Have you ever been invited to a formal dinner at a restaurant? Have you been invited to a neighbor’s home for a special occasion? As you sit down at the table, the host or a waiter may pour some wine in the wine glass that is placed on your table. In fact, this wine is served before the food. This specific wine is called table wine.

A table wine is a light wine that has a very low alcohol content, usually around 14% in the U.S. Here, the term “table wine” is used to acknowledge standard wine from other wines with a higher alcohol level.

In the European Union (EU), table wines have 8.5% to 14% alcohol content. Also, table wine in the EU is considered the lowest quality of wine class. In fact, it is not qualified as an appellation. It is not even designated with a regional designation.

In France and Luxembourg, table wine is called vin de table. This is almost the same as Spain’s vino de mesa, Romania’s vin de masa, Portugal’s vinho de mesa, Italy’s vino da tavola, Greece’s epitrapezios oinos and Germany’s Deutscher Tafelwein.

In these European countries, the labels of table wines do not include information such as its region of production, vintage date or the variety of grape that is used.

Also in Europe, wines having a very fine taste can be classified as a simple table wine, if the grapes used are not known or non-traditional. The same statement holds true if the wines are made using a non-traditional wine making process. Even carefully produced wines produced in a region that do not hold a name for prestigious appellation are considered table wine.

Some examples of these excellent table wines are the Super Tuscans, fermented from grapes not indigenous to Italy.

Then in 1992, Italy created the Indicazione Geografica Tipica or IGT wine classification. This classification is made to elevate the Super Tuscans from table wine to quality wine. But even with this classification, wine producers often ignore the status of these upgraded table wines.

Under the French wine classification, table wine is fourth down the line. The lowest ranked table wines are quite cheap. They serve as an accompanying drink with food or used to make party cocktails.