Label Contents (US)

The TBB requires the following elements be included on every US produced wine:

Mandatory Elements on the Front Label:

  • Wine Region – The region, or appellation, where the wines were grown.  This can be  broad, like a state or country, or specific like an American Viticultural Area (AVA).  If a specific AVA is listed, US wine regulations require at least 85% of the grapes used to produce the wine come from the specified AVA
  • Brand Name – winery or producer’s name
  • Wine Type – reference to the style of wine, i.e.: table wine, dessert wine, sparkling wine

Mandatory Elements on the Back Label:

  • Alcohol Content – alcohol by volume (ABV) stated as a percentage
  • Country of Origin – country of origin
  • Production Location – location where the wine was produced (company address or wine making facility address)
  • Net Contents – liquid volume contained in the bottle, 750ml is the standard
  • Health Warning – TBB dictates the specific health warning which must be printed on the back label of every bottle of U.S. wine.
  • Sulfate Content – if the content of sulfate in a wine exceeds 10 or more parts per million (ppm), the label must state the declaration of sulfate presence.

Optional Elements:

  • Grape Variety / Varietal – In the US, a minimum 75% of a wine’s content must be from the specified grape to have a single varietal on the label.  When a wine does not include at least 75% of one varietal, wine makers can either label the contents as a “white blend” or “red blend”, or as some high-end wine makers do, choose a unique name for their uniquely blended wine.
  • Vintage – the year the grapes were harvested (not the year the wine was released for sale)

Other Optional Wine Label Elements:

  • Vineyard – often used if all the grapes were farmed in a single vineyard, or the vineyard is associated with higher quality wines.  Multiple vineyards can be listed.
  • Sub-brands – most wineries have multiple varietals or even multiple wines produced from the same varietal which results in sub-brands which can either reflect something about the wine, or can be a creative name completely unassociated with the wine 
  • Wine Making / Stylistic influences – if oak is not used, “non-oaked” may be included on the label to indicate the wine has not been exposed to oak.  These can also help consumers identify specific wine styles such as sparkling, sweet or dry (brut).

WINE ENTHUSIAST TIP:  Madeline Merlot: Alcohol by Volume (ABV) can be tricky and what you see on a bottle can be misleading. For table wine, the U.S. requirement is a minimum alcohol level of 7% and a maximum of 14%. The law allows a 1.5% variance. Therefore, wine could actually be 14% alcohol or 11% and legally be labeled 12.5%. Fortunately, wines cannot legally exceed the upper or lower limit