Decoding a Wine Label
Have you ever wondered what goes in to making a wine label? How can they all look so different? What needs to be included on the label in order for it to be placed on the shelf for purchase?
Creating a wine label for a new wine is a process that involves legal authorization. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) mandates the requirements for wineries. This means you can purchase Sonoma County wines with confidence knowing you have exceptional quality wine in the bottle!
Proprietary Name / Varietal – To call a wine Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, for example, 75 percent of a wine must come from the named varietal.
Geographic Name – If a wine label states a specific appellation, at least 85 percent of the grapes were grown there. Most vineyards exist within several AVAs. Whatever designation a winemaker chooses, the vast majority of grapes must be grown in that place. “Estate” wine must have 100 percent of the grapes grown in a vineyard owned or controlled by the winery and must be processed at the winery. To designate a specific vineyard on a wine’s label, 95 percent of the grapes must come from that vineyard. In addition to these designations, all wine produced entirely of wine from within the county of Sonoma must bear the designation “Sonoma County” on the label.
Alcohol Percentage – This element has to be determined during the production process and must be included on the final label within the predicated level.
Vintage – The label will include the year the wine was harvested. An exception of this rule could be a non-vintage sparkling wine.
Proprietary Name / Varietal