Wine labels: What is required?

Wine labels: What EXACTLY is required?

Wine labels tell a story. They tell us where the grapes come from, how long they have been aged in barrels, how long the vineyard has been planted, we could go on and on. However, we can’t just put anything we want on the label, and there are some things that every wine label must have. This is not to be taken as legal advice, and we advise you to head over to the TTB’s website for all things labeling: 

TTB Wine Labeling Requirements

BRAND label requirements

A brand label can be on the front or back of the bottle (or on a wine single label), but there are a few items that must be on that brand label.

Brand Name: A brand name is the name under which a wine or line of wines is marketed. It is usually the most prominent information on the label.  If the wine is not sold under a brand name, the name of the bottler, packer, or importer will be treated as the brand name if it is shown on the designated brand label. For more information:

Appellation of Origin (not required for all wines): An appellation of origin generally designates the geographic area in which the fruit or other agricultural product was grown. Using an appellation of origin on your label also indicates that the wine meets certain production requirements. If certain information about a wine is included on the label, an appellation of origin is required. That information is: 

  • A vintage date;
  • A varietal designation;
  • A type designation of varietal significance;
  • A semi-generic designation;
  • An “estate bottled” claim

For more information:

Class or Type Designation: This is simply the designation of the wine in the bottle. Wines can be designated as Red Wine, White Wine, Rose Wine, etc. or may be designated by grape variety, in which case an appellation of origin is required.

For more information:

General Label Requirements

The following requirements can be on any part of the wine label.

Alcohol Content: The alcohol content statement is a numerical statement on a wine label that indicates the alcohol content of the wine in terms of percentage of alcohol by volume. For wines over 14 percent alcohol by volume, a numerical alcohol content statement is mandatory. The alcohol content may appear as either a specific number or a range.  For wines 7 to 14 percent alcohol by volume, a numerical alcohol content statement is optional if the type designation “table wine” or “light wine“ appears on the brand label as the mandatory class/type designation.

For more information:

Health Warning Statement: The health warning statement is the following statement, required to appear on wine labels by the Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act (ABLA) of 1988:

GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon General, women
should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of
birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to
drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems. 

The health warning statement must appear on all alcohol beverages for sale or distribution in the United States containing not less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume.

For more information:

Name and Address: The name and address statement provides the name and address of the importer or the bottler of the wine, as applicable.

For American wine, the name and address statement generally consists of the name of the bottler or packer and the address (city and state), as shown on the basic permit. It is preceded by the phrase “Bottled by” or “Packed by,” as appropriate.

For more information:

Net Contents: The net contents statement indicates how much wine is in the container on which the label appears.

For more information:

Sulfite Declaration: A sulfite declaration is a statement on labels of wine that informs the consumer that the wine contains sulfites or sulfiting agents. The statement is required where sulfur dioxide or a sulfiting agent is detected at a level of 10 or more parts per million (ppm), measured as total sulfur dioxide. For purposes of this guidance, the term “sulfites” is used to include sulfur dioxide and sulfiting agents. Sulfites are preservatives widely used in winemaking, and some people have sensitivities to sulfites. The labeling requirement is intended to alert those people to the presence of sulfites in wines.

For more information: