01438 741177         thewinesociety.com

Fine wine definition

Apologies if this has been discussed before/elsewhere. [Just discovered it has been, but I’ve started so I’ll contine https://community.thewinesociety.com/t/how-do-you-define-fine-wine/1747

What do we think TWS means by “fine wine”? I was told once it was wine that has a secondary market, i.e. something that can be traded.

[ I think buying wine as an investment is anathema. Wine is for personal enjoyment, but I digress.]

I guess I always considered fine wine to be something special, worthy of aging and - if I’m honest - from the Old World in general and France in particular.

So when I look at the new “Fine Wine Ideas for 2000” brochure from TWS I do scratch my head a bit at some of the suggestions.

definition of “fine wine” = original price + 10% :innocent:


Never really thought about defining it, more of a gut feeling, but occured to me that I can perhaps call ‘fine wine’ a bottle that I would have to think twice about opening (as in whether the occasion justifies it, not whether it goes with the food).

Price isn’t necessarily the key factor there.


When the price is only in whole pounds, no pence :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


For me fine wine means literally ‘fine’, aesthetically: induces wonder, invites further thought (existential or otherwise), shows balance and harmony, speaks of a particular place (and time) and sticks in my memory to a point where I can almost taste it again months/years later.

I don’t think I had experienced many ‘fine wines’ by this definition - but the few I have weren’t necessarily old nor were they necessarily very expensive.


I think this is pretty good. Fine wine has to be something special, not enough in my book that you think about opening. I sort of do that with all wines, being a respectful sort of chap.

You might be setting the bar a bit too high for me. Like you by your definition I would not have experienced many. But I like to think that we mostly drink fine wine (certainly at the weekend).

thanks a lot


And - coming back to the arrival of TWS’s latest “fine wine” brochure, I doubt you’d find many (any?) bottles in that that are wonder inducing :grinning:

Oh, I don’t know - wonder comes in the least expected places sometimes, but there are a few there which look like good candidates :+1:

1 Like

And some of the lower prices include pence :open_mouth:, so that’s my theory gone down in flames.


It was good while it lasted! :+1:

1 Like

I think I’ve seen this discussion before. There’s really no simple way to define it. I’m reminded of this from Lewis Carroll:

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

I think that in my view a fine wine is defined at least in part by whether it is collected by folk, partly by likely prices (which often is a result of multiple factors) and for me mostly by the character of the wine and how it reflects the winemaker’s desire to make something distinctive. However the more I read the last sentence the less convinced I am it means anything :wink:


high days and holidays. And if anyone is collecting it… I’m not buying.


And there, I think, you have hit the nail upon the head.

“Fine wine” is quite possibly a phrase that despite being used by all and sundry cannot be defined. That probably makes it meaningless.

I can understand why marketeers like it though, they probably imagine it persuades people to trade-up.

Which then begs the question: why does TWS use it. Would be interesting to know.

1 Like

Bit like “Natural wine” :wink:!


If a wine isn’t “fine”, what is it?
I can’t think of the opposite to “fine”.

I remember reading that all wines are made by someone who has put more or less of their mind and effort into their production so they are all worthy of our attention.

I suspect “fine” is just a marketing term that should be ignored.


My local pub, says it’s sells "Real Ales and Fine Wine "
The beers okay but the wine list is s**t
enough said


Not sure fine needs an opposite, but how about “ordinary”?

My considered opinion - ahem - is that what constitutes a fine wine is pretty personal.

For me it’s most likely to be Burgundy or Bordeaux (even though I’ve pretty much given up on claret), something I would think hard about opening and something I would never offer to people who don’t really like wine that much. I would not expect a fine wine to be easy to source, though clearly one does see perfectly good examples in supermarkets.

I would still be very interested to know how the TWS defines “fine wine” as there are examples in the latest offer that certainly don’t fit my - admittedly idiosyncratic - view.

I think TWS might comment as there is clearly room here for deception. “I don’t know what this is but TWS (who I trust) says it’s a fine wine.”

I’m not pointing the finger at TWS here, the same could be said for any wine merchant. It’s just this is a TWS community.

Why would I drink wine that is not fine?

1 Like

I guess for the same reason that you don’t always want to eat turbot. It’s a fine fish, but some days a fish finger sandwich is what is required.