How to read a wine label

What’s in a wine label?

Are you someone that buys wine based on the look of the wine label? You’ve got company if so!  I know I do!! In a 2016 survey conducted by, the results wine label survey results indicated that from over 2,000 respondents, 85% of wine consumers make their wine purchase based on the look of the label.

Based on the survey finding, my own purchases based on a cool label, and my own curiosity about wine labels, I thought I’d provide some information about what might be helpful to pay attention to on a wine label.

So, let’s say you buy this bottle of Lola Chardonnay.

All you know from the front of this bottle is where it’s from (Sonoma Coast), the wine producer (Lola),the vintage (2016), and the varietal (type of wine – Chardonnay)

Let’s look at another bottle:

So with this Zolo bottle, you’ll notice the words Gaucho Select, this is the wine’s special designation. You’ll also notice that this wine is a sustainably farmed.  All of the wineries associated with the Vino del Sol portfolio are created in an environmentally conscious and socially friendly way.

When the label says its estate grown and bottled that means that all of the grapes have come from that location.

From the same Zolo Malbec bottle, let’s look at the back of the bottle.

With this wine, there is a description with information on how long the wine has aged, and that it’s been aged in oak.

You’ll also see the wine producer (Fincas Patigonicas) and the region that this wine is from.

The wine label needs to also list the alcohol content by law.  Most wine has an alcohol content from 11.5% to 13.5%. You’ll notice this bottle has 13.8%!

Yes, this wine does contain sulfites. Sulfites are a preservative to prevent the wine from oxidizing and to keep it fresh.

With wine that originates from outside of the U.S. you’ll often see the name of the distributor and importer (Vino Del Sol)

Napa Valley Wineries describes how to read a wine label.

So, next time you’re at the store you’ll know more about choosing your wine from a label!