Reading Wine Labels

A Guide to Reading Wine Labels

Choosing a bottle of wine is like choosing which movie to watch on Netflix. Sure, you know you want to watch a movie and you have a basic idea of what you’re looking for, but making the final decision is difficult with so many choices.

Our stores are hosts to hundreds of varieties of wine which can be overwhelming for someone looking to make a decision on which wine (or wines!) to choose. To help, we’ve created a handy guide for what you see when you’re looking at a wine label. So let’s jump in!

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Brand of Wine – Typically at the top and tells you who produced the wine. Wineries sometimes have multiple brands, so be sure you know what you are choosing.

Special Designation – A description the producer uses to show quality (e.g. Special Selection or Reserve) or characteristics of the wine (e.g. Dry. Semi-Sweet, etc.).

Type of Wine – Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon or any other wine variety as determined by the types of grapes used. Wine must have 75% of its volume from the designated grape.

Origin of Grapes – Also known as the appellation of origin, tells buyers where the grapes came from. Some wines use grapes from multiple locations or regions in which case you will see two or more names.

Vintage – The year the grapes were harvested.

Vineyard – The name of the winery where the grapes were grown. Not all wine labels contain this information.

 

Other information – Alcohol Content (ABV) will appear on the wine bottle somewhere if not directly on the front label. Some producers have multiple varieties of the same type of wine or will further brand their wine with some additional names.

Still have questions? Stop into the nearest Big Red Liquors and ask one of our knowledgeable team members about our wine selection and characteristics of what we carry. Check out the Big Red Power Buy too and get more wine for less!