Choosing Your House Wine


Mo Wine Please

Your Very Own House Wine

Do you have a “house wine”?

This concept was introduced to us a couple of years ago on a winery tour.  (No doubt the winery guide was planting the seed, hoping that we’d choose their wine as our house wine.)

A house wine, just like at a restaurant, would be your “go to” wine of choice.  It’s the wine that you know you enjoy, is at a price point you are comfortable with and one you don’t mind sharing with others.  It’s the wine you can pull out and serve without a second thought.

Among the deciding factors, the price point is a biggie.

Some people choose “2 Buck Chuck” as their house wine.  They are delighted with the cost (although I think it is now more like $4 per bottle) and happily stock up on cases of Charles Shaw wines at Trader Joe’s.  On the other end of the spectrum, you have super oenophiles, lovers of all things fine in the wine department…they would rather pass (literally, like they’d rather die) than drink “cheap” wine.  Most of us fall somewhere in the middle.  Decide what you are comfortable with.

Once you have settled on your budget, it is time for research.  Of course the best way to research wine is to drink it.  So make a trip to your grocery store, liquor store, or warehouse store and start experimenting! Sometimes there will be wine notes accompanying the wines on the shelves.  Use those and recommendations from the staff to help you pick some wines to try. The research process will hopefully lead you to find your “house wine” and some new, special favorites.

Your house wine should definitely be something that you love but should also be kind of mainstream.  You may LOVE a big, juicy cabernet but it may be waaaaaay too much for the every day palate.

Pinot Noir is a great choice for a red house wine. It pairs really well with most foods from meat to fish. There are lots of Pinot Noirs out there at virtually every price point.

Many wineries make a red blend. They take several different types of grapes (Cabernet, Merlot, Zinfandel, Malbec, Syrah, etc.) and combine them in one way or another to create something new. The grapes that make up the blend and their relative percentages are usually shown on the bottle. As you can imagine, there are an infinite number of ways the grapes can me combined so every single red blend has different characteristics.

Red blends go by all sorts of names. You might see Proprietary Red, Meritage, some clever signature name chosen by the winery or simply Red Blend.

Choosing a red blend as your house wine might be just the perfect way to please all and to expand your wine repertoire.

If you are going with white wine, you might choose a Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay.  They are both quite popular. They are wines that people know and understand.

But what about a Viognier as your house wine? As I mentioned here, Vignonier is like the white wine version of Pinot Noir in that it pairs very well with a variety of foods and drinks well on its own. You can enjoy a glass with or without food and it will be perfect.

Many wineries also make a white blend. The same rules apply – an infinite variety of combinations make for an infinite variety in flavors. If you like the idea of a Chardonnay and a Viognier, look for a blend that combines the two.

Of course you could, like a restaurant, have both a house white and a house red. Something to think about…

House Wine


Now it’s time to stock up. Many stores offer a discount when you buy in bulk – even as little as 6 bottles, but don’t go crazy.  Make sure you don’t buy more wine than you have storage space.  A wine refrigerator is ideal but, in a pinch, your wine can be stored, on its side, in a cool, dark place (closet, basement, kitchen cupboard away from the oven).

Variety is the spice of life.  But it’s also wonderful, at the end of the day, to have a wine you know you can always count on.

Your very own “House Wine”.

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Thanks for stopping by!


  1. What is your house wine? I usually have a bottle of Oyster Bay sauv blanc on hand and a champagne in the fridge. My go-to red is usually whatever is left over after someone’s visited. I need to find a house red.

    • The funny thing is we don’t really have a house wine. Since my husband loves collecting and trying new wines we have a big variety. That works, too!

  2. We don’t have a “house” wine but I usually turn to Cupcake Chardonnay for book club and bunko. For a dinner party, I love Butternut Chardonnay and Benziger Chardonnay. The Mister is in charge of the red and picks out much more expensive wines than me…

    • Although we don’t really have a house wine, I do have a few “go-to” wines for girls’ night in. Some of that is based on the preferences of the gals who come. Woodbridge Chardonnay and Clos du Bois Pinot Grigio.

  3. I love a good riesling as my house wine. Yellowtail is bought a lot around here.

  4. Well, the wine we are known for serving is my favorite German Riesling. The only problem – it isn’t available in the US and when Chris goes very long without any trips to Germany (like now!) we ten to run really low!!

  5. Since I’m a white wine kind of girl, we almost always have a bottle of Chardonnay around. Of course, we also almost always have a bottle of Moscato since it’s my favorite!

  6. MO WINE PLEASE! Hahahahaha! I LOVE THAT!!! 😀

    Yum…I WANT A HOUSE WINE! Actually, we sort of had one back in the day, but we made the mistake of it not being mainstream enough so it was hard to get. You cannot have a difficult to purchase house [email protected] It’s just frustrating. We’re still working on it here, but I’m smiling thinking of our “research”. Yum! 🙂 –Lisa

  7. House wine! Such a great idea. I tend to do white in the summer and red in the winter. I’m a sauvignon blanc girl – I, too, love the NZ Oyster Bay version and also that of a local winery called Jackson Triggs. I’m going to exploir the world of pinot noir as per your suggestion. Thanks Mo.

  8. great post. a friend of mine buys jugs at preston winery in sonoma. that’s his house wine, and it’s magnificent. i’m more TJ’s. there are a lot of good wines and great price points.

    • Another huge plus to living so close to wine country! Just head up the road, fill up your jug and your supply is replenished! But in the absence of that, I agree that TJs, Costco and our Safeway equivalent have great variety with pricing for everyone.

  9. Love this article… maybe because I love wine so much. We have 2 house reds and 1 house white. This is because my husband will ONLY drink Bully Hill Sweet Walter Red… that’s his regular, but it’s too sweet for me nowadays. My house red is an Italian semi-sweet “Amalia Dolce Viola Cagnina” (a mouthful, I know…) and my house white has always been Relax Riesling, although I *just* had a different Riesling at Olive Garden last night that I think will now be my new favorite.

    Here from SITS Sharefest, by the way! 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by. There is nothing wrong with having a few wines as your house wine. And the research part is pretty darn fun!

  10. I love that you mentioned pinot noir for a house wine. That’s my house wine – although I haven’t settled on a particular brand. I just go with whatever is on sale!

  11. What wines do you most often find yourself offering your guests?

  12. I never thought about having a “house wine” but clearly I should! Thanks for the info. I myself am on my way to becoming a wino (in a good way) so this is a must. I’ll be sharing this with my boyfriend tonight so we can decide on a good one! 🙂 Visiting from SITS btw.

  13. This is such a great idea! I tend to find one or two that I like and stick with them anyway, so I love putting a more personal spin on it an making them our “house wines”.
    Cori O’Shaughnessy recently posted…Silent Sunday: First Day of AutumnMy Profile


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