Read the label

Buying wine may be a frustrating task if you don’t know much about the varieties, what foods they will pair with, and what to expect when you twist the cap off and pour.

That’s where wine labels come to the fore. Knowing how to read the front and back labels on a wine bottle will make it easier to choose, especially if you like a particular variety or style.

Front labels will tell you the name of the wine producer, the country of origin and the variety. That helps if you have tried and liked wine from a specific country and region. Useful information on wine labels includes the brand or estate name, the grape variety, the vintage or year in which the grapes were harvested, and the alcohol percentage by volume. The lower in alcohol the wine, generally the lighter it will be in body.

Back labels are just as important to read. They often include health warnings such as ‘Contains Sulphites’, whether they’re suitable for vegetarians or vegans, and also information about the wine, food pairing options, and tasting notes. For example, many will say if they have been aged in oak, the type of oak (French, American etc), and what flavours are present on the nose and palate.



Wine bottle labels should be a mine of information, and in particular will advise the percentage of alcohol per volume.

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