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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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Wine well stored is wine well enjoyed
Words by Vintec on 4 Nov 2017
Wine well stored is wine well enjoyed. Here’s a look at the good, the bad and the ugly of wine storage thanks to our friends at Vintec . Did you know the wrong storage environment can negatively affect your wine after only a few weeks? Check out this list of all the places you might store your wine at home, and which ones you should absolutely avoid. The Ugly Surprisingly, some of the worst places that you can store your wine are in your kitchen. This includes near your oven, or next to your fridge – which dispels a considerable amount of heat during its compressor cycles. Any wine professional will tell you that fluctuating temperature is the worst for your wine. Similarly, storing wine in a consistently hot environment, will literally cook your wine, resulting in ‘spoiled fruit’ flavours. The Bad Unfortunately this category covers a lot of the places we often think are okay for wine storage, such as under the staircase, in a basement, or in Styrofoam boxes. Wine’s ideal cellaring temperature is between 12ºC and 14ºC. Storing wine under 10° will stunt maturation, while above 16° will prematurely age the wine. On top of this, low humidity environments dry out corks, which allows air into the bottle – this is really bad. The Good
So, where should you store your wine?  The best place is somewhere that has been specifically designed to accommodate the needs of your wines, like a cool natural underground cellar or a climate-controlled wine cabinet. A well-made wine cabinet replicates the conditions found in the best natural underground wine cellars by controlling humidity, temperature and UV light. While you may assume a wine cooler is a good alternative, unfortunately these generate intense blasts of cold air, creating large temperature fluctuations, and they remove ambient humidity, causing your corks to dry out. The most convenient option for wine lovers is a product specifically designed for your wines. Wine storage experts Vintec have developed a comprehensive range to suit all needs and requirements, offering wine cabinets with 20-bottle capacities right up to walk-in cellars for over 4000 bottles.  Their range includes something for all budgets and spaces, and is well worth the investment to protect your favourite drops. For more details on Vintec’s extensive wine storage range visit vintec.com.au
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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