10 Awesome (White) Wines under $20

11 awesome white wines under $20Heyyyoo! My name is Katherine. I’m Trey’s big sister. Do you ever use made up words? My brother used to be a grammar snob in college and would make fun of me for it a lot. “Heyyyoo” is one of my longtime favorites. It’s a way to say “hello” with enthusiasm or “Yup, that’s awesome” or even “Hey. Oh.”  (which uses the ever popular overuse of periods. to. add. emphasis.). In fact, Emma made me a coffee cup for Christmas last year with “Heyyyoooo!” on it. We love gifts from Emma!

Anyway, I’m a social worker and live in St. Louis, Missouri with my husband and two awesome dogs. While I’m not a blogger or anything (gasp), I do love good food and good wine. I worked for a fancier restaurant in college that made all their servers take a class on wine, so we had smart-sounding answers for our tables. Safe to say, I’ve been hooked ever since, trying to learn and explore as much as wine has to offer as possible. I like to think of it as a healthy obsession—good for my mental health. 😉

12 awesome white wines under $20 Emma and Elsie asked me if I would be interested in writing about great wines under $20. Although I am definitely no expert, I was super excited to share some great wines with y’all. Today’s post is devoted to a fun line-up of yummy whites!

Kat Montgomery + Emma ChapmanBefore introducing the wines, there are a few things that should be noted:

  • Whether you’re new to wine, or you and wine have enjoyed a long fruitful relationship (pun!), there should be a wine in this list for you! We have quite the varied line-up.
  • The wines chosen are a mix of some of my favorites and suggestions from a new friend, Alex LaPratt. I met Alex during my first trip to New York a couple of years ago. I went to this amazing restaurant called DB Bistro. I had some questions about the wine I had chosen, and the server suggested I talk to the sommelier, which is a wine expert. While talking to the wine dude, Alex, I found out two facts: this happened to be his last night at DB Bistro, and he was named the best sommelier in the country the previous year! When I told him that I hosted wine pairing dinners at my home, he said that I was more than welcome to get his advice on wine stuff. So I’ve reached out to him a few times. (Duh.) He’s been so nice to respond and offer his thoughts. One of those times was for this entry, and he suggested some goodies! Heyyyoo!
  • I’m also going to give a link for each wine to a fun online description. I love reading these before I smell/taste my wine. I’ll often print out a menu with descriptions like these for wine pairing dinners. It’s super fun to read them. Sometimes they are dead on and I can taste/smell everything they say. Sometimes I struggle finding things like “tar” in the wine. And other times they just really have some classic “that’s what she said” lines.
  • If you can’t find the suggested wines at a local store, you should be able to find most of them online (we bought at lot of ours at marketviewliquor.com). Just make sure you have your ID handy when your package arrives.

 OK, now for the wines. They are listed in order from sweetest to fuller-bodied.

Marco negriFirst up: Marco Negri Moscato D’Asti. This is a super yummy and very sweet bubbly white. (Bee tee dubs, if you’re new to wine and you like sweet, Moscatos are the way to go.) It was my favorite wine when I was in my early twenties. I still really enjoy this with the right dessert pairing, like a warm apple crisp.

Price: $13.99

St. michelleNext up: 2012 Chateau St. Michelle Riesling. Chateau St. Michelle wines have been around for a while, and most years they offer pretty solid wines under $20. Their Riesling is really good! It’s a little sweet, but not too sweet. Also, fun fact I learned when my amazing husband took me to Sonoma for my 30th, Rieslings pair really well with spicy cuisine. Try this wine with some Indian food or other spicy Thai dishes. It sounds weird, but they are so good together!

Price: $10.49

AloisThis next wine is a suggestion from my friend, Alex. The 2012 Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio is really interesting and delish! It also happens to be one of Elsie’s favorites (for good reason!). Most Pinot Grigios are a little on the sweeter side. Not this bottle. This wine is like a Savignon Blanc hooked up with a nice light Pinot Grigio. Enjoy this wine with a nice citrus salad.

Price: $15.99

ChandonThe Domain Chandon Brut Classic is one of my favorite bubblies right now. The past few vintages have yielded some great champagne (technically you can’t call it Champagne if it’s not from Champagne, France, but sometimes I do it anyway) with high ratings from experts (87-90 points). I love to serve this with a champagne fondue with French bread and green apples. Yuuu-uum-ee.

Price: $17.99

MuscadetThe 2012 Pepiere Muscadet Clos De Briords is another recommendation from Alex. I had never had a Muscadet before trying this wine, but I loved it! This is one of those wines with a funny description: “brilliant nose of wet rocks.” Not sure I got wet rocks on the nose, but it was a great wine! Try it with oysters or scallops.

