ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

I’m still not sure if a house wine is purchased from a brand-name winery by a restaurant, or is it made by the restaurant and stored by the owner?

—Tatjana, Canada

Dear Tatjana,

There are some diverging trends when it comes to “house wines,” but it’s fair to assume the wines were made by a winery (which has the necessary facilities and licensing) and not by a restaurant. Traditionally, house wines are just affordable, basic options of red and white wines that are sold by the glass, or sometimes by the carafe or bottle.

Some restaurants take more care picking their house wines, finding wines that complement their cuisine, or even getting involved with the blend or getting private bottlings made for them by a winery. House wines that are more specialized will often say so—look for clues about the producer or winemaker, or terms like “private bottling.” If the house wine doesn’t even tell you what its varietal, appellation or vintage are, chances are pretty good it’s the affordable, quaffable use of the term.

—Dr. Vinny


Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

MEMBER LOGIN

= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Free Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences

Classifieds

The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories