Fine wine definition

You are right, I don’t always eat turbot, sometimes a fish finger sandwich is fine… :wink: I do get your point.

I was going to post about pubs’ claims to be selling fine wines… but Russ has already done so.

I’ve also seen cruise companies that include wine with dinner claiming it to be ‘fine’ and those organisations advertising their wares and promising a case of fine wines to customers who order before a certain date. ‘Case’ meaning six, and fine meaning a job lot of the cheapest from B******* D*****

I think that ‘fine wine’ is most often used by people selling wine rather than consumers, and in the hand of marketeers its meaning is elastic but one won’t go far wrong by considering it meaningless.


right…that’s lunch sorted


fine is another word which has changed meaning. If when you ask them to clean their room, your teenager says “fine” it’s not at all.
Another is “quality”, there is after all good and bad quality.


In counseling training we were told that if a client says they’re ‘fine’ it usually stands for “Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional”.

Not very empathic, I grant you!


Well, speaking for myself, sometimes I like to drink what I would call rustic wines. One could describe such wines as coarse, in opposition to fine.

I think the marketing appeal with “fine wine” is mainly that it rhymes.

Marketeers love the consonance of “fine dining” too - something I find even more toe-curlingly awful than “fine wine”. Whenever I see that term used it seems to imply small portions and pointless decoration, with minimal emphasis on the quality of the food.


IMO drinking honest decent wines makes the fine wines better when you do pluck up the courage to open one.

A good example of how different levels of wine all have their place is Chablis. Even someone with not much of a palette (like me) appreciates the gradation from Petit to Villages to 1er cru to Grand. There is a time and place for each of the levels.

I think it is clear why higher prices are commanded as one rises through the ranks.
Having said that, I would never want to only drink Grand Cru Chablis. Petit can hit the spot perfectly well too.

I think you are giving too much credit.

90% of people think Chablis is the grape and that will do just FINE!!!

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I think what we are talking about is ‘special occasion’ wine.

I, like others above, have wines I won’t open for people who don’t appreciate it and just want to glug it down.

I like to open other wines that I think are very good and will hopefully educate said glugger in to what can happen when you pay attention and trade up slightly.

I don’t have any ‘fine wine’ in my collection. Just different occasion wine. And there is plenty that isn’t Bordeaux or Burgundy. #biggestletdownwine


Ordinary does fit the bill, perhaps like tafelwein as opposed to qualitätswein.

Another thought occurred to me on this point, perhaps all wine could be considered ‘fine’ but some finer than others?


I don’t think that’s going to fly, clearly not all wine is fine. We know that from bitter experience. It’s not enough just to be fermented grape juice.

Your post prompts a couple of responses:

  1. I’d completely forgotten about table wine. Bit nonsensical, but it is indeed the established word for everyday wine and far better than “ordinary”, which I now retract.

  2. What drove me to revisit this topic - and which has been ignored by TWS’s Community Management Executive Control Team - is the desire to know what TWS means by this well-established couple of words.

They send us all a brochure of what they deem to be fine wine. This community topic shows TWS’s members have different views as to what the term means; indeed if it means anything at all. So what do our chums at TWSCMECT think - I’d genuinely like to know.

How does TWS decide which wines deserve the accolade? Is there a grading committee? Or just some surplus stock that needs a little help to get it off the shelves?

Perhaps they could pen a nice little intro to the next edition?

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It seems a fair question. Those who use a certain term, and commit it to print, ought to know what they mean by it. If they don’t know how can anyone else?

Reading the brochure blurb again it seems to mean “truly special” and perhaps good value. I’m not sure that advances the discussion much further. I think Humpty-Dumpty came closest!


I suppose the same could be said for food too. We hear the term ‘fine dining’ mentioned which seems to refer to Michelin Star quality grub or something near that level.

Fine wine to me is a very loose term. A Cru Bourgeois is a fine wine when compared to a VDT bottle of plonk but not when compared to a Chateau Margaux.

I suppose I have spent my wine loving days thinking that Cru Classe Bordeaux (most of which I have bought EP) or Grand Cru Burgundies and Vintage Port as fine wine. When I started the only Australian wine that met the bill was Penfold’s Grange but there are a few great wines (Hill of Grace etc) that might now.

I have never bought for investment! Perish the thought! but most that do should only collect fine wines.

Most of the recent glossy offers from TWS labelled Fine Wine aren’t.


I’ve read the comments on this thread with great interest. Some seem attempts to wrestle with an almost philosophical question, while others seem to be accusations of cynical manipulation on the part of anyone who dares to describe a wine as ‘fine’. The debate over fine wine reminds me of the question about art and what makes some of it great. Here is a link to Grayson Perry’s Reith Lecture on the subject. Grayson Perry’s Reith Lectures: Who decides what makes art good? | Financial Times

The key in art is what GP calls validation and he muses about who are the validators. He lists artists (wine makers?), teachers (wine educators/universities?), critics (wine critics/writers?), curators (wine merchants?), media and the public.

It is a long read, so I’ll just summarise his concluding remarks. He is trying to explain what art ends up in museums and galleries and events like the Venice biennale. And concludes that it is down to enough of the right people thinking it’s good. That’s all there is to it. But that doesn’t mean you have to like it all.

So to get back to this thread, TWS has listed some wines it believes to be fine. Some people debating this issue believe there is insufficient validation for them to make this claim about these particular wines. I don’t consider myself sufficiently qualified as a wine validator to make that judgement and take the view whereof I cannot speak thereof I must be silent.

What I am happy to say is that finances permitting I would be very happy to sample some of TWS fine wine suggestions even if those wines are not deemed sufficiently fine by those qualified to say so.:yum::wine_glass:


I wonder if the definition isn’t something along the lines of wine that will improve rather than decline with more than two or three years of bottle aging. Still very loose and I know there are some very fine wines that can be drunk very young (but would they be even better with some age?).


I think you’re onto something.

We’ve all been told that very little wine needs to be cellared, so your approach quickly narrows the field. So any wine that when it is released needs to be left alone for 2-3 years is in a good position to enter the Fine stakes.


And the art analogy leads us nicely to the truism: “I many not know much about wine, but I know what I like”.

Which surely is central to the amateur’s appreciation.


Very well put. My favourite comment of this thread.

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For those with some time on their hands


Well that’s very kind of you @Brocklehurstj! The link between what makes wine fine and what makes art great is something that had been niggling away at me for a while so I decided to try and give voice to it. Glad you liked my effort.