My answer is…sometimes. It is a much more complex question than meets the eye. There are many high quality, balanced, correctly produced wines selling for $10 or less. However, there are also some real disasters sitting on wine store shelves. They lay there waiting for some poor, unsuspecting value hunter to pick them up, read the “story” on the back label, and decide to “give it a try”.
Interestingly, I have found the same story applies to the other end of the wine price spectrum. I have bad memories of being disappointed after spending $30, $40, $50, or even more on a bottle. Some of these wines were total bombs and others suffered because I compared their quality and character to wines in the same price category. A few even disappointed vs. the $10 “house wines” I stock in my own cellar.
In my opinion, wines at the higher price points are a chance to taste the heart & soul of the farmers who grew the grapes and the vintners who crafted the wine. These wines often have layers of complexity that can take you far beyond the mass-produced wines found in the sub $10 category. So, when you go out and purchase that expensive bottle, just hope their hearts were in the right place when they were working.
In conclusion, start a list of all your go-to value wines. It pays to stock up on these. Plus, they often vary little from vintage to vintage because the producers are seeking a uniform flavor profile. Just be sure to keep your palate entertained with more complex wines at high price points. No need to break the bank. Try some dry creek zins or some Washington State Syrah in the $20-$30 range. Most of all have fun and drink responsibly.