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2 min read

How to Read Wine Labels [VIDEO]

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What is the first thing you see when you are buying a bottle of wine? The label.

Whether we’re aware of it or not, the label on a bottle of wine carries a lot of weight in the purchasing decision. This can be a great thing.... If you know what you’re looking for.


More Than Just A Pretty Label

Don’t let an appealing label sway your decision when purchasing a bottle of wine. The label tells you nothing, and everything about what’s inside. There is plenty of information on the label to help you further enjoy the bottle of wine, you just have to know where to look.

Most of the information you need is on the label located on the back of the bottle. This label should tell you the blend of the grapes and the amount of alcohol, but that can vary. Under United States law, the variation of alcohol in a bottle of wine can be up to 1½%. So, a bottle that says 12½% alcohol, could actually be as high as 14%.

Aim For The Center of the Target

Usually, the more information on the label, the better the wine. For example, if you’re reading a label, try to envision a target. First, you have the outside of the target, that's the United States. Then we get closer into Minnesota, that's a little smaller in the target. Then we get to Hennepin County, that's even smaller yet. Then after Hennepin county, we go to Edina. Finally, we get to Chateau Farrell in Edina. That target viewpoint is a good way to look at a bottle of wine. The more information, the closer to the center of that target you are. This generally indicates a better bottle of wine.

There are also different rules for wine labels in the United States. One rule is that a wine label must be registered. If the wine says cabernet sauvignon, it must have 75% cabernet sauvignon, at least if its a wine made in the U.S.

Reading wine labels isn’t very difficult once you know what to look for and you put your new-found knowledge into practice. It can really enhance your enjoyment of a bottle of wine. So read a label… and drink some wine!

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