Price: $14.65

AtlantisThe 2012 Argyros Santorini Atlantis White was one of Emma’s favorites. It is fabulously both complex and simple. This white has a nice mix of body and zest and is easy to drink by itself or enjoy with light citrus dishes.

Price: $19.96

Martin codaxThis was another one of Alex’s spot-on suggestions. This Martin Codax Albarino is a nice, clean white. Try this great wine with rosemary chicken, seafood, or light, olive oil based pastas.

Price: $14.99

DrylandsSo, after I transitioned out of my sweet wine phase, I got into big bold reds. I stayed there for quite some time. Then about two years ago, I really started to get into Sauvignon Blancs. I enjoy a good glass of Sauvignon Blanc year round now…and I’m having trouble thinking of a wine that I go to more frequently. They are grassy, light, but complex. And I find them super easy to drink. The 2011 Drylands Sauvignon Blanc is delish!  And you can often find it for a good price! It’s crisp, earthy, zesty, grassy, and just yummy. Hey. O. to this guy. Enjoy this with asparagus, scallops, zesty dishes, or with me on my back porch!

Price: $16.99

SimiThis next wine is a special wine to me. I used to sing jazz music at fine dining restaurants in college (Kocktails with Kat). That was a really fun season for me. With an amazing drummer and fabulous piano player next to me, I got to sit on a tall bar stool, sing my favorite jazz songs, and drink a glass of Simi Chardonnay. Simi is a classic chardonnay that offers a great mix of acidic and buttery textures. If you’re looking for a nice crowd-pleasing chardonnay, this one is a winner.

Price: $15.99

SouvenrainLast, and definitely not least, is a nice creamy chardonnay. For the price, the 2011 Souverain Chardonnay offers a buttery and smooth Chardonnay. This will go well with a risotto, scallops seared in butter, or a creamy butternut squash soup. (Most of the really buttery chards are over $30, but if you like really creamy chardonnays, these are worth the price for a special occasion.)

Price: $10.99

A BIG thanks to Kat for creating this post with us! I don’t know about you, but choosing a wine can be so intimidating! Thank you, Kat, for being the person in my life who makes it look totally easy, even if I can’t pronounce anything correctly. 🙂 -Emma

PS – You can see her favorite red wines under $20 here.

Credits // Author: Kat Montgomery. Photography: Sarah Rhodes and Trey George.

  • I’m big wine lover. This post reminds me my last trip at Hunter Valley where i enjoyed wine tasting tour.

  • These are awesome suggestions. Thank you for sharing and I would love to see a red wine suggestion such as this list.

  • Red wine list soon, please! I’m hosting a reception for my daughter’s 1st communion in April and plan to keep it simple with the Eucharistic theme by having a cheese platter, with bread and wine!

  • The Chateau Ste Michelle is always a safe option, and their Gewürztraminer is pretty good too!! Another one that is not expensive and that most of the people don’t know here because it’s French but you can actually find it easily, or find the closest French restaurant and the cheaper white wine will be the Picpoul which is pretty good!

  • I love this post for many reasons: 1.) I’m a huge wine lover as well! It really is just good for the soul sometimes. Plus, as a college student, I need to go for the cheap! 2.) I’m a social work major! I love seeing people who are actually living it!


  • I love wines.. My last holiday was a trip arround vineyards in Mendoza Argentina.. I saw how the Chandon is done.
    My favorite wine is Luigi Bosca.. Its only perfect. Malbec is awesome!!!

  • Love this post! I am hooked on wine and if there is one thing better than a glass of wine it is a glass at a bargain. I would love to see more posts like this.

  • I totally agree on the Riesling and I’m about to have The Martin Codax this week. If you like Riesling, give their Eroica a try. Pacific Rim Dry Riesling and Ponzi Riesling are my other go to’s for everyday.

  • I second (or fifteenth…) that comment about the stemless wine glasses, they’re awesome. Where are they from? We allllllll want them. 😉

  • Hi Katherine! Thanks for your suggestions, I like to visit wineries but I’m no expert, I wish I was, I need to go out more and taste more wines, ha, ha. Do you know there’s a Spanish wine that is very popular with presidents of the US and actors from Hollywood? Ceferino Carrión (aka Jean Leon) was a friend of James Dean, Frank Sinatra and many other stars, and he has a winery in Spain. I visited it some time ago and was really surprised about his life, it was just like a movie:
    Best regards from Barcelona,

  • Thank you so much for this post!
    I just hosted a wine & cheese night with a friend, and I was in charge of getting the whites. This came at such a perfect time!

  • So excited to try those last two Chardonnays! Finding an affordable “buttery” chard is not an easy task! Also, if you guys live near a Costco, they’re Kirkland brand Chardonnay (and Malbec) are surprisingly awesome and it’s $8 for one of those double bottles!

