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Sarah Ward

House Wines: Best Basic Options For Bars and Restaurants

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House wines are an integral part of bars, a speakeasy, restaurants, winery production, and everything wine lovers know and love. House wine options are the cheaper wine selections at any food establishment. They’re on the list of low alcohol price options when you go out-they can even be useful to learn about if you're learning how to open a winery.

Of course, there is more to it than that. However, house wines are an affordable option featured at pretty much every bar, restaurant, cocktail bar, or other alcohol-serving business. While house wines are easy to enjoy and to work as an option to sell wine by the glass, they’re not a simple mix. They can be perfect for Valentine’s day promotion ideas for restaurants. There’s work that goes into finding the best house wine options, and deciding on wine pricing.

At BinWise, we’ve enjoyed our share of house wine treats through the years, and we’ll share our experience with you. Whether you’re looking to find the right house wine options to sell or you’re looking for wine for Friday night, we’ve got you.

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Cheap Wines

When you think of house wine examples, this automatically means cheap wine sales. The definition of cheap wines can be two-fold. The two variations are:

  1. Wine that is cheap in quality, and tastes vaguely like fruit juice (no shade, cheaply-made wine has its place).
  2. Wine with quality flavor for a budget-friendly price.

House wines can fall into either of these categories. Depending on where you’re enjoying a house wine, you might find something of uniquely high quality for a cheaper price. If you sell wine, it’s your job to find the line between cheaply made and cheaply priced wine.

What Is House Wine?

House wine is affordable, consistently available wine selected by a bar, restaurant, lounge, or other establishment to sell for a cheap price. Ultimately, house wine is designed to give patrons an option that is delicious and accessible for a price that won’t break the bank. It can even work as a lamb wine pairing.

While house wines are similar in pricing to happy hour or marketing bar promotions, there is a key difference. House wine prices don’t change, so patrons can always get the deal. This doesn’t affect the bottom line of the establishment either because enough people purchase house wine by the glass due to great wine marketing to offset any potential loss in bar profits.

House Wine Examples

House wines aren’t just any cheap wine from the liquor store, however. When you compare house wine options to the lower shelves of a liquor store, you will find many of the same bottles and brands. There are some key distinctions between cheap wine and house wine, though. 

Namely, house wine still needs to be a quality wine. There are some really cheap wines you can find that taste a lot like fruit juice. Selecting a house wine is all about finding a cheaply priced wine that still makes a good steak wine pairing or a wine pairing with chicken.

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10 Best House Wines

If you’re stocking a bar or wondering what makes for a good house wine to try this weekend, we’ve got the list for you. These 10 house wines run the gamut from cheap wines to pair with pretzels to higher quality wines that still won’t bust your budget. 

10. Dark Horse

Dark Horse Wine, out of Modesto, CA, is a staple for anyone who enjoys quality wine you can buy on a tight budget. The different varieties of wine Dark Horse offers makes this brand perfect for a variety of house wine options.

9. Bogle Vineyards

Bogle Vineyards, based in Clarksburg, CA, are another familiar name on home wine shelves and bar stock shelves alike. Similar to Dark Horse, Bogle has something for every wine lover. If you didn’t see the price tag, you wouldn’t suspect the affordability of Bogle wines.

8. Kendall-Jackson 

Kendall-Jackson of Fulton, CA, has been a saving grace for anyone looking for a cheap wine for a nice dinner party since 1974. Not only are the wines delicious, but the wine bottle labels have an air of class that dresses up any house wine list.

7. Pine Ridge Vineyards

Pine Ridge Vineyards, from Napa, CA, are a slightly lesser-known but utterly delicious and affordable wine brand. Their Chenin Blanc + Viognier is a unique wine that is unlike any other white wine blend. If you’re looking for something truly special for your house wine list, Pine Ridge is a quality option.

6. Robert Mondavi

The name Robert Mondavi Winery carries weight in the wine world. From their home in Napa to every place where wine lovers gather, Mondavi wines are known for exceptional quality at an affordable price. The range of Robert Mondavi wines means there’s an option for every house wine need.

5. A to Z Wineworks

A to Z Wineworks, based in Dundee, OR, brings the brilliance of Oregon wine to the list of house wine options. Their wines are a mix of simple, complex, and everything in between. If you want a house wine that rounds out your wine list, A to Z is the wine for you.

4. J Vineyards & Winery

J Vineyards & Winery of Healdsburg, CA, is another contender on this list for best wine label design. The simple J painted on the label gives this affordable, delectable wine a straightforward classic feel. You can’t go wrong with any of the wines from J Vineyards.

3. Cupcake Vineyards

Cupcake Vineyards, from Livermore, CA, are as sweet of a deal as their name suggests. Well known for their sparkling wines, the options from Cupcake Vineyards make great house wine choices for any brunch places and other cafés.

2. Josh Cellars

Josh Cellars, based in California, has a line of wines that cover all your house wine needs. There isn’t a bad wine among the Josh Cellars options, and the price tags are never hard on your wallet. They also make a great wine pairing with many meals, to suit any bar or restaurant.

1. Beringer

Of all the names on this list, Beringer, based in St. Helena, CA, is one of the most far-reaching in the wine world. Beringer has been around since 1876, and its wine quality and prices have remained excellent ever since. There’s never a bad time or place for Beringer wine, and a house wine list is no exception to that rule.

Frequently Asked Questions About House Wines

When we dove into the frequently asked questions surrounding house wine options, we uncovered quite a bit about the significance of house wine lists. We’ve covered a lot of different house wine options, and we’re pleased to give you some more background now. 

What Is Meant by House Wine?

House wine is meant as the standard wine you can get for a cheaper than usual price at a bar, restaurant, or other establishments. It’s cheaper because, effectively, the house chooses the wine for you. You can select red, white, or perhaps sparkling wines, but beyond that those general categories, the house makes the call.

Does House Wine Mean Cheapest?

House wine typically means the cheapest wine on the menu. Of course, this can depend on the bar, as some places have a very cheap general wine list.

However, the reason house wine exists is to give customers a cheap, easy option for wine. Even in this age of boxed wines and cheaper wines gaining popularity, house wine is usually still the cheapest wine item.

Why Is House Wine Called House Wine?

House wine is called house wine because it’s dictated by the house. If you like, think of it similarly to the house in a casino setting. The house of the bar or restaurant establishment calls the shots in terms of wine options, prices, and availability.


House Wines: Have a Drink on The House!

Overall, house wines are perfect for any bar, restaurant, or alcohol-selling business looking to cater to all crowds and make continual good profits. As much as folks love a higher-priced wine for special occasions, there will always be a crowd looking for quality wines for great prices. Effectively, house wine options will never go out of style.

Finding house wine options is just one part of stocking a bar, and finding your ideal options for when you take inventory. Finding great wines goes well with choosing cool bar food options and other liquors to keep on tap and in stock. Come on back to the BinWise blog whenever you’re looking to flesh out your bar inventory needs. 

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