House wine generally refers to an inexpensive drinking wine served in restaurants. Restaurant menus often omit detailed descriptions of a house wines country of origin, winery or grape varietal, listing it simply as "house red" or "house white", depending on the wines style. Some restaurants offer more specific categories of house wines, such as a "house chardonnay", or a "house merlot".
1. Production and sale
House wines generally rotate, with restaurants typically transitioning from one kind to another based on availability or season. House wines are typically wines that a restaurant feels will appeal to a large proportion of its clientele, determined either by its past success as a normal entry on the wine list or because the wine is easy to drink and pairs well with a significant amount of menu items.
House wines are often bought in bulk by restaurants, enabling the restaurants to further lower their prices. While house wines are still usually offered by the glass, many restaurants also offer them by the carafe or bottle.
2. Historical trends
Historically, house wine was usually poor quality, possibly "jug wine" derived from a second pressing of the grapes, and sold by the glass, promoted by a restaurant primarily on the basis of the wines low cost. A 1979 article asserted that "so called fine restaurants, those serving the haute cuisine or those considered posh or plush, will not carry a house wine". In the 21st century, due to a general rise in the availability of high quality wine, house wines have improved in quality in restaurants in the United States, and frequently may be produced by for a specific restaurant, although house wines will still usually be on the cheaper end of the wine list for any given restaurant.