Wine Bottle Labels: What Does It All Mean?


Key Indications & Keywords To Look Out For:

It is important to note that a good wine label does not always mean the wine will be the best. The main features included on each label can vary massively, from European to American wines, from region to region or even just by each individual vineyard. Below are some of the main keywords to look out for, next time you're buying a bottle of wine:
  • Appellation - AOC approved area where the wine is grown, with specific regulations for winegrowers.
  • Blanc - White Wine, produced from white wine grapes.
  • Brut - Dry Wine.
  • Chateau/ Domaine - The Vineyard the wine comes from.
  • Grand Cru - High level of classification, which varies between each AOC. 
  • Grand Vin - The best wine from the producer
  • Rouge - Red Wine.
  • Vieilles Vignes - Old Vines.
  • Vintage - The year the wine was produced in.

Importance Of Terroir

Terroir is important when observing wine labels because it shows you the exact origin of the wine, helping to indicate characteristics about the wine- For example, Beaujolais wines are normally formed of the Gamay grape.


Grape Varieties

  It is common for French vineyards to not state which grapes have been used in their winemaking, so it is useful to understand each region's most commonly used grapes.
When the term 'Pauillac' is printed on a wine bottle, the wine is probably from Bordeaux. This term refers to a Cabernet Sauvignon blend.


Organic wines often have at least one of the below symbols on their bottles, to help indicate the organic growing status. Some wineries won't include the logo, so look out for the term 'biologique' which indicates the wine is organic.
To read more on organic wines, Click Here
    Organic Logo For French Wine

Artistic Value

Many winemakers put artistic value into their wine labels, to show part of the story or show what their winemaking is about. Often drawings of their Chateau are included onto each of the domain's bottles to help differentiate each vineyard and to show the care gone into the winemaking. However, sometimes the bottle labels are kept simple. 

Domaine Pierre Cros

Pierre Cros 

 Pierre Cros is a great example of a winemaker who experiments and is creative with his wine labels. 

His Liberte collection shows more creativity from the writing 'La Liberte N'est Pas De Faire Ce Que L'on Veut Mais De Vouloir Ce Que L'on Fait' meaning 'Freedom is not doing what you want but wanting what you are doing'. Through this, Pierre Cros is adding personalisation to his wine bottles and showing these are not the typical wines from Languedoc. His Nebbiolo wine is a great example, through the Nebbiolo grape rarely being grown outside of northern Italy, shows that Pierre Cros was creative and different about his winemaking in the Liberte collection.   

L'esprit D' Eloi

Chateau Guery's popular wine 'L'esprit D' Eloi' illustrates the political stance and opinions of freedom, from the producers, being a treatise of political stance in the 18th Century. Over time 'L'esprit D' Eloi' has also gained connotations from the Roman Catholic Church, as they added this to their list of prohibited books, due to the strong political liberty. Through these concepts, this now shows a need to preserve liberty, including rights to fair trials, actions against slavery and freedom of speech, thought and assembly. 

For Chateau Guery, the L'esprit D' Eloi represents freedom in winemaking, through being labeled separately to their appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) wines, in the 'Atypical' category. Though AOC wines have to follow specific winemaking guidelines, such as types of vines grown or even winemaking techniques used, depending on each appellation. 

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