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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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Food
The essential Seafood and wine matching guide
A seafood selection for all of your wine favourites. There’s something so Australian about tucking into a seafood feast with family and friends! We’re so lucky to have such an incredible range available all year-round, from fresh prawns and oysters served deliciously chilled, to barbequed and baked seafood dishes full of fresh flavours. The style of wine you choose to match your seafood is dictated by its delicacy. From the classic combination of crisp Riesling with freshly shucked oysters to grilled shellfish with a modern Chardonnay, and the not so classic match of salmon with Pinot Noir, there’s a vast array of wine and seafood-matching opportunities. LIGHT AND AROMATIC WHITES Dave Mavor and his family love seafood and are mad about Asian food, so a favourite at his house is steamed snapper with Asian flavours . “I’m a huge fan of alternative whites like Gewürztraminer and Grüner Veltliner which pair perfectly with this style of dish,” says Dave. With Asian flavours also think light and aromatic whites like Sauvignon Blanc , Semillon and blends, and Riesling . MEDIUM WEIGHT AND TEXTURAL WHITES “Living on the coast, I’m lucky to have access to fantastic quality fresh seafood and I love having friends around for lunch on weekends, so dishes like blue swimmer crab spaghettini with lemon and chive sauce and garlic pangrattato are my go-to,” says Nicole Gow. “Crab needs a white that’s light on the oak with crisp acidity, making medium weight and textural wines like Marsanne , Pinot G , Vermentino , Arneis and Fiano mouth-watering choices,” FULLER BODIED AND RICHER WHITES When you’re after an easy to prepare, but impressive and quite luxurious seafood dinner, Adam Walls recommends barbequed marron with garlic and herb butter . “Marron is just so delicious and the rich barbequed flavours of the dish are complemented by fuller bodied and richer whites which I love,” he explains. “Go for Chardonnay , Roussanne , Verdelho or Viognier .” LIGHT TO MEDIUM WEIGHT AND SAVOURY REDS Trent Mannell suggests forgetting what you’ve heard or read about red wine not going with seafood. “The richness of fish like salmon make it great for red wine-lovers,” says Trent. “I really enjoy dishes like King salmon with warm romesco salad that pair so well with light to medium weight and savoury reds like  Grenache , GSM blends , Nero d’Avola , Barbera , Pinot Noir and Merlot .”
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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