It is important to realize that you do not need to spend a lot of money on a bottle of wine. There are plenty of great inexpensive wines out there. Here are some of my recommendations.
Mark West Pinot Noir- You can find this in the $8.00 range which is unheard of for Pinot. Best value Pinot out there and a great everyday wine.
Erath-Pinot Noir-$15 range and very drinkable.
Cloudline Pinot Noir- Another great Pinot value wine. Should find in the $15 range.
Big Fire- Pinot Noir- This one is in the $20 range but worth it.
Other value reds worth checking out-
Las Rocas- granacha- This used to be one of my favorite under $10 finds but it has crept up to the $12 range. Still worth it. They also have an even better version for $18 called Vinas Viejas.
Rosenblum Vinters Cuvee XXII- Zinfandel and another under $10 gem.
Four Vines Zinfandel - should be able to find in the $12 range
Marquis Philips Shiraz- $12 and the Marquis Phillips Sarah's Blend $14.
Georges Viorney Brouilly beujolias- under $15
Chowfather doesn't drink a lot of whites but highly recommends the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. Should be able to find this in the $14 range.
Chowfather prefers the real deal Champagne and not sparkling wine but at $9 I highly recommend Francois Montand.