Your wine bottle label does a lot of heavy lifting: it should catch a consumer’s eye, provide information about the wine type or region, and present key required information such as the producer and bottler, health warnings and more.
Here’s a quick guide to wine bottle labeling:
Wine bottle regulations and COLAs
American wine labels are regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). They review all labels to ensure they comply with wine labeling regulations. Approved labels receive a Certificate of Label Approval (COLA).
Here’s what your label is legally required to include:
- Brand: You must include the winery’s name. You may, but are not required to add a brand name for the specific wine.
- Country of origin: Your label must indicate where at least three quarters of the grapes used to make the wine come from. Mixed foreign and domestic wines must label the percentage of grapes from foreign countries.
- Health warnings: All labels must include a health warning, which lets consumers know that alcohol may cause birth defects and mental impairment.
- Net contents: Wine bottles use metric standards for filling. 1-, 1.5-, and 3-liter bottles must state the contents in liters, while containers between 3 and 18 liters must use whole-liter sized bottles. All other sizes should be stated in milliliters.
- Producer and bottler: Wines produced in America must indicate if it was bottled or packed by the applicable producer or bottler, along with their name and address. If the wine was produced outside of America, the label should include the importer.
- Sulfite warning: Any wine which has 10 or more parts per million of sulfur dioxide must include a sulfite warning.
- Wine type and alcohol content: Alcohol content should be stated as percentage by volume, rather than proof. The percentage is required for all wines over 14 percent alcohol. Wines labeled “table wine” or “light wine” do not need to state the ABV, as long as they contain less than 14 percent alcohol.
Optional labeling elements
Winemakers are not required to include the following elements, but they can provide additional information to help consumers learn more about the product. If you decide to include this information, be sure to research the requirements involved. For example, if you list the appellation, 85 percent of the fruit used to make the wine has to come from that specific region. Some states, like California, have location-specific requirements.
Appellation, vintage, varietals and the estate are all common optional elements. If your wine is organic, you may specify that as long as you follow the rules regarding percentages and sulfites.
Finally, you may add the history of your winery or pairing suggestions to the back label only, as long as it doesn’t conflict with other required information and barcodes.
Quadrel wine labeling solutions
Quadrel can deliver robust wine labeling solutions for every producer. Check out our current selection of wine labelers, or reach out to our experience team to create a custom wine labeling system.