table wines - Printable Version

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- *newbie* - 12-25-2000 12:46 PM

I would like to take a moment and introduce myself to you. My name is Doug, I live in Indiana and I have just recently started to enjoy wines.

I recently purchased a couple books about wines that cover tasting, opening, terminology etc, but I still have a simple "newbie" questions.

1. What is the difference between a table wine and a wine that doesn't say "table wine?" Is it something as simple as a table wine was made to be served while eating?

- Bucko - 12-25-2000 01:12 PM

One reason is by law. In CA for instance, if a certain percentage of a wine is not of one variety e.g. Cabernet Sauvignon, they cannot call it a C.S., but some trade name e.g. Geyserville, or simply Red Table Wine.


- Bucko - 12-25-2000 01:23 PM

Note that Geyserville is from Ridge, usually has 70% or so Zinfandel, but may also contain other red varities e.g. Petite Sirah, Carrignane and the like, so they cannot call it Zinfandel.


- Innkeeper - 12-25-2000 02:28 PM

Believe the U.S. Government defines table wine as still (none bubbly) wine containing less than 14% alcohol. Sometimes some of your "bigger" table wines creep upwards from 14%, but so long as they don't have other fortifying spirits added to them as Port and Sherry do, they are still table wines. Other general types of wine besides table and fortified are sparkling and dessert wines. Dessert wines differ from table wines in that they have much more residual sugar in them, making them sweet to go with sweets. You are right in that table wines are meant to be brought to table, i.e. eaten with the main courses, but no law says you can't drink them any time you want, unless you are a minor.

- *newbie* - 12-25-2000 02:56 PM

Thanks for the responses. Wines are still a little confusing to me as it seems that they are classified in so many different ways, but yet the differences can be something simple like higher sugar, an additive, or if it was aged in SS or Oak. Geeez.....I have a lot to learn.

- Thomas - 12-25-2000 04:35 PM

IK has it right. The words "table wine" are a federal definition (BATF) of the alcohol content in wine. In fact, when using the words "table wine" on a domestic wine label the winery has discretion whether or not to post the alcohol content.

- Bucko - 12-25-2000 05:33 PM

It can be confusing, but do not get discouraged. As Foodie and IK say, there is a "legal" definition based on alcohol content at 14%. Over 14%, e.g. Ports (which are usually around 18%), the taxes are higher. However there are bottles of red wine that say "Red Table Wine" that are not over 14% alcohol. They just do not have enough percentage of one grape to make them a variety designation.


- winoweenie - 12-26-2000 07:08 AM

Hi Newbie. Sheesh! I go off board for 3 days and you get subjected to replys` from a slew of my ill-mannered friends. On My, and their behalf...." WELCOME TO THE BOARD! " winoweenie

- Bucko - 12-26-2000 08:21 AM

Could you make it 4 or 5? }:>


- *newbie* - 12-26-2000 12:59 PM

I have decided that I am going to take my books, on wine, to the wine store and just look at labels and try to learn. Do you think they will kick me out if I just meandor for a while and not purchase anything? Thanks again for being so helpful. I need all the help I can get.

Doug [img][/img]

- Drew - 12-26-2000 08:16 PM

Pretty wild gif *Newbie*....nice touch.


- chittychattykathy - 12-27-2000 12:34 AM

If you want to meander alone then let them know when you're appoached that your "ok on your own and will be just looking around for a while". (If this is a problem for them, It's not a place you'll want to shop at anyway, so leave!) Most folks in wine departments/shops are great assests your wine studies though, so do ask questions when you're ready! Welcome to the board!!!

- Blue - 01-03-2001 06:24 PM

For French wines Vin de Table (Table Wine) does have a specific meaning.

In France there are 3 basic buckets that wine can fall into - AOC, VDQS and Vin de Table. Only about 30% of wines fall into the highest category, Appelation d'Origine Controlee. To call a wine Medoc, for example, a wine producer needs to follow a set of strict guidelines, including that the vines are in the area of origin, he makes wine in a high quality traditional method, yield is bellow a certain level and traditional cepages are used (depending on the region). If I recall corectly wine from very young vines (<4yrs) I think cannot be included in AOC wines.

The next level is VDQS (Vins Delimite de Quality Superieur I think). Anything that says Vin de Pays de _____ is vdqs, the most common you will find in the us is Vin du Pays D'Oc a region in the south of france.

Finally Vin de Table is the lowest level. In the past many french people would drink Vin de Table at lunch and dinner during weekdays (thus the name) while reserving the superior AOC or VDQS wines for the weekend family meal. In the last twenty years the French have cut their intake of wines, expecially of poor quality stuff. Fortunately wine making has also improved drastically.

In general I would be wary of French Table Wine sold in this country, even at the $5-10 prices that it is usually sold at, I have found most of it of very poor quality. A better bet is to go for Australian, NZ, Chilean, Romanian or regional american wines (NY, TX, TN etc.) which are priced in this range.

[This message has been edited by Blue (edited 01-04-2001).]