The Importance of Wine Labels
An attractive label is one of the primary marketing methods a winery employs. The wine industry is increasingly competitive, and a pleasant wine label is one way for a wine to stand out from the crowd.
There are certain legal requirements and warnings that the United States Government insists must be on wine labels. These include the alcohol percentage of the contents, and whether or not it contains sulfites.
Proprietary labels are copyrighted by a winery and cannot be used by others. An example is Joseph Phelps Insignia. Over the years, the name “Insignia” has had a specific meaning to consumers and represents a particular style of wine. These types of names give no explicit information about the varietals or style of the wine. They rely on informed customers and often cater to a high-end market.
In the United States, wines must contain 75% of a certain grape to carry a varietal label. Individual states can increase this percentage if they choose. Many wines labeled as a single varietal also include small amounts of other grapes and are technically a blend.
Generic labels are often used in America to indicate a rough estimate of the style of wine or purely for marketing purposes. This type of name is usually used for mass-produced and inexpensive wines.
In the United States, wines can carry specific vintage labels if over 85% of the grapes were harvested in that particular year. This threshold is raised to 95% for wines that have a specific AVA on their label.
Reserve labels technically have no legal meaning. Traditionally, high quality wineries label a limited production or higher-quality wine reserve. However, be aware that this is unfortunately not always the case.
Estate labels indicate that a wine was made from vineyards owned or controlled by a specific winery. The wine must also be produced and bottled on site. Additionally, both the vineyards and winery must be located in the same AVA.
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