Like so many things, and as the saying often goes, “things used to be a lot simpler.” This applies to even wine labels. So in the interest of protecting the consumer Congress ruled in the requirement of a specific health warning statement to be used on all alcoholic beverages bottled after November 18, 1989. This 2 sentence long statement has several specific requirements about its font size, placement and proximity to anything else on the label. It is often the item that will cause a label to be rejected for approval even if it is only missing one comma, or any other details on the label are too close to it in the eyes of the TTB specialist viewing it. There are also requirements about it appearing on a “contrasting background”. This at times can be challenging when using the TTB’s electronic version of label approval as the labels submitted for their viewing in this process as jpeg files often will not look exactly the same as the real hard copy version. So for example if a label has a black background and the font of the health warning statement is also a darker style in color this can open up room for debate as to whether or not it is “contrasting” enough. Next time you pick up a bottle of wine take a look at this statement with your new knowledge of its very protected specifics and what hurdles the winery may have had to go through to get it just right.
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