The label on a bottle of wine — breaking it down

Bottle of wine.

What do those labels on wine bottles really mean? CC by Sébastien Barillot/Flickr

Options to put in your wine glass have always existed,  but in the last few years, the options seem to have been expanding. You can find thousands of dollars worth of wine in one bottle, or pick up a bottle for a few dollars at the gas station store. Sorting through the vocabulary on a bottle is the first step to buying the right wine.

How to interpret a wine label

There are some things every wine label will have. On most of them, the grape producer, vintage year, region and alcohol content will all be listed. The “varietal” indicates what type of grape the wine is made from. The year the wine was made is listed on vintage wines. Vintage wine labels do not always contain all this information, but they can be translated easily with a search engine.

Organic wine facts

Almost every wine has the word “organic” printed on it. Red and white wines are most common overall and the most common organic wines around. There are three types of organic. If a label just says “organic,” the bottler claims it was grown without chemicals. The organic status of the procedures, when it comes to growing, was double checked when “certified organic” is listed on the bottle. Some bottles will say “USDA certified organic.” This means federal organic standards were followed.

Movement toward natural wine

There are many connoisseurs nowadays who want “natural wine,”which contains no  chemicals. Natural wines can go as far as using only the natural yeasts that float in the air. With a good natural wine, the only ones you can expect to be just as good are the ones from the same batch, because the results are much less consistent with natural wine.

Finding sulfites in fine wine

You might see other qualities advertised on your wine label. “No sulfites” means that the wine does not contain any sulfite acids at all — which takes processing. There weren’t any extra sulfites added to the wine when “no added sulfites” is put on the label. There are a few wines with a lot of sulfites in them. These include white wine, sweet dessert wine and ice wine.

Getting the best fine wines is all about finding a wine that you love. You will find your best wine when you know what you are looking for, which takes you one step closer to enjoying it.

Other recent posts by bryanh