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They are always plenty of things being delivered at chez Laughlin–Allnutt, much to the chagrin of the financial controller. She Who Must Be Obeyed (see Rumpole of the Bailey) has taken the often shaky finances of the Laughlin side of the family and firmed them (slightly, anyway) and the sounds of deliveries at the back door make her nervous.

And it must be admitted with good reason too. In days gone by, a single camera body (let alone lenses) would run North of five or six thousand dollars (and this is in the days when the Australian dollar was actually worth something).

So you can imagine the mild anxiety that the sounds of relatively heavy things being downloaded gently on the back porch last week would have brought about. And not just the one trip… But this time we had taken the excellent advice from our dear friend Kim Brebach who runs the website “Best wines under $20 dot com” (bestwinesunder20.com.au). Readers here know we’re preparing for our end of lease party this coming Friday night. Naturally, I called Kim to get his advice on best champagne at a reasonable price—it would be completely wrong in my view to have an end of anything party without champagne or what we’re forced to call “sparkling white wine” these days. And we needed lots of it.

So Kim did his due diligence and came up with a brand and suggested a particular vendor. The incredible thing about this vendor (Winestar) is that if you order more than one case, delivery is free. Now, I don’t know how you feel about walking cases of wine up and down stairs, and having to bend over the back of the car and having to move everything you put there the day before (and we have a very small boot space these days since the mighty Subaru Liberty went to the junkyard in the sky) but I love the idea of the the wine being delivered and, particularly, at no cost to me. And having chilled one or two bottles of this at-this-point-untasted sparkling white wine, I can tell you this is the best ‘under-10-bucks’ sparkling wine I have ever had in my life. SWMBO agrees (but the cat has been silent on the matter).

The point of today’s little post is that if you can get the right advice on buying any kind of wine you’d be mad not to use an online ordering service that features free, or very low cost, delivery (each vendor has their own position on this aspect). On his side, Kim researches white and red wines at the $10, $15, and $20 price points (and sometimes an exceptional few above) and writes about it for us.

When I asked him why he didn’t sample the wares from merchants like Beer Wine and Spirits and whatever that Coles franchise is called (is it Liquor Land; what a name), he told me the reason they do such good business is that people simply impulse buy one or two bottles at a time because BWS and the other are located right next to the supermarket—and hence enjoy captive markets of sorts. And of course this is my and Olivia’s experience as well. I can tell you from our recent fine experience, though, we will never do that again and will be ordering cases of wine in advance advance and they can just sit quietly in a cool corner the house (and what part of a Canberra house is not cool, presently?) for our delectation. Any analysis shows that we are both saving money and being environmentally less harmful by following this course of action and I recommend it to you.

The big surprise, as Kim says, is there is literally no relation between price and quality in the wine world. Why not take advantage of our friend working hard for us? My last comment is simply this: Kim will not accept any wine from any manufacturer free. Way too many of the wine critics are really just paying publicists for particular wine companies. Not so KB. Thanks, friend.