink 20 or so years ago. (That’s a good thing.)

    Pretty decent for three bucks. I’ll get it again.

    Anyone also try the $3 Oak Leaf cab from Walmart? Both are pretty good for the money.

  124. Keith Says:

    I mostly stick to beer, but when I do decide to by a bottle of wine I go to a local store in Dearborn Michigan that has a huge wine selection and a very knowledgeable staff. Each time I expect to pay $15-$25 for a bottle.
    Sunday afternoon I was at Aldi with my girlfriend and decided to buy a Bottle of Winking Owl shiraz. I am going back this weekend to buy a case. Nuff said.

  125. Lady Rhonda Says:

    To all whom have posted….this site has been most helpful.
    I am having a gathering of about 80-100 people and have a limited budget so I would like to try out the WO brand. I do not want to serve swill at the party, but I can not afford to serve $10+ either. I am thinking about choosing 2 wines and from the recent posts am thinking about the Chardonnay and either the Cab or the Shiraz. What is the best two out there for now to serve to the masses? Also, what is the shelf life? The function is in Sept and I don’t want to buy it too early but want to start stocking up.

    Much obliged for your feedback,
    Lady Rhonda

  126. Dave Zuchowski Says:

    I tried this wine and it really upsets my stomach. I had one glass three nights ago and suffered all the next day. Last night I had two glasses of rose from Sam’s Club under $10 and feel fine today.

  127. neighter Says:

    Aldi just opened stores around Dallas. And I love the place. For a couple of bucks Winking Owl is impossible to beat. You have to drop alot more coin to get something noticeably better unless you are just a picky wine snob.

  128. chrisp28 Says:

    I live in the outside of St.Louis MO. ( home of the Cardinals GO cards )
    I dont normaly drink wine. I drink Bud light or Bud light lime. I mean the beer is made like 15 min from my house,come on now. A few years ago I spent 5 weeks out in Napa Valley CA with my family . So I did pick up a lot of knowledge about wine and tasted lots and lots and lots and lots of wine. Normaly the only time I drink wine is if I am drinking and run out of beer. And its too late to go buy more. But this winking Owl is so good I would drink any time.

  129. Cindy Stoppa Says:

    I just tried Winking Owl merlot last night for the first time, had a glass and a half. It tasted good, about two hours later, I started getting a headache. I guess you could expect that from a cheap wine? I see the comments on here that people paid $2.50 for theirs. I paid $3.99 in Ohio. Maybe the price has gone up?

  130. Brenda Says:

    We just had an Aldi’s open not 2 miles from where i live..I have previously shopped there at a different location waiting for mine to open..I love that store, but have never purchased the wine nor beer there until today. It’s so hot I did not want to drive anywhere else to get hubby his wine. So I picked up a bottle of $2.50 Winking Owl Shiraz…I did a little taste test myself, and I am no wine expert by no means, and I liked it..the real test will come when hubby gets home to his new little surprise…but I do love Aldi’s….Love their fit and fabulous line…

  131. Owen Glendower Says:

    My wife & I have been drinking WO Cabernet for several years, and recently learned that 1½ hours in a basic $30 wine decanter makes a huge difference in the wine. It will also hold well for several days if returned to the bottle and kept corked.

    To the person above who complained that the WO Cab was too sweet: Try again. “Sweet” is the last adjective I’d apply to this wine. At $2.99, it’s the best bargain in Illinois.

  132. Tim Says:

    decided to try the Winking Owl merlot a while ago, figure what the heck! I am not a wine snob, but know what i like and don’t. Anyway, i drank one glass of the Winking owl Merlot, and thought it was not too bad. I went and got myself another glass, took a sip and spit it out. Both my wife and i couldn’t take it, i decide to dump it, not sure why it went down okay the first time, maybe because i didnt have my tastebuds ready or something. There was some sediment in the glass as well. I still have an unopened bottle of Chardonnay that i am not sure i want to open. May use it to cook or something.
    I drink the 3 buck chuck pretty often when just sitting around, so i think i’ll stick to that in regards to value wine.

