Now that we’ve taken a closer look at the items that are actually required to be on all wine labels, lets go into the next level and review another group: Commonly seen label items. Each of these items we’ll be taking a closer look at are not required to appear on a wine label, however if they do then there are certain requirements that must be met along the lines of minumum percentages, etc. Our first item for discussion is varietal. These are very commonly seen on wine labels but technically are not required.
A winery does not have to put Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, etc. on its label. It does though have to put what the TTB calls, Class & Type of which a specific varietal name is just one example of. (see earlier blog that covers Class & Type) At a minimum a wine must be identified by its color. Red, White & Rose are the 3 options here. However, for our discussion purposes here as wineries will generally want to list a varietal name for marketing purposes, the TTB percentage requirement is 75%. A minimum of 75% of the wine’s blend must come from the varietal listed on the label. If the label also has an appellation listed on it the TTB then also requires that all of that 75% have come from the appellation designated. To give an example of this, a label that has Chardonnay & California on it as its varietal and appellation that would then require at least 75% of the blend to be chardonnay fruit from California grown fruit. As we continue to discuss the other Non-required label items in my next several blog postings you will see how they are often layered over and intertwined with each other, keeping wineries on their toes to ensure they qualify.
Next Non-required item: Vintage