Sunday, June 04, 2023
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Understanding Wine Labels

The label on a bottle of wine undergoes more regulatory and creative scrutiny than perhaps any label on any other commodity. After a design is created and selected, the label must pass muster from the government agency that controls wine production as well as the various government agencies controlling importation and sale in every country where the wine is distributed.

There are collectors of wine labels who don't consume wine and consumers of wine who base their purchases entirely on the appeal of the labels. Understanding wine labels can be difficult and intimidating for the consumer who is primarily interested in the taste of the contents. Knowing what information labels are permitted to and are required to provide can help.

Surprisingly, very little of the information on the label tells how the product in the bottle may be expected to taste. In fact, descriptions which often appear on back labels are completely unregulated and frequently are composed of "buzz words" that appeal to the public palate, rather than being actual notes based on an unbiased tasting of the contents.

The consumer can make better buying decisions by initially knowing the basic facts required on wine labels, subsequently absorbing the idea of what aromas and flavors to expect from regional wine characteristics, and finally considering how this information combines to reveal the tastes beneath the cork. The place to start is with the requirements.
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