  133. Jen Says:

    I love aldi and have been going there for a few years. I finally decided to try winking owl (sipping on a glass of chardonnay right now) and it is actually pretty good! Didnt like the merlot as much but I’m not really a red wine fan.

  134. Derrick Says:

    I work in the food and beverage industry….I have to say Winking Owl for the price you cant beat it.

  135. Rhonda Goode Says:

    Purchased a bottle for the first time this week and took to a little steak restaurant. I was really impressed. It is a little on the light bodied side, but overall has a very good flavor. Actually finishe the bottle and did not have even a hint of a headache the next morning. Please note that the bottle is slightly smaller than the average size wine….Good!

  136. mairen Says:

    sounds like kevin o’mara is a wine snob.

  137. k.Davis Says:

    I don’t even like wine, but my husband does. I love rum, but in this economy, we can’t afford rum, so we started buying wine. We shop at Aldi for groceries and probably would not eat as well as we do, if not for their prices.Anyone that bitches about Aldi has no idea about real life.The Chardonnay is my favorite, but I like them all. And I don’t even like wine!

  138. Douglas Says:

    The owl is winking at you because he knows your secret, and is agreeing not to tell.

  139. Jodie Says:

    I bought a bottle of the WO Chardonnay & Merlot on sale for $2.69 (reg price $2.99) at our local ALDI market. I figured if I didn’t like it I could cook with it. I love Kendall Jackson Chardonnay so I was hoping the WO would have the same flavor profiles. (not oakey) Though KJ is still my favorite, at less than $3 a bottle it’s quite amazing! I have yet to try the Merlot, but I’m looking forward to it! I really liked the Chardonnay as it was not oakey nor buttery. It was light, crisp & refreshing! I would serve this to my guests with no problem. I have tasted wines that cost a small fortune & have liked them less. Here’s to ALDI & Winking Owl for making wine affordable to us! You can’t afford not to drink wine. :)

  140. Monika Says:

    I tried the Shiraz & found it to be really good wine for only $2.99. My husband told me to go buy more & not tell our friends how much it cost. They probably won’t know the difference.

  141. jill Says:

    Have gone back to Aldi and we have purchased more of the Owl. $2.69 now, but still a bargain. Chardonnay. We are not wine snobs, so it is perfect for us. No headache in the am, either. We did not, however, want to get up early, but that is probably because we stayed up later, and no reflection upon Aldi’s Owl!

  142. Kathleen Says:

    I love Winking Owl! For the nay-Sayers, I say….give it a shot! Each time we go to Aldi, we stock up. It’s a great cheap wine!

  143. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Florida Says:

    I am drinking some Winking Owl Shirraz as we speak that I bought at Aldi here in Tampa, Florida.
    The Aldi stores here in Tampa all carry Winking Owl. The Shirraz is by far the best of the wines, IMHO. When we drive to Tampa, we stock up on it, before they run clean out of it.

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  146. Dren Says:

    winking owl is the best wine i’ve ever had. happens to be the cheapest too.

  147. Tess Says:

    After I had done some research and found this blog, I went and bought myself a bottle of the Shiraz (I purchased that one because I was inaccurately told Shiraz was a sweet wine) and I honestly really liked it! At the Aldi in Springfield, MO, you can get it for 2.69! I’m going back tomorrow to get another bottle. My only real complaint about WO is that most of their wines are dry. It would be lovely if there were some sweeter options (Reisling???). But for the price, you cannot complain. I admit I’m a bit of a wine novice but I’ve had some pricy wine that gave me a headache. At $2.69, it’s definitely worth giving a try.

  148. Cathy Says:

    I recently shared a bottle of WO Shiraz with a friend and we both really enjoyed it, I don’t usually like Shiraz, too bold for me.
    We live in Ontario, Canada and I haven’t been able to find it. Anyone know where I might get a bottle or 2 or 3.

