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Wine Label Information

by Staff Writer - C. Barnett | December 05, 2010

Wine Bottle Labels are an important part of the marketing process. Wine Labels not only provide required information, but based on the design and color combination, they will appeal to the consumer’s sense of interest.

The mandatory information that a wine label provides depends on the country’s government requirements. Usually Wine Label information is based on both the country in which the wine was made and the country where the wine is sold. Both of these require specific information that must be placed on the Wine Label.

Wine Label Information

  • Wine Brand NameThis may be the producer's name, winery name, growing area, the name of the Appellation where the wine originated, the grape variety, or a trademark name. The words “bottled by” must precede the name and address of the bottler. “Produced and bottled by” is allowed if the bottler fermented and clarified at least 75% of the wine.
  • Vineyard NameAt least 85% of the grapes must come from the vineyard that is noted on the wine label.
  • VintageThis is the year the wine was made - at least 95% of the grapes used in the wine making must be harvested in this year.
  • Appellation of Origin/LocationThe appellation system in the United States is commonly referred to as AVA or American Viticultural Area. These AVAs are based on distinct climate and geographical features and are important source of information. The statement can be broad or as specific as a vineyard, or it could include both. In order to have an AVA appear on a wine label, the following specifications have to be met: For the majority of US States the State Appellation requires 75% of the grapes in the wine to be grown in the state. With the larger state and county appellations the laws vary depending on the area. For a County Appellation, 75% of the grapes used must be from that county. If a wine label specifies an officially designated viticultural area, (ex. Napa Valley), a minimum of 85% of the grapes must come from within the named region.
  • Alcohol ContentFor wines under 14% alcohol content, either the alcohol content may be stated or the designations 'Table Wine' or 'Light Wine' may be used, both phrases implying alcohol content within a range of 7% to 14%.
  • Varietal TypeWine is labeled according to the grape variety. At least 75% of that grape variety must be contained in the wine.
  • Wine ClassificationWine labels must identify the contents as being one of several wine classifications, such as: aperitif wine, table wine, sparkling wine or fruit wine.
  • Government WarningAny wine bottled or imported for sale or distribution in the United States, must have a health warning statement on the label. GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) ACCORDING TO THE SURGEON GENERAL, WOMEN SHOULD NOT DRINK ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES DURING PREGNANCY BECAUSE OF THE RISK OF BIRTH DEFECTS. (2) CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES IMPAIRS YOUR ABILITY TO DRIVE A CAR OR OPERATE MACHINERY, AND MAY CAUSE HEALTH PROBLEMS.
  • Volume/FluidThis is mandatory information that may appear as Liters, Fluid Ounces or Milliliters.
  • Sulfite ConcentrationsWines with at least 10 parts per million of sulfites must declare this on their labels. This information appears if the sulfur level in a wine is above a certain limit. Wines labeled as “Organic” will be free of any artificially added sulfites and those that display “Made with organically grown grapes” will have more sulfites than “Organic” wines.

Very little of the information on the wine label actually tells you how the wine will taste. It will help point you in the right direction with varietal type and wine classification, but nothing compares to individual taste. Let the wine label be your assistant to guide you in the right direction.
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