Rule of thumb as you go out on this Friday night in search of a great wine buy at your local wine shop or a by the glass wine at your favorite restaurant. From my insider experience I would tell you at all costs to stay away from the “house wine” and those bin specials in wine shops with signs like “Two for $18” and such, with only some qualified exceptions. Not to dis the house wine but it is really synonymous in most restaurants with “cheapest wine we could get our hands on”. The exception is a restaurant with an extensive wine list and large selection of wines by the glass. If you can view the wine list and see that it was compiled with care and that the choices were thoughfully chosen to complement the menu then you can risk a “house wine”. It will still be the cheapest thing they could get their hands on but it is likely to be of a higher quality than a restaurant with wine as an afterthought. As for the bin specials becareful here because this is often the wine the wholesaler or distributor needs to get rid of andis willing the make a great price to the retailer to help them move the wine. The reason is often due to the wine aging and being past its peak,or improper storage over time causing the wine to start getting tired. Look at the vintage on the label of bin selections as your clue. Take my word for it there are many wines standing on their own in the same price range that you are interested in spending. Bin specials and house wines always favor the house.