March 19, 2020

Red Wines Under $30

Red Wines Under $30

You know those days where you really want a glass of wine, particularly on a random Wednesday, but don’t want to spend $50 on a bottle? Yea, me too. Especially now. For those days, below is a handy list of red wines under $30 that many of you recommended.

Now, please keep in mind, I am not a wine snob. I wish I could say that I am, but my taste buds are not entirely trained when it comes to the subject. I realize that some of these choices may offend those that know a lot about wine, but these are the bottles that came recommended the most. If you’d like to add something to the list, please leave your suggestion in the comment section.

For the fancier occasions and if you’re feeling a bit more generous, we’ll have a separate list so please stay tuned for that.

Red Wines Under $30

Justin Cabernet ($28)

This is probably my go-to when I want something a wee bit fancier than a $15 bottle (ha!), but one that still doesn’t break the bank. I’m not a wine connoisseur, but I find it to be so good.

Region: Paso Robles, Central Coast, California

Dry, moderate plus bodied, with ripe blackcurrant, black cherry and a touch of red fruit brightness to taste. This is a perfect go-to red that’s great with variety of pairings from pasta Bolognese to Wagyu burgers, or try it with a variety of freshly baked wood-fired pizzas.

Smith & Hook ($21)

Vibrant aromas of dark fruit and black currant with hints of sweet spice and toasty oak. Full-bodied and full of flavor with a round viscous mouthfeel backed with concentrated tannic structure carry through to a smooth finish.

Region: Central Coast, California 

Josh Cellars Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($20)

Region: Paso Robles, Central Coast, California

The bouquet is rich with dark fruits, cinnamon, clove and subtle oak aromas. The wine is juicy on the palate with bright red cherries and blackberry flavors prominent, accented by delicate vanilla flavors and toasty oak, finishing long with round, soft tannins. The complex flavor of this wine complements just about any well-seasoned meat such as beef, pork, or lamb, followed by an indulgent dessert or espresso.

Pendulum Red Blend ($20)

Region: Columbia Valley, Washington

This red blend represents an elegant wine balanced to perfection. Aromas of cedar, sweet cherry, black fruit, and coffee fill the nose.

Louis Martini Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon ($20)

Region: Sonoma County, California

A firm and silky red with currant, blackberry and cherry character. Medium to full body with a savory finish. Juicy and reserved, delicious and ready.

Meoimi Pinot Noir ($19)

This was probably recommended the most!

Region(s): Monterey, Sonoma, & Santa Barbara Counties, California

A rich garnet color with a ruby edge, this wine opens to reveal lifted fruit aromas of bright strawberry and jammy fruit, mocha, and vanilla, along with toasty oak notes. The aromas and flavors of candied boysenberries, violets, and other black fruits makes it a perfect pairing partner with barbecued chicken.

J Vineyards Pinot Noir ($19)

Region: Sonoma Valley, California 

This was recommended by Erika of Whiskey & Lace who lives in Sonoma County. I went down a rabbit hole on her stories and considering she lives in wine country, I figured she knew what she was talking about. It’s already in my cart!

Freakshow Cabernet ($18)

Region: Napa Valley, California

This bold, flamboyant wine shows a deep, dark color and extravagant aromas of mulled fruit and baking spice. The palate is delicious in ripe black-fruit flavors that are framed by soft tannins that seem to melt in the mouth. For all its big features, it’s easy to drink and appreciate.

Decoy Cabernet ($17)

Region: Sonoma County, California

This classic Cabernet offers elements of currant, cherry, plum, and olive. Pairs well with ribeye, roasted duck, or hanger steak recipes.

Bread & Butter Pinot Noir ($15)

Region: Novato, California

The Pinot Noir is all about that juicy red fruit. Think cherries and raspberries with a touch of cassis. Delicate hints of cedar, smoke, and bay leaf cut the sweetness of the fruit, creating a nicely balanced bouquet. It pairs lovingly with flavor-rich dishes like barbeque, salmon, quail, and lamb.

