Why is Wine Expensive in Bali?

Uncorking the Mystery: Why is Wine So Expensive in Bali?

Known as the ‘Island of the Gods,’ Bali is a wonderland of sandy, palm-fringed beaches, tropical forests, ancient temples, and vibrant, bustling markets. It’s also known for being a shopper’s paradise that won’t burn a hole in your pocket – except when it comes to wine. A glass of this Dionysian delight will set you back more than the fanciest cocktail on the menu, and if you’re looking for a half-decent bottle of Bordeaux, call the bank.

But why is wine so costly in a country renowned for being super affordable? Let’s dive into the nearest wine bar and discover why this beloved beverage is so eye-wateringly expensive.


Alcohol Prices in Bali: How Much to Expect for Your Favourite Drinks

From local beers to imported wines and spirits, here’s a quick breakdown of alcohol prices in Bali and what to expect.

  • Local Beers (Bintang and Anker): Between 25,000 to 40,000 IDR ($1.75 to $2.75 USD) per bottle.
  • Imported Beers (Heineken, Carlsberg, Corona): From 40,000 to 60,000 IDR ($2.75 to $4.15 USD) per bottle.
  • Classic Cocktails (mojito, margarita, or piña colada): Anywhere from 80,000 to 120,000 IDR ($5.50 to $8.30 USD) per cocktail.
  • Signature Cocktails: From 100,000 to 200,000 IDR ($6.90 to $13.85 USD) or more per drink.
  • House Wine (Two Islands, Sababay, Plaga): House wines by the glass start from 80,000 to 150,000 IDR ($5.50 to $10.40 USD) per glass for locally produced wines.
  • Imported Wine: From 150,000 to 250,000 IDR ($10.40 to $17.30 USD) per glass.
  • Bottled Wine: Expect to pay upwards of 400,000 IDR ($27.70 USD) for a mid-range bottle of imported wine at restaurants or bars.
  • Local Spirits (Arak, Bali Moon): Range from 30,000 to 50,000 IDR ($2.10 to $3.45 USD) per shot.
  • Imported Spirits (vodka, rum, whiskey, and gin): Expect to pay anywhere from 80,000 to 150,000 IDR ($5.50 to $10.40 USD).


Why is Wine So Expensive in Bali? 

While the price of wine might drive you to swapping grapes for hops, there are several reasons why the ‘Nectar of the Gods’ – wine is so expensive in Bali.


Taxes and Tariffs

One of the main reasons wine tends to be pricier in Bali is the import taxes and tariffs levied by the Indonesian government. When wine is brought into the country, it’s subject to significant duties, ultimately increasing its retail price. These taxes are meant to protect local industries and contribute to the government’s revenue, but they make imported wines more expensive for wine lovers.


Transportation Costs

Bali’s blissful location as an island in the Indonesian archipelago is another reason a glass of wine costs more than your dinner. Shipping wine from far-off wine-producing regions, such as Europe or the Americas, involves long-distance transportation, which comes with hefty shipping costs. Other expenses like customs clearance, handling fees, and insurance add to the overall cost of importing wine to Bali.


Limited Local Production

Unlike traditional wine-producing regions like France, Italy, or California, Bali doesn’t have a large-scale wine production industry. The island’s tropical climate and terrain aren’t ideal for growing grapes on a large scale. While you may find a limited supply of locally-produced wine, most of the wine consumed in Bali is imported, leading to pricey imports and higher prices at the bar.


Distribution and Retail Markup

Imported wine goes through quite the journey before it lands in your glass in Bali. It passes through wholesalers, distributors, and retailers, with each one adding their own markup to cover their expenses and pocket a profit. Luxury hotels, fancy restaurants, and chic bars often add an extra markup to wine prices to match their swanky vibe and top-notch service.


Quality and Prestige

Thanks to Bali’s booming tourism scene, you’ll find plenty of sleek dining spots, posh resorts, and hip wine bars all over the island. These five-star spots offer travellers a top-notch experience, including stocking up on an impressive selection of wines from around the globe. This demand for prestigious labels and premium vintages by consumers wanting quality and exclusivity drives the price of wine up.

So, when you find yourself wincing at the price of wine in Bali and thinking about trading your favourite Burgundy for a Bintang, remember the multifaceted journey that bottle took to get to your glass.


Go Local

When in Bali, do as the Balinese do and support local! While the island may not have as many wineries as traditional wine-producing regions, it boasts a growing wine industry with several notable wineries worth exploring.

  • Hatten Wines: Hatten Wines is perhaps the most renowned winery in Bali. Located in Sanur, this winery has been instrumental in putting Balinese wine on the map. They specialise in producing wines using locally sourced grapes, such as Alphonse Lavallée and Belgia. You can enjoy guided tours of their vineyards and winemaking facilities and learn about Bali’s unique winemaking process.
  • Sababay Winery: Situated in Gianyar, Sababay Winery is another prominent player in Bali’s wine scene. This boutique winery focuses on sustainable and organic farming practices, producing award-winning wines, including whites, reds, and rosés. Visitors can enjoy wine tastings, guided tours of the vineyards, and scenic views of Mount Agung in the background.
  • Plaga Wine: Plaga Wine is a relatively new kid on the wine scene block but has quickly garnered a following for its quality wines. Located in the picturesque area of Tabanan, Plaga Wine produces various wines crafted from local and imported grapes, prioritising environmental sustainability and ethical farming methods.
  • Soré Vineyards: Tucked away in the highlands of Bali near Bedugul, Soré Vineyards offers a serene escape for wine-lovers. This boutique winery produces limited quantities of premium wines focusing on craftsmanship and terroir. Sample the wines at a laid-back wine tasting amidst lush vineyards and spectacular panoramic views of Bali’s countryside.
  • Hatten Land Vineyard: Hatten Land Vineyard is a recent addition to Bali’s wine scene, located north of the island near Singaraja. This expansive vineyard boasts diverse grape varietals, including Muscat St. Vallier, Belgia, and Probolinggo Biru. Join guided tours of the estate and wine tastings.


Where to Find Your Favourite Tipple in Bali

When you need a great glass of wine, head to Belle Wine Bar & Grazing Boards! Nestled on Monkey Forest Road in the heart of Ubud, this stylish and laid-back wine bar is the perfect place to get your fix. You’ll find a superb selection of local and imported wines and bubbles, from Bali’s Sababay Reserve to rosés from France. Mouthwatering ‘grazing boards’ featuring fresh local charcuterie, cheeses and fresh local produce are on hand when you feel peckish, rounding off the perfect tasting experience. 

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