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Wine

How to read an Australian wine label

Mandatory information requirements for labels of Australian wines, mean as a wine lover you can be assured of exactly what is in each wine bottle, who made it and where it came from – there’s no guess work involved.

While the label design differs for each wine company to reflect their personality, history and wine styles, all Australian wine labels must include the following:

  • Volume of wine e.g. 750ml
  • Country of origin e.g. Australia
  • Percentage of alcohol e.g. 13.5% ALC/VOL
  • Designation of product e.g. wine
  • Producer e.g. name and address
  • Additives e.g. preservative 220 added
  • Standard drinks e.g. approx. 8 Standard drinks
  • Allergen warnings e.g. this wine has been fined with fish, milk or egg products.

There are also a number of rules that apply to the information supplied about where the fruit for the wine came from, what varietal or varietals it’s made from, and also the vintage it was harvested in.

  • If the label states a specific vintage year, it must contain at least 85% of fruit from the stated year.
  • If it states a specific variety it must contain at least 85% of that variety e.g. Chardonnay, Shiraz or Riesling. If the wine contains 15% or more of a second varietal that also must be declared e.g.: Cabernet Merlot or Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.
  • If it states a specific regional origin or geographical indication (GI) it must contain at least 85% fruit from that region.

Front of the label

Generally a front label will include the following:

  • Producer’s company name
  • Brand name
  • Geographical indication/region
  • Prescribed name of grape variety or blend
  • Vintage
  • Volume statement.
  • Trophy or medal logo if it has any – awarded at Wine Shows, Trophy is the highest award. Wines can also be awarded a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal depending on the score they receive from the judging panel.

Back of label

Depending on the wine and the wine producer, the back label usually includes a brief blurb about the wine, winery, or winemaker, a tasting note or maybe the story behind the wine. It also includes:

  • Name and description of the wine
  • Alcohol statement
  • Standard drink labelling
  • Allergens declaration
  • Name and address of the wine producer
  • Country of origin

On the back labels of Australian biodynamic and organic wines labels, you may also see logos certifying their status.

Each wine label tells a story, so next time you pick out a bottle of wine, make sure you take the time to read its label – you’ll be surprised at what you can learn!

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