Reading wine labels can feel overwhelming but, the good news is there are really only a few things to need to remember for any wine label. Pay attention to these few essentials on any wine label and you will have a pretty good sense of what you’re in for.

Winemaker/ Winery:

This is typically the easiest to spot but, unless you’re looking for a particular winemaker this isn’t necessarily the most important. Still, noting the winemaker is helpful if you want to remember who made the wine you either loved or hated.

Appellation:

This is just a fancy word for where the grapes were grown. This could be as big as a state like Washington or California or more specific as a particular region of a state or country.

Varietal Name:

If the wine is a varietal or a one-grape wine, the name of that grape will be prominent on the label. Think Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s not a legal requirement to list the varietal, but many producers choose to. If the wine is a blend you may or may not see what went into it, but double-check the back label. On the back label, you’ll find the blend if the winemaker chose to make it known even though they don’t have to.

Alcohol Percentage:

It’s always helpful to know the percent of alcohol volume (ABV) of the wine you’re buying. Unlike beer, wines have to have the ABV printed on the label. Most red wines are going to be 12% - 15% ABV, but whites can range from 6% - 13%.

Sweetness Level:

The level of sweetness matters when you’re buying wines that have residual sugar content or sweet iterations, like Riesling. Rieslings tend to keep it pretty simple with terms like “dry” which means the least sweet, semi-dry, semi-sweet, and sweet. But for other whites, it is best to look at the alcohol volume. The lower the alcohol, it most likely have some residual sugar. For example, our Moscato has 6% ABV and the RS is 10%. For our Riesling, it's ABV is 10.5% with a 2% RS.

Hopefully this will help you to determine your next bottle of wine!

Cheers,
Natalie