The Dreaming Tree Pinot Noir ($15)

Region: Geyserville, California

Bright ruby in color with ripe flavors and aromas of cherry, wild strawberry, vanilla, and caramel. This wine has some complexity unique to Pinot Noir with soft, juicy tannins. Perfect for enjoying with friends or complementing a nice meal. Pairs well with roast lamb, grilled salmon, and mushroom risotto.

Ménage à Trois Silk Soft Red Blend ($14)

Region: St. Helena, California

A smooth, seductive red blend that caresses you with every sip. With its bright, red ruby hue in the glass and alluring fragrance of dried violets and berries, Silk beckons, promising an unforgettable experience.

Mark West Pinot Noir ($13)

Region: Sonoma County, California

Medium-bodied with black cherry, cola, strawberry, plum, and soft tannins; no wonder this Pinot is a favorite. Pairs well with pastas with light tomato-based sauces, a juicy cheeseburger, grilled salmon, roasted pork tenderloin, or if you’re not a cook, drink it on its own.

Bogle Vineyards Merlot ($11)

Region: Clarksburg, Sacramento Delta, California

Gorgeous in the glass, this Merlot is a perfect, everyday wine. Aged for 12 months in American oak barrels, this wine is delicious for just about any occasion and food pairing. Pairs well with a margherita pizza, aged white cheddar cheese, and a cheeseburger.

E & J Gallo Winery: Apothic Red Blend ($10)

Region: Modesto, California

A masterful red blend featuring rich Zinfandel, smooth Merlot, flavorful Syrah, and bold Cabernet Sauvignon. These unique elements come together to create a red blend with layers of dark red fruit complemented by hints of vanilla and mocha.

14 Hands Merlot ($10)

Region: Columbus Valley, Washington

This round, structured Merlot is packed with rich flavors and aromas of blackberry, plum, cherry and mocha. Balanced in style, the wine is soft, approachable and food friendly.



  • Carina

    Oh, such a nice selection of wines! Thanks for sharing!

    Carina |

  • YP

    This is a great list. Mark West is always a solid choice. I’d also like to recommend Hob Nob Pinot Noir. It is a screw top (gasp!) Light bodied red which at the moment, in NYC suburbs, is $10.99 per bottle, plus tax. Can we say deal? Goes well with anything you’d want a pinot for, like a nice pasta or chicken dish or warm weather grill.

  • marivicky l.

    Ohh, i love this list! i just started a book & wine club, and we definitely have to try these for the wine part of the club haha 🙂

  • marta

    Thank you so much for this Helena!! Can you please, please do a white wine list as well? 🙏🏼

  • Mireia

    Thanks for the reocmmendations! I’m a big wine lover!

    Mireia from TGL

  • jOANNE

    I am a member of a 9-person wine club. So, I get to taste a large variety of wines. Freakshow is one of my absolute favorites! I’m glad you featured it here. Whenever I give it as a gift (esp. if someone is into red wines), they thank me and become a fan of that brand!

  • Katie

    Thanks for the list! Let’s do white wine too!

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  • Arup Roy

    This is a Great Post.

  • Jo-Lynne Shane

    Love this list. the Josh Cab is my favorite red. And for white, Kim Crawford Sav Blanc. Now I have some new ones to try!

  • Sarah

    14 hands is so good. In fact you can’t go wrong with any red from Columbia Valley!!!!

  • Lauren

    I can vouch for Bread & Butter Pinot Noir – it’s amazing. Looooove Oregon Pinots

  • Trish

    Thanks for these! I’m in New Zealand and whilst we do amazing wine, I’m always looking for international recommendations as I’m trying to expand my wine knowledge!

  • Alison

    This is exactly the post I need right now! 🍷😊

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  • nakiqueen

    Great article, content as well as quality images, in the future hope that you will continue to write more so that everyone can read and refer together. thank you


    I’m looking for mostly Apothic type wine… and it must be inexpensive… to take to Bunko nights in our neighbor hood.. and for me to drink with friends – mostly Apothic (ha)…. let me know .. How much?

    Carolyn Green/ cgreen 6079@

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