I regularly see people talking about ‘house wines’ - affordable, everyday bottles they buy in volume to provide reliable enjoyment.
I’m a big believer that the world would be a boring place if everyone thought the same, but I have to say I struggle with the whole concept of house wines. For me, one of the biggest joys (and frustrations) of wine is that if I live to 100 I’ll never have time to try everything I’d like to. I’ve been enjoying wine for 20 years (albeit as a more serious ‘hobby’ for less than half of that) and with a little help from family and friends I get through maybe 120-130 bottles a year. Of those probably 110-120 are unique bottles. Yet I’ve barely scratched the surface of France, let alone other amazing countries and regions.
I’m interested in other people’s opinions, especially if they have a regular house wine. Is it a case of:
- Being able to reach for something reliable and undemanding when you feel like it - avoiding the occasional frustration of being lumbered with an unenjoyable bottle of something you haven’t tried before?
- Knowing what you really like having already got to grips with the main varietals, regions etc?
- Catering for the fixed tastes of spouses/partners/other drinking buddies?
- Enjoying the convenience/value of buying in cases?
- Mixing exploration with old reliables? (I know having a house wine doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy variety and experimentation as well)
…or other reasons?