  149. Christine Says:

    Stumbling across this blog post, I’d like to say: Yes, Aldi is German and I adore them! :-)

  150. Tom Says:

    Here’s a story. My lady friend had her annual Christmas party, and many people brought bottles of wine. Myself? I was drinking Captain and Coke. Anyway, about a week or so after the party, we decided to crack open a few of the bottles that were not consumed. We opened 4 bottles of Cabernet. Myself, I have never heard of any of the wines. We both thought the Winking Owl was by far the best of the 4. I just assumed it was a high priced product. I Googled it to see where to buy it, and how much it costs. I was shocked to see that it was under $3 and was sold at Aldi.

    Needless to say, when we drink wine, we drinking Winking Owl Cabernet. I usually buy 15-20 bottles to save me some trips!! On a side note. We drank 4 bottles last night. LOL!

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  152. Nathan R Says:

    I bought a bottle of the Merlot because I needed some red wine to cook with, and I figured a 2.69 bottle of wine would, if nothing else, serve that purpose just fine. I didn’t need to use the entire bottle for my recipe, so I also poured myself a glass and it was fantastic!

    I was at Aldi again the other day, and again I needed a bottle of wine for cooking, but I also got another three just for me. ^_^

    I also loved the Shiroz and the Cabernet. I wasn’t so crazy about the White Zinfendel, it wasn’t bad, but I liked the drier wines much, much better. But I think that’s just my tastes maturing. I used to love sweeter wines and hate the dry stuff when I was younger.

  153. SQ Says:

    Our wine rack is stocked with Winking Owl ONLY! Guests bring other wines & we drink them but none can compare to the OWL! Our grandson brought a $18 bottle of wine (can’t remember the name) and I recognized the back label. It was the distinctive Winking Owl label that features what to serve it with and the temperature for serving. Sure enough…bottled by the same winery in Modesta CA.!! It was the SAME WINE! We are probably “winos” hitting all the tastings and wine trails we can manage & I’ve only had 2 wines I’d even go back for. Winking Owl ROCKS! We pay $3.69 at Aldi’s…wish we could get it for $2.69 like some of you folks…but we’re not complaining.

  154. Floridamike Says:

    Winking Owl is great. 2.69 Aldi’s route 27 Haines City Fl what a deal. Worth the money, drink a glass a night. Wife loves it also. Bought is to many friends they love it also. I buy cases. Happy Holidays and enjoy the Owl.

  155. Kaleigh Says:

    I LOVE Winking Owl- BEST value- White Zinfandel is by far the best wine for $2.69, simply cannot beat it!

  156. Christi Says:

    Aldi is Awesome. The Cabernet Sauvignon is my favorite. My husband and I have so enjoyed this discovery.

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  161. ed Says:

    WO, good stuff.

  162. Heidi Says:

    My husband and I were given a bottle of this as a gift. After enjoying it so much, we decided to look up where to buy it to get more. We were amazed to find out it is sold at ALDIs. WOW. We were even more at shock at the price! We have had the Shiraz, Merlot, and the Cabernet. ALL, very good. We now buy cases of it to keep stocked up. THANK YOU ALDI for offering a quality product at an awesome price!

  163. Sterling Tecson Says:

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  164. Marc Says:

    In the Cleveland, Ohio area we pay $3.39, up from $3.09, but that’s okay. This stuff is worth it, a good California table wine, white or red.

  165. Sue Says:

    I have had expensive wine; I have had homemade wine. I love Aldi’s Winking Owl Shiraz. It reminds me of when I was young and went to Europe to visit my relatives and they served me this amazing homemade “Welch’s wine”, as I called it….bursting with cherries and plums and a hint of spice. I love this wine with Aldi’s Mama Cozzi’s spinach and goat cheese pizza.
    Why spend ridiculous money at a restaurant? We cannot afford that!
    Thank you Aldi. You are #1 with me. I am from Ontario, Canada.

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  173. Gary Says:

    OMG great wine bought from Aldi $2.50. Merlot is my favorite.

  174. Gary Says:

    OMG great wine bought from Aldi $2.50. Merlot is my favorite.

