I love wine. I have made it, studied it, been to over a 100 wineries. I try not to be a snob. It doesn't make my wine taste any better and scares people away from one of life's best things.
We like trying wines by varietal and AVA. For multiple reasons, our favorite areas are Sonoma and Lodi in California. Hit me up for recommendations.
On a normal night, me and the SWMBO enjoy something in the $7 to $12 range. For nicer dinners, a little more. Personally, I think the Law of Diminishing Returns kicks in around $50. I have had lots of great wines, but the best are from 40 to 60. That being said, there are a couple around 30 I would rate in the high 90's.
I recommend finding a style or varietal you love, then going to small wineries in that area that specialize in that. That is what we did in Healdsburg. We became members of a winery that was just starting and have been spoiled ever since with superior service and wines!