NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Valentine's Day is finally here, and while the day may bring romance, fancy dinners, chocolates and warm feelings to many, it is also a time that makes others rather miserable or at very least, more than a tad cynical.
Luckily, we have the secret ingredient to make Valentine's Day bearable, even fun, for those who wish they were with someone on Feb. 14: wine.
Specifically, lots of wine. But we're not talking about the good stuff here. No, the good stuff is too expensive for this mission. We need the cheap stuff, the bargain bin booze, the stuff that even college students can afford.
So don't fret if the the fake hearts and the never-ending streams of jewelry commercials get you down. We agree Valentine's Day couldn't end quickly enough, and enough with all the pity because you may not have a date.
The antidote is wine. Without further commiserating, here are 7 Cheap Wines to Help You Totally Forget About Valentine's Day. (Note: We do not suggest combining these wines in one sitting. Pick one and stick with it.)
Mad Dog 20/20
Mad Dog 20/20 is actually called MD 20/20, and the initials stand for the wine's producer, Mogen David (the name "Mad Dog" is an affectionate moniker bestowed on it by the public). The 20/20 part originally stood for 20 ounces of the beverage, which contained 20% alcohol by volume, but neither of these characteristics apply nowadays. The original "Red Grape Wine" flavor contains the most alcohol by volume at 18%, but most of the varieties contains 13%.
And the stuff is cheap, as you can purchase a bottle for $4 or a case or 12 bottles for slightly less than $50.
Night Train Express
Night Train Express is a solid choice for anyone who wants to get the most bang for his or her buck, as a bottle of this beverage usually contains 17.5% alcohol by volume. Some local communities have tried to implement restrictions on fortified wines such as Night Train, which they blame for public drunkenness, vagrancy, vandalism and more. Night Train is actually named specifically in a University of Minnesota study that states, "Inexpensive fortified wine, sometimes known as 'bum wine' or 'hooch,' is commonly associated with street drinking and chronic inebriates."
It'll only cost you about $6 for a bottle or $60 for a case of 12 bottles if you go this route, but proceed with caution should you choose to do so.
To be fair, RELAX is actually a delightful wine. It's sweet, light and a go-to choice if you just want a glass of white wine to take the edge off after a day of work. But it also carries with it a message that's useful for those of us who might be bitter or down in the dumps on Valentine's Day: RELAX. You may wish you had someone with whom to share the day, but a good bottle of wine can be your companion and help you chill out while all those other lovebirds are out there sharing desserts.
And for the gentlemen in the audience, look on the bright side! Your single status on V-Day means that you don't have to shell out any of your hard-earned cash for fancy dinners at French restaurants with four items on the menu, giant stuffed bears, flowers that will die within a week. A bottle of RELAX will typically cost in the neighborhood of $20. Now that's a Valentine's Day experience we can get behind.
Arbor Mist first graced store shelves in the U.S. in the summer of 1998 with just two flavors and had the best debut for a wine in nearly two decades at the time. Today, customers can purchase 14 different flavors, from Peach Chardonnay to Blackberry Merlot.
If you really want to go cheap and easy on Valentine's Day, then snag a bottle of Arbor Mist for less than $5 and you're all set.
Andre is one of two E.& J. Gallo Winery brands on this list (we'll get to the second one momentarily) and just so happens to be top-selling sparkling wine in the country. Today it is widely known as the drink of choice for college students who want to step up a bit from a certain other wine on our list (we'll get to that one, too), but it was actually the first sparkling wine E & J Gallo ever produced in 1966 when the winery wanted to create an affordable sparkling wine for the average American.
And they seem to have accomplished that task and then some, as a bottle of Andre typically sells for approximately $5.
Boone's Farm earns a spot on this list partly because of the mystique that surrounds it. E.& J. Gallo used to produce the stuff, but the flavors are now malt-based instead of wine-based. But no change seems to have slowed down the love for this beverage, which comes in more than 25 flavors (not counting retired flavors). Boone's Farm has even spawned a fan club website created by devoted followers and an Urban Dictionary entry that more or less tells the whole story.
As for price, it's possible to pick up a bottle of Boone's Farm for less than $5.
You knew this was coming. Franzia is the cheap wine, known far and wide as the wine of choice for college students who might think that Andre is a bit too classy for the occasion. And we can see why. The stuff comes in 13 varieties, is available in three-liter and five-liter boxes and typically costs less than $15, though some establishments sell it for cheaper than that. So whether you want to try and polish off the box yourself or invite some of your other single friends over to slap the bag, you can't go wrong with Franzia to help Valentine's Day pass just a little more quickly.Also see: The 10 Best Wines for Valentine's Day