How To Read a Wine Label

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Who regulates what text is required on a wine label?

In the U. S. the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms regulates the verbiage on the labels of wine that contains at least 7% alcohol. What information must be displayed on wine labels for sale in stores?

  • Brand- Used by the bottler to identify the product. Any name is acceptable as chosen by the bottler as long as it is not misleading to the consumer.
  • Vintage- Ninety-five percent or more of the grapes in the wine were grown in that year.
  • Appellation of Origin- The name of the place in which the majority of the grapes in the wine were grown.
  • Viticultural Area- An area that is a grape-growing region with soil, climate, history and geographical features that distinguish it from the areas around it.
  • Net Contents- The amount of the product in the container in metric units.
  • Varietal Designations- The name of the dominant grapes in the wine. Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel are examples. A varietal designation means that at least 75 % of the grapes used in the wine are of that variety.
  • Estate Bottled- One hundred percent of the wine came from grapes grown on land controlled or owned by the winery. The winery must complete the entire wine making process on their premises.
  • Name and Address- The bottler or importer's name or trade name and address must appear on the wine label. If the wine is imported, it must be followed by the name and address of the importer.
  • Country of Origin- Required on all imported wines, for example "Product of (name of country)".
  • Alcohol Content- Alcohol content in percent by volume must appear on the wine label.
  • Declaration of Sulfites- Required if the wine contains 10 or more parts per million of sulfur dioxide.
  • Health Warning Statement- "GOVERNMENT WARNING" must appear on all alcoholic beverages containing .5% or more alcohol.

We at Bottle Your Brand hope this information is helpful to you the next time you purchase wine. If you are designing your own wine label you may want to use this information to replicate what some of the vintners include on their wine labels.