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Reading Wine Bottle Labels

Updated on October 30, 2012

Wine Bottle Labels

Running into your nearby wine store and selecting an awesome red or white wine might be an anxiety-producing experience, particularly for the beginner wine enthusiast. Novices are typically, at the very least, a bit mystified by the task of choosing an excellent wine from scanning the wine bottle label on the wine bottle. You may not understand exactly what it is you're considering or exactly what it means. If that's you, here is some need-to-know information on reading wine bottle labels.

Wine Bottle Labels - Braille
Wine Bottle Labels - Braille

Why Wine Bottle Labels are Important

Wine bottle labels are enjoyable to look at, yet the process of understanding exactly what all that information denotes is intimidating. You have observed that some wine aficionados spend a disproportionate amount of time and energy looking at wine bottle labels and figure you should probably get some pointers from the experts.

Reading wine bottle labels is a good way toward knowing exactly what type of red or white wine you’re looking at. Recognizing the different kinds of wine will give you an idea whether or not one is good or bad.

Two Wine Bottle Labels

On a lot of wine bottles wine, you will see two labels – front as well as back – each with various info written on each. The majority of wine bottlers will make the front label with the mandatory government information really undersized in comparison to a larger back sticker with interesting logos and designs.

Keep in mind, from one label to another there may be small variants. But most follow a comparable, consistent pattern.

Wine Bottle Labels - Ben Schlitter Wine
Wine Bottle Labels - Ben Schlitter Wine

The Front Label

Let's begin with the beginning. At the very top of the label you'll find the name of the winery. This is apparent to most people and generally easily recognizable to even the novice wine drinker.

Following this, the second item to notice is the region the red or white wine has been produced within or the locality of the winery. You may find all sorts of varied information in this. A few may simply say the state whereas others practically provide a street address. They may include nothing but the name of the vineyard although some that have this in the label will also have a region to go along with it. Typically the red or white wine countries have actually been regulated to include their legal wine location. This will mean that a minimum of 85% of the grapes in the red or white wine were actually cultivated in that location.

Next is the year. Do not form any sort of assumptions here. One of the most frequent misconceptions is that the date is based on bottling, unfortunately it is not. The year noted is in fact the year that the grapes were simply harvested for this selection. The exact same percentages apply for the listed vintage as for the specific location of grapes. Within some wines it may have been a lot of years in between harvesting and bottling - this is where it pays to know more about the brand you purchase.

Wine Bottle Lables - Apothica Red
Wine Bottle Lables - Apothica Red

Aged Wines

Aged Vines are referred to as “vielles vignes” here in the label. Wines extracted and grown out of more mature vines possess concentrated juices. It holds a denser as well as richer body with vigorous quality. If the wine you’re looking at is relating to aged vines, then you’re positive to obtain an outstanding, mouth-watering wine.

Search for the variety noted on the bottle. Not every wine bottle may do this and a few will choose not to, specifically the low cost selections. However, pretty frequently you’ll find the grape selection that was used listed on the wine bottle label. Blends are permitted, however there are precise percentages based on the location of production.

Cru is employed to describe really high quality French wines. These bottles typically come from regions like Alscace or Bordeaux. This is what you should normally look out for in case you want the greatest tasting beverage.

Wine Bottle Labels - Back Label
Wine Bottle Labels - Back Label

Wine Ripeness

On some wine bottle labels you’ll also locate a ripeness marking. These are primarily used in European wines, particularly those that are German. Some of these are often words in German that really don’t appear to fit other wine bottle label groups. Wine bottle labels may also mention if the grapes have been grown and bottled at the vineyard.

“Estate Bottled” means which the wine is collected, produced as well as bottled at the same locale. It’s a sign that tells you a top quality made wine, considering that the fruit is home grown and there’s attention to detail whenever it comes to making the wine.

Grand Vin or Superieur does not actually really say anything about the bottle that you’re holding. It might attract the attention of those that really don’t have knowledge about red or white wines. This terminology simply refers to the kind of red or white wine made at a particular winery.

If a wine bottle flaunts of wine awards, be careful as this does not actually signify anything. There are loads of obscure and some well-known accolades on the market and in case you’re not accustomed to these it will likely not aid in your choice of beverage.

Wine Bottle Labels
Wine Bottle Labels


Whichever variety you decide on, what is essential is actually its overall taste and appearance. I advise you to head out and experiment with a few different types.

To better savor a great wine, whether cheap or even expensive, get a Ravi Wine Chiller that changes your favorite wine between room temperature to cellar temp which is perfect for its own aroma and to savor the entire flavor of the bottle of wine. It is essential to remember that you do not really have to be a connoisseur in order to enjoy a good tasting wine you just need to appreciate vino and serve it at the appropriate temperature.

All other information on a wine bottle label is regulation based. Those may be final results of testing or legislature which calls for a type of quality control procedure. Beyond this you might also find a variety of optional information that provides further info regarding the red or white wine you’re thinking about buying. There will certainly be info on volume of wine and % or alcohol content.

Some wine bottle labels will also state the presence or quantity of sulfates. These are usually found on the labels of US wines.

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    • allaneaglesham lm profile image

      allaneaglesham lm 4 years ago

      Nice uncluttered article. I like the photos and appreciate not have to scroll a mile to read through!!