Ever Wonder - What is Jug Wine?

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While strolling through the wine section of my local grocery store, I was asked “Do you know what Jug Wine is?” My attention was drawn to a sign above the shelves that identified the section as “Jug Wine.”

My first reaction was to state that it’s cheap bulk wine. But, the immediate follow-on question that I got was “What type of wine is it?” I had to shrug my shoulders and say “I don’t really know. Probably some blend of grapes.” Turns out, both of my responses were correct.

You’ll find that these jug wines are commonly sold as “Burgundy” for the red ones or “Chablis” for the white ones. These are trademark name of their wine brands and definitely not French wines. In France, red wines from Burgundy are made from Pinot Noir and wines from Chablis are made from Chardonnay. Some makers of the jug wines go so far as to call them “Reserve” which is just a bit of a stretch since that term is not regulated in the U.S.

So I did a little digging and learned, for example, that Gallo's Hearty Burgundy is a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Petite Sirah, Teroldego and Zinfandel, while Carlo Rossi Burgundy is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Ruby Cabernet and Syrah.

Another blending wine is Barbera. In California, in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Barbera was one of the most successful grapes being grown in the Central Valley, where it became a major blending component in jug wines. Unfortunately, Barbera still gets a bad rap because of this. Yet, it’s one of my favorite varietal wines, especially from the Amador and El Dorado Counties of California.

So, yes, jug wine is inexpensive bulk wine that’s a blend of different grapes. And, it’s very popular as a table wine in the U.S. So, enjoy! Cheers!

Ever Wonder? - Table Wine Explained

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I was recently shopping in my local grocery store and noticed the overhead signs for the wine aisle included “Red Wines,” “White Wines” and “Table Wines.” Ever wonder what Table Wine really is?

Well, in the U.S., Table Wine is simply a designation for any non-sparkling wine with an alcohol content of 7% (min) to 16% (max). That’s it.

Before the passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in the U.S., a Table Wine had been defined simply as any wine up to 14 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) for taxation purposes, but that percentage was increased to 16%

In Europe, there are varying standards for wines designated as Table Wine. But, in general, they are the lowest category of wine and not strictly regulated like other “Old World” European wines. And, they are not often permitted to be sold outside of the country where they are produced.

If you do find a European Table Wine, the label will state “Vin de France” when it’s from France, “Vino da Tabola” when from Italy and “Tafelwein” when it’s from Germany.

Table wines are usually meant for immediate consumption as opposed to aging, and for enjoyment with even the most basic meal.

So, don’t overlook this category of wines. They are very good values and often very tasty. Cheers!