    Nothing like wine on a budget 🙂

  • What a fun post! I love learning about wine. In college I took a course called “Geography of Wine” from IUPUI…..one of the best classes and one I refer to in my daily life. 🙂

  • Ah yes, this is my kinda blog post 🙂 Thanks for sharing. I’m off to pop a bottle x

    June Lorraine

  • I really hope that there’s a red wine post coming to follow this one 🙂 – can’t wait to try some of these!

  • Great post! These have gone on my grocery list 🙂

    Ella | www.towanderandtoroam.blogspot.com

  • Thank you for these recommendations! I’m always looking for cheap whites. I’m not cheap but I like cheap wine. I love Chandon and have a fairly good relationship with that champagne (I’ve had a couple of headaches from it as well when I over imbibed. I will check out some of your choices. I also like 2 Oceans Sauvignon Blanc. It’s not sweet or harsh and at $10 bottle you can’t lose.

  • Hi there! Yes, red wine post is coming soon! We recently had our tasting party, and I’m working on the post now. Stay tuned!

  • As a french girl, I’d like to recommend you an italian wine, the Lambrusco. You can find it in red, white or rosé. It is sparkling, quite sweet, to my mind red is better. For me, it is the best !

  • Pinned! But I must tell you the Chateau St Michelle “Harvest” Riesling is even better {in my humble opinion} than the regular Riesling featured here. I used to love the Riesling until I tried the Harvest selection….OMG! I drive an extra ten miles to get that one!!! Try it and let me know when you do!!

    Hugs, AW

  • Hi there!
    I read your blog for a few years but I guess is the first time to comment.
    Just to say that if you enjoy wine, you must try the portuguese wines, we are the best on wine I can assure you that, but you must try and see it for yourself, we have different kinds of course, for me I prefer red wine from the Douro region, all are really nice. But you have a whole world to discover in Portuguese wines I just hope you have some there to buy,or else you must come for a visit!

    Sweet Kisses from Portugal!

  • I love a good Albarino… Martin Codax is good but if you can find Columna Albarino get it!!! It’s super deeelish! One of my favorite whites!!!


  • I love wine recommendations! It would be great to see more of this on A Beautiful Mess…

  • I think it´s very sad that alcohol is supposed to be a part of a charming lifestyle. Lots of people out there have big or small addiction problems. That´s why I hope that wine free som alcohol should get more attention. It´s for everyone!

  • Chandon is my fav!


  • I love wine! Especially white wine! I love this post! I’ll definitely be coming back to this as a reference next time I go to the liquor store! Thank you Katherine for sharing these wines with us!



  • Nice post! I love reading aout wine, and you write well.
    Just a suggestion: It would be nice to know the country, it’s often obvious but not always. Oh, and the “Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio” is actually, if you look at the photograph, a Pinot Bianco, so that would explain why it’s more dry!

  • I cant wait to try these! You have to add White Haven to the list!


  • This post is perfectly timed for me-I’ve just moved from Austrakia to the US and have been struggling with unfamiliar brands and varieties! Nice to see some fave Aussie bubbles in here too!

  • I love this list! I’m a wine newbie, but I do love mascato! I can’t wait to try out a couple of these awesome suggestions!



  • I love wine… it’s my go to drink at any occasion, even just a dinner at home or late night movie.. 😛 but i’m a red wine lover…. I’ve tried the whites but nothing says like having warm strong red wine in hand. especially the ones with oak <3 thanks for the post! love the pairings too

  • I love so many of these! The Atlantis is really fun and the Cheateau St. Michelle is one of my go-to’s. I’m a white wine lover, so this just made my day. Thanks!

    The Rambling Fangirl

  • The Chateau St. Michelle is My favorite Reisling. I really enjoy the Cupcake brand for my Moscato D’Asti.

  • Cheateau St. Michelle’s Dry Riesling is also great, especially if you’re not a fan of sweet wines!

  • Thanks for this list! I had so much fun reading the descriptions, they all had so much personality. Thank you for sharing! I’m definitely going to try that Savignon Blanc.


  • Hey Susan! So glad you enjoyed the post. The ones that I didn’t include the years are generally good wines year to year, so the year isn’t as important. There are some, however, that will likely be just as good in other years (the Souvrain, Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling, and the Drylands).

    I also love cooking with wine, and have enjoyed experimenting with fun sauces with wine. I would not recommend the above bottles for cooking (they are too yummy!!), unless you have some that is a few days old. I would recommend the cheap stuff (like less than $5). Happy cooking!!

  • I hope you do a post on red wine ~ please!! 🙂

    Love the stem-less glasses also….. where are they from?

