It’s still possible to get a decent wine for under a fiver

It’s not just Britain’s waists that have expanded during the summer excess with all those holiday treats. You may already have noticed the stretch marks appearing around your wine budget as well. That’s because the average spend on a bottle of wine in the UK has broken past £5.50 and, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, is set to rise further. Happily, with canny buying you can still find bottles that outshine their peers for a fiver.

When you think of good value, you may set your sights on Aldi or Lidl. But across the high street and online the options are widespread and buying from off the beaten track is a good place to start. Ever tasted a wine from Moldova? Head to Morrisons for its own-label Pinot Grigio 2016 (12.5%) for £4.25. It may not be the world’s most complex wine but it’s zippy, fresh and fun to pair with everything from salads to stir-fries.

Little-known grapes are a good bet too, such as Asda’s Wine Atlas Cococciola 2016 (12.5%), which for £4.98 is a great easy-drinking party white with an eye-catching label. As for more traditional countries such as France, it’s increasingly tough to find quality for a fiver; take Waitrose Cuvée Chasseur 2016 (12%), which is now £5.49.

But it’s further south on the shores of Italy, Spain and Portugal where you can find quality and value to make your wallet take wing. Majestic has some tempting offers if you buy a mix of six bottles or more such as Terras de Pegões 2015 (12.5%) from Portugal, which drops from £6.99 to £4.99. Or La Serrana Tempranillo 2016 (12.5%) from Spain, which drops from £5.99 to £4.99 when bought at the mix six price.

And if you’re happy to bring your budget up to £5.50, The Wine Society has two Spanish stunners. Both Sabina Tempranillo Tinto 2016 from Navarra (13.5%) and The Society’s Spanish Red 2016 (14%) are impressive buys.