What is Table Wine?

There are so many different types of wine in the world that it can be pretty difficult to know the differences between them or distinguish one from the next. As such you may hear a term such as a table wine and have no real clue what it means. 

Luckily for you, we are pretty clued up on all things wine-related and know exactly what is meant by the term table wine. 

In this article, we will be exploring exactly what table wine is as well as looking at the differences between table wine and regular wine.

We will also be telling you about all the different types of table wine. So if you’ve ever been offered table wine and wondered what exactly it is this is the article for you! 

What is table wine?

Table wine has two definitions and how it is defined depends on where in the world you are. With this in mind, you should note that the definition of table wine could either be a reference to a style of wine or a reference to the quality of wine in the wine classification criteria. 

First, let’s explore what we mean by table wine as a style of wine. Table wine is a wine that is often served at dinner or put on the table at dinner events. It is usually of a moderate quality, not the cheapest wine by any means but certainly not very expensive. 

It is thought to be an ideal wine that is good enough for consumption alongside food but not quite good enough to be enjoyed alone when at a wine bar. It is not really a ‘main event’ wine.

In the US, the definition of table wine is really as straightforward as that. It is typically between 7% and 14% alcohol content, as well as following the specifications we talked about in the previous paragraphs.

According to the US, table wine is neither sparkling nor is it a fortified wine. 

The technical specifications for table wine in the United States are far less than those in Europe, specifically those who fall under the jurisdiction of the EU (European Union). There are far more rules that need to be followed in the UK for when it comes to table wine. 

For this reason, table wine in Europe, according to European Union wine regulations, is a wine that is classed as a lower quality wine in comparison to a QWPSR wine.

This stands for Quality Wines Produced in Specified Regions. Wines from the EU fall into these two categories, with QWPSR being regarded as the higher quality of the two. 

Of course, given that we are writing within the United States, we want to make clear that the wine here that we call ‘table wine’ is not subject to the same rules as the EU.

A table wine in the US is defined purely by the fact that it is made from grapes and has an alcohol percentage of no more than 14%. Any more than this and it would instead be considered as a dessert wine. 

What is the difference between regular wine and table wine? 

Typically, the difference between table wine and regular wine is that table wine has a lower percentage of alcohol. They never exceed 14% in total, based on the idea that it is designed to be drunk alongside a meal. This ensures diners can enjoy a glass of wine without getting too inebriated. 

The phrase table wine is now considered quite an old fashioned term that has gone out of fashion a little.

The term itself was coined at a time where wine drinking had quite specific rules and people drank wine when it was appropriate to do so, meaning different occasions and even different meals called for the drinking of specific types of wine. 

Nowadays it is simply used to refer to a wine that is lower in quality and alcohol percentage, and as such, you can generally expect table wine to be of lesser quality than regular wine.

In comparison, regular wine will have a higher percentage of alcohol and be of better quality in terms of the grapes used and the winemaking process. 

Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule, and in truth, it may depend on your personal tastes as well as the winemakers themselves, because of course, a wine labeled as a table wine may have actually been made to a very high standard, and likewise, a regular wine might taste gross and be of a low quality. 

Oftentimes, you may know a little less about the table wine you are drinking in comparison to regular wine.

Regular wines will usually be accompanied by lots of details about the grapes made, the year they were picked, the winemaking process, where it was made, and more.

Table wine may not have as many details, and may simply be referred to as house red or house white. 

What are the different types of table wine?

There are many different types of table wine in the United States. We could truly be here all day listing them out for you, but we thought it may be helpful to list some of the most popular table wines here in the States.

You may recognize a few of them, and certainly, after reading it you will be keen for a wine spritzer! Here is a small selection: 

  • Barefoot Wines 
  • Yellow Tail
  • Cupcake Vineyards
  • Gallo Family Vineyards
  • Liberty Creek
  • Kendall Jackson Vintner’s Reserve
  • Apothic Wines
  • The Naked Grape
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle
  • Columbia Crest Estate
  • Inglenook Vineyards and Winery 

As we said, you surely recognize at least some of these brands, right? You will see that table wine is not one specific type of wine such as red or white but could be referring to any type.

You can get red table wine, white table wine, and everything in between! Chances are you have probably tried quite a few of them yourself! 

Christina Day
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