How To Read A Wine Label

June 24, 2015


If you’ve ever walked into a wine shop and felt overwhelmed by the numerous options available, you’re not alone. Wine comes in different colors, a wide variety of styles and a whole world full of geographic origins. The labels aren’t much help if you don’t know the details to look for, or how to figure out what the descriptions actually mean. Fortunately, there are just four main components you need to know when reading a wine label.

1. Producer: This is the name of the vineyard or winery that produces the wine, which may be different from the company that grew the grapes. It’s also important to note that there may be different wine brands that fall under the same producer, so make sure you take these subtleties into account.

2. Region: You’ll want to know the source of your wine, as it impacts the flavor, finish and aroma. Regional details are revealed differently by producers, however. One may state that the wine is Californian, while another may get more specific. It’s not uncommon to see designations like “Napa County,” “Paso Robles” or “Central Coast,” all of which are in California.

3. Variety: Beyond red, white or rose, there is varietal information on a wine label. This refers to the type of grapes used to make the wine, which significantly affects its flavor. Cabernet franc, Lambrusco, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Pinor Noir are a few examples. Keep in mind that the color of the grape on the vine doesn’t necessarily impact the color of wine produced by them. Leaving the skins on the grapes versus removing them determines the hue of the end result.

4. Vintage: This term on a wine label refers to the year when the grapes were harvested. The final product may be higher or lower in quality depending on the weather and other conditions that were present during the vintage year. When you hear someone say that a certain bottle is “a good year,” they’re referring to vintage. As a hint, if you see labels with no vintage or “NV,” this is typically a lower quality or blended wine.

Now that you’re familiar with how to read wine labels, you’re probably ready to head out and invest in a few of your favorites. Eventually, however, you might fill up the wine fridge at home and need to look for additional storage options. Since wine is sensitive to light, humidity and temperature, it’s smart to look for storage facilities where you can keep your collection at ideal conditions. Park Cities Self Storage in Dallas, Texas, offers clean, climate-controlled wine cellar units to hold your vintages, so please give us a call with questions, or view rates and availability.

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