Seven rules of thumb for finding good wine without wasting good money.
Wine critics who taste thousands of wines a year are a great source for value bottles. Wine magazines usually showcase inexpensive value wines; most of their online databases are only available by paid subscription, but Wine Enthusiast's Online Buying Guide is free. Search for "Best Buy." Also check out blogs like Good Wine Under $20 and Cheap Wine Ratings, which are dedicated solely to finding good budget wine.
Box and alternatively-packaged wine can deliver great value for three reasons. One, the overall quality has gone up exponentially in recent years, and it's possible to find truly delicious wine in a box. Two, environmentally friendly packaging is lightweight and cheaper to transport, which means less overall cost for you. Three, once opened, box wine lasts up to a month rather than just a few days. Brands to try: Banrock Station Chardonnay, Yellow+Blue Malbec, and Black Box Merlot.