Reading your wine label

Reading your wine label

Each region has its own style of labelling their wines that distinguishes it i.e. French wines, Californian wines, German wines etc. 

But for any wine, there is the basic information presented on every label so as to serve as guidelines for the wine drinker;

  • Producer’s name- This is who made the wine.
  • Region – This refers to the location that the grapes used to make the wine are sourced from.
  • Variety – This is the type of grape used to make a specific type of wine e.g Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon etc. One can also tell the type of grape used from the appellation placed as indicated on the bottle.
  • Vintage/Non-vintage- as the name suggests, vintage wines are those that have aged over a long period.
  • Alcohol by volume(ABV) -European countries only allow their highest quality wines to have above 13′.5% ABV.

Other details you might spot on your wine bottle include;

1.Estate bottled wine

This means it is grown in a controlled environment owned by specific people. Generally, wine grown from vines in their natural habitats tends to be of higher quality.

Different countries label it in different languages;

  • mis en bouteille au chateau
  • mis en bouteille a la propriete
  • mis en bouteille au domain
  • embotellate a la proprietat (Spain) 
  • imbottigliato all origine (Italy) 
  • erzeugerabfullung (Germany)
  1. Reserve

Some take it to mean that the wine is made from high quality selected grapes but it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best wine.

  1. Old vines / Vielles vin

Older vines tend to produce more concentrated flavors in a wine.

  1. Contains sulphites

It is an important indication for those who may react badly to sulphites though they aren’t considered harmful for the human body.

Next time you are served your wine at your favorite hotel, test your wine knowledge by asking your waiter more questions than he’d naturally expect from just a regular patron, just for the kick


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