What’s the Difference Between Everyday Drinking Wines and Fine Wines?

What’s the Difference Between Everyday Drinking Wines and Fine Wines?

What’s the difference between a fine wine and a regular, everyday drinking wine? This is a question we get asked a lot. One that’s invariably followed up with, ‘And are fine wines worth the extra money?’ The answer to the second question is, ‘Yes, fine wines are definitely worth the extra money as they offer such a great drinking experience.’ The answer to the first question is a little more complicated…

Fine Wine and Regular Wine

The definition of a ‘fine wine’ varies massively. If you’re used to spending £5-£10 on a bottle of wine, then you may consider something over £20 to be a fine wine. Equally if you’re fortunate enough to regularly drink wines at over £100 a bottle, then your idea of a fine wine might be a Grand Cru Burgundy or Bordeaux. 

At Perfect Cellar our fine wines start at around £30 a bottle, so for the purposes of this article we’ll use that as our starting point. So, what are the differences between everyday drinking wines and fine wines? To our mind there are the five main differences:

Difference 1: Quality

The popular expression, ‘You get what you pay for’ could have been coined for wine. Making wine takes time, effort and investment. Once you’ve made it you have to ship it, get it taxed, and sell it, all of which adds cost. Paying more for a bottle means the producer can put more into their wines so you get a more enjoyable experience. If you’re used to buying a £10 bottle of Rioja, treat yourself to a £15 or £20 bottle and you’ll be amazed by the difference. 

Difference 2: Rarity

The laws of supply and demand apply to wine as much as they do anything else. More so maybe. Seek out the rarest wines and the prices quickly rocket. An uber-rare Burgundy such as a bottle of Romanee Conti will easily cost you over £20,000.  Production is tiny – around 5,000 bottles are made in a good year – and an awful lot of collectors want it in their cellar. 

Beyond the world of billionaire wine collectors, rarity plays a part in all fine wines.  Even at the £30-40 mark, producers are often quite limited as to how much they can produce while maintaining the quality they seek. Once a wine has established a reputation for greatness so more and more people will want to try it, and with a fixed supply, prices will rise.

Difference 3: Longevity

While most wines are made to be drunk within 6 months of being released, a small proportion will develop over years or even decades. Top-flight wines from Rioja, Bordeaux, Burgundy, California, and Piedmont have the capacity to mature and develop into something quite extraordinary given time.

Difference 4: Critics’ scores

A high score from the right critic can make a wine’s fortunes. And end up costing a fortune! A perfect 100-point score from the likes of Robert Parker’s ‘Wine Advocate’ can literally add a digit to the price tag. The leading critics do know what they are talking about, however. If they deem a wine to have a 90-point score then it’s safe to say it’s a fine wine that's far finer than an everyday drinking wine.

Difference 5: Authenticity

Fine wine producers are often driven by a passion for their region’s wines. Their goal is to create something that’s authentic and which represents the best of their region. They’ll choose sites where only mountain goats dare to tread. They’ll go to painstaking lengths in the vineyard such as hand harvesting. They’ll favour challenging organic and biodynamic techniques, and they’ll experiment and invent new methods to make their wines taste even better. The resulting wines are unique. They offer a taste of place and are unquestionably fine wines that are worth seeking out and paying a bit more for.

Like to know more about wine?

We hope you’ve found this old world and new world wine guide useful. If you’d like to explore the world of wine, why not become a Perfect Cellar member? With our exclusive TastingBOXES, interactive tastings via Alexa, and an incredible range of fine wines, we have everything you need to enjoy finer wine. Perfect. 

You may also be interested in reading our more in-depth red wine guide, white wine guide and sparkling wine guide.

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