Most people may find it rather stressful to read and understand wine labels while trying to select a nice bottle to bring to a friend's house. Observing wine labels reveals that they vary greatly in the amount of information they provide; some contain sufficient details, including the long process from vine to wine, while others may have only a name and barely any information, making it difficult to figure out what you are purchasing. Some people are more interested in the contents of the bottle, such as the type of grapes used, the quality of the wine, the region, or the wine-making procedures, while the majority of people are drawn to impulse, and a beautiful wine label might be the only reason for their purchase. Although this portion of the market may be small in comparison to impulsive purchases, excellent wine is nonetheless preferred by some consumers.

Old World wine label

When observing wine labels from the Old World, such as a wine label from Burgundy, France, you will observe that the label of these wines is quite similar to labels corresponding to their geographical location, such as the village named Chablis. A bottle of Chablis comes from the region of Chablis and is produced using the Chardonnay grape varietal. Recognizing that old-world wines emphasize a greater value on the ‘terroir’ or location of the wine than on the grape type, one can see that there's no reference to the grape variety on the label. The term Appellation - AOC ’Appellation d’origine contrôlee’ is a PDO that indicates that the wine is controlled by the regulations and laws of that region and the grape varieties permitted for use. Other information and terms related to the wine might also be available, such as Élevé et mis en bouteilles par (grown and bottled for), which will state the producer's name. Mis en bouteilles á la propriété (Bottled at the property), and other related terms.

New World wine label

When observing wine labels from the New World, such as one from Napa Valley, USA, you will observe that, apart from the region, the wine label indicates the grape variety. Such as Napa Valley, USA, Cabernet Sauvignon. New-world wines may vary as there are fewer restrictions than old-world wines, though most producers indicate the grape origin and grape variety, typically will also display the vineyard's name.

Other significant terms that may be seen on labels include the vintage date, which represents the date of the grape harvest. If this information is absent, the wine may have been made from several vintages. Brand name, which could be the name of the winemaker or a name of their choice. Other special, fancy names for that specific wine, crest, or logo and seal. Details about the production amounts, alcohol volume and other content, harvest, vine age, region, sub region, particular microclimate, and other elements, winemaking, bottling, and wine ageing. You may also find wine style, characteristics, and flavours, related history, classifications, and ranks, food pairing suggestions, and any other details related to the final bottled wine.

Cultivating curiosity

You can gain a deeper understanding of the wine's style, origin, and other aspects by thoroughly reviewing its labels. You will profit from this in terms of personal wine preferences and learning about new wine styles, increasing your appreciation and sense of the worth of a wine's quality.

Many well-known wine courses are offered throughout the world, and the majority of the retail wine industry is investing in staff members with wine knowledge. This is a great advantage for customers as it helps them choose, explore new wines, and learn something new. So, take the opportunity and ask for assistance when you're wandering through the wine isles and unsure of what to try next.