  175. Gary Says:

    OMG great wine bought from Aldi $2.50. Merlot is my favorite.

  176. Gary Says:

    OMG great wine bought from Aldi $2.50. Merlot is my favorite.

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  178. Amelia Says:

    This is greatness… I recently found this at aldi myself and bought it for decoration purposes. I now must go chill a bottle and try it. I am amused at all the banter. I paid 2.59 in the fort worth area! Our trader joes just opened !!! I am on a mission now!!!

  179. Brawny71 Says:

    On the comment about never having tried a decent wine under five dollars, remember that Aldi “brands” you have to adjust, because what you pay there is typically 30-60% less than the exact same product under a different label in a regular store. So do the math, and that would put you above your required price point. Another example is their whole coffee beans. The exact same 100% gourmet medium roast Arabica beans, that cost about $7.99 for 12 ounces anywhere else is $3.99 for Aldi’s Beaumont brand–half the price for the exact same thing.

  180. Brawny71 Says:

    On the comment about never having tried a decent wine under five dollars, remember that Aldi “brands” you have to adjust, because what you pay there is typically 30-60% less than the exact same product under a different label in a regular store. So do the math, and that would put you above your required price point. Another example is their whole coffee beans. The exact same 100% gourmet medium roast Arabica beans, that cost about $7.99 for 12 ounces anywhere else is $3.99 for Aldi’s Beaumont brand–half the price for the exact same thing.

  181. Tere Pulliam Says:

    FYI- I use “myfitnesspal” to track carbs and calories, I bought a bottle of each of their wines to try. I scanned the label on the bottle and it read “. Tree Free Chardonay Wine ( Yellow Tail Chardonnay)” I’m guessing this is Yellow Tail with a Winking Owl label. I am not a wine snob at all but I have good enough taste buds to know what is palatable. Compared to the $3.00 Walmart wine this wine is great! I’m going back for more today.

  182. Tere P Says:

    FYI- I use “myfitnesspal” to track carbs and calories, I bought a bottle of each of their wines to try. I scanned the label on the bottle and it read “. Tree Free Chardonay Wine ( Yellow Tail Chardonnay)” I’m guessing this is Yellow Tail with a Winking Owl label. I am not a wine snob at all but I have good enough taste buds to know what is palatable. Compared to the $3.00 Walmart wine this wine is great! I’m going back for more today.

  183. Tere P Says:

    FYI- I use “myfitnesspal” to track carbs and calories, I bought a bottle of each of their wines to try. I scanned the label on the bottle and it read “. Tree Free Chardonay Wine ( Yellow Tail Chardonnay)” I’m guessing this is Yellow Tail with a Winking Owl label. I am not a wine snob at all but I have good enough taste buds to know what is palatable. Compared to the $3.00 Walmart wine this wine is great! I’m going back for more today.

  184. Tere P Says:

    FYI- I use “myfitnesspal” to track carbs and calories, I bought a bottle of each of their wines to try. I scanned the label on the bottle and it read “. Tree Free Chardonay Wine ( Yellow Tail Chardonnay)” I’m guessing this is Yellow Tail with a Winking Owl label. I am not a wine snob at all but I have good enough taste buds to know what is palatable. Compared to the $3.00 Walmart wine this wine is great! I’m going back for more today.

  185. ChelleSpoon Says:

    This wine made me forget how much I hate chardonnay! Cheap yet so refreshing and delish.

  186. Chelsea Says:

    Got a bottle of Winking Owl Shiraz at my local Aldi… truth be told I bought it because I like owls and liked the bottle! For $2.99, hey, why not? MUCH to my surprise I really, really liked it! This coming from somebody who has been to the South of France and had $200 wine! I will definitely recommend this wine.

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  191. Eldridge Cain Says:

    My friend and I shared a bottle of WO White Zinfadel (why is it pink?) last night and it was very palatable. It did not have an aftertaste and it was crisp and citrus-like. It was not what I would call complex, but it was better than the last zinfadel I tasted. She heard about it from her daughter who hosts wine and food parties every Friday. Two thumbs up!

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