  • Hi Katherine! Thanks for your suggestions, I like to visit wineries but I’m no expert, I wish I was, I need to go out more and taste more wines, ha, ha. Do you know there’s a Spanish wine that is very popular with presidents of the US and actors from Hollywood? Ceferino Carrión (aka Jean Leon) was a friend of James Dean, Frank Sinatra and many other stars, and he has a winery in Spain. I visited it some time ago and was really surprised about his life, it was just like a movie:
    Best regards from Barcelona,

  • I third that! I am excited to try out these wines, but not until I can get my hands on those stemless wine glasses that I LOVE. 🙂

  • GREAT post!! I love wine but I’m always asking the cheese guys at Whole Foods for suggestions for pairings. Please, oh please do another for reds!

  • Yum, Yum and more Yum. My hubby and I thank you for this (he just doesn’t know it yet). 🙂

  • This is fabulous! Who wants to spend a whole ton of money on wine when there are plenty of amazing and cheaper options! Love it!


  • great choices! I’m always afraid to try new things, so these recs will be a huge help 🙂


  • I love Chateau St. Michelle! Thanks for sharing!


  • Love the post!! Especially because I am more of a red wine drinker, mainly rioja’s, garnache tempranillo’s. This really helped open up some options for white wines in the summer! Also, suggestion, if you like a more dry white wine, German white wines are delicious! Like a spatlese. <3

  • such an awesome post! i have definitely learned a lot over the past few years about wine but know i have so much more to learn. saving these for next time i go to the store 🙂

  • This is some great stuff to know. My boyfriend and I keep trying to get into wine (in a poor attempt to look somewhat more grown-up), but there’s really an overwhelming amount of stuff out there. This definitely helps!


  • Loving this post!! I don’t normally drink white but some of these are sounding very tempting. I definitely need to try more dessert wines, especially as a couple of my girlfriends come round for pudding night once a month. We have however been drinking Mead A LOT lately, if you have never tried it you really really should 😉

  • im not much of a drinker so wine wasnt really my thing either but i think ill give it a go after this post.

    i absolutely LOVED It!

    please have her on more often!
    i love the fresh, how do you say it, outlook? the way she talks!
    bring her on!

    thanks for the list!

  • This is a great post! I’m no food or wine connoisseur, so it’s nice to have it broken down like this.


  • Ooooooooooo, I loove vine and white is perfect. I am drinking some now. xa

  • haha the first part made me laugh a lot!
    I love Italian wines, of course 😉

    A fashion & DIY blog…

  • I recently had the Drylands Sauvignon Blanc, which was a big step for me because I am pretty strictly a red wine drinker. It was pretty delish and paired really nicely with sushi! Even went out and bought a bottle!

  • I was reading along (great article!) and realized MarketView sounded oddly familiar. It is 2 towns over from where I grew up! I’ll have to stop next time I’m visiting family and check out some of these wines!

  • Such an awesome post. Really enjoy it. Great ideas and looking forward to trying them. Everyone is right, red wine post should follow. Love to hear about appetizers for what we call “pupu” parties.

  • Fantastic entry, thanks so much. Congrats on the recent book too! Keep up the great work!

  • Great, informative post. Why the years included on some but not others? And, can I, could I, do you, cook with any (or all) of these? Or, are there other good cooking wines? Again, awesome post.

  • Those stemless wine glasses look hand blown to me (I’m studying glass blowing in school) are they? They are really cool!

  • i love this post!! kat sounds awesome and the photos of you two are so cute!!



  • We always go for the Firestone Riesling (simply because we visited their vineyards near Santa Barbara last year and had a GREAT time – my fiance and our tour guide turned out to be descendants from the same TINY Greek Island).
    The Chateau Ste Michelle is always right next to it and I’ve been meaning to try it, but haven’t branched out/been wondering what it’s like. AND NOW I KNOW! Thanks for answering questions you didn’t even know I had.

    THERE IT IS – RIGHT THERE! I HAVE HAD AN EPIPHANY. THAT’S why I love this blog so much. You guys are always answering questions you didn’t even know I had.


  • What a great post! Thank you 🙂 I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a post about red wines too! That would be just fabulous 😉


  • Yes! Thanks so much for this post! Three things: Ah! It’s Trey as a girl! (Sorry – this only child LOVES seeing how siblings look alike!) Also: Love Kat’s ‘voice’ – so fun and personal/conversational. Perfect addition to the blog. And last: Great post in general! Sometimes it’s hard to branch out into new wines. I feel like I miss out on so many because it’s got a boring label (cause we all pick new wines by the fun label, right?!), or I don’t want to waste money on something I may not like. Def going to stalking the store for these!

  • My fiance and I (10 more days til he is my husband 🙂 ) call the Marco Negri our wine! It is our favorite and it has been there to celebrate many great occasions! We affectionate call it ‘Our Lady’, because we can never remember the name and it is one of the few bottles that has a lady on it.

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