What is house wine?

Posted by Jay Lee & Peter Koff MW on 28th Feb 2019

If you hear ‘house wine’, what image pops into your head at first?

For many diners, the first thought is cheap wine. This is often not far from the truth. House wine is usually one of the least expensive wines in the restaurant. But house wine is more than that.

For some, house wine conjures up the image of a wine that is exclusive to THAT restaurant. In the case of large chain restaurants or excellent and famous restaurants, this can be true. Sometimes they sell a house wine with their own label on it.

Some diners might think that it’s wine produced for the restaurant by a boutique winery owned by the restaurant. This may be true but it is not the normal definition of “house wine.”

House wines are chosen by a restaurant for a range of reasons: price is one of the most important, along with your more obvious grape varieties. But house wine selections can also be very diverse. House wines are almost always served by the glass and often by the bottle too.

The quality and interest of house wine can be an excellent criterion by which to judge the quality of a restaurant. Some restaurants go for entry level wines, chosen more for price than any other reason. Other restaurants are much more discerning as they understand their house wine choices reflect an attention to quality, detail, knowledge, commitment and even passion, almost surely to be evident in the rest of the dining experience.

A restaurant’s quality is judged by a combination of many factors: food, beverages, service, atmosphere, pricing. House wine definitely plays an important role in the overall picture of a restaurant’s quality! 


Want to taste a wine recommendable as an excellent house wine for many restaurants?

Click on the bottle below.

Selected by Peter Koff MW


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