What is a "Fine" Wine?

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I recently heard a radio ad that included the statement "...you will be served fine wine..." It got me thinking - what is "fine" wine?  It sounds really great but begs the question "What is fine wine?

Let's start off with the easiest answer which is that "fine wine" is not well defined and somewhat subjective. So, buyer beware. The phrase leads one to believe that the wine must be something special. But it can end up being a lot of things.

Unfortunately, in this ad, I suspect that the "fine" wines will turn out to be quite ordinary.

Generally, the term "fine wine" is reserved for exceptional wines from the world's best vineyards, the highest quality grapes and the most acclaimed winemakers. And, over a period of years, these wines have usually been recognized for their status.

But many additional factors can go into defining a "fine" wine. These may include the region where the grapes are grown or the vineyard that produced it. It can refer to wines that have stood the test of time and have proven to be age-worthy. It can refer to the wine's characteristics such as balance and structure. The phrase can also have connotations of high monetary value. Or, distinguishing between mass-marketed wines and those that are produced in limited quantities.

Regardless, consumers must first realize that "fine wine" is a very subjective and unregulated term. These wines may be special, or premium wines. But, it may also just be a marketing trick.

What is most important is that you shouldn't let anyone tell you what to drink. Enjoy drinking a wine that makes you happy - fine wine or not! Cheers!