What Information can you learn from a Wine Label?

What Information can you learn from a Wine Label?

There’s a lot of information available on a wine label. Reading a wine label properly can tell you exactly what you can expect from your wine before you buy it. Therefore, learning how to decipher the clues hidden in your wine label is an important skill for any wine lover. Of course, labels can look very different depending on what country your wine is from. Nevertheless, there are a few basic things that should be available on every wine label. Several different wine bottles with different labels.

The Producer and the Region

Locating the producer of the wine might be difficult. However, it should always be on the label. If it’s not obvious it will likely be in small print near the bottom of the label. Knowing the producer is good because if you like the wine it will be an easy way to collect more of the same, or branch out and try something knew from the same producer.

The region should also be easy to locate. If the region is broad the wine will likely be less expensive. The more specific the region is the higher the quality of the wine is likely to be. For example, the grapes might be sourced from a wide-ranging area or from a specific vineyard which would usually make it more exclusive and carefully crafted. This is a great indicator of quality.

The Grape Varietal

This is clearly key information. Some wines will be single varietal, meaning they are made from one type of grape, while others are blends of several different grape types. For example, one popular blend is Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. Sometimes labels will not reveal the type of grape used in making the wine. In these cases, the label will have an Appellation. If you search the specific Appellation listed on the label you can usually find the grape that was used to make the wine.

Alcohol Level

Checking the alcohol level of your wine is very important. How high the alcohol level is indicates how ripe the grapes were before they were harvested. Wines with high alcohol levels will tend to have a fuller body and less acid. By contrast, wines with less alcohol will tend to have higher acidity levels. Alcohol can also indicate sweetness. Generally speaking the more alcohol a wine has the dryer it’s going to be. If a wine has low levels of alcohol it’ll be sweeter.

The Vintage

Some vintages (years) are better than others for making wine. Therefore, if you do your research and learn which vintages are best for which regions picking the best wine will be a lot easier. If a wine doesn’t have a vintage it means it’s a blend from several different years. This usually means the wine is lower in value because it’s easier to control the flavour if you have grapes from several different years.

Happy hunting wine lovers!

Make sure to check out Rosehill Wine Cellars for all of your wine storage and wine drinking needs!

Wine Regions: Cool Climate versus Warm Climate

Understanding where your wine is coming from and where the grapes were harvested is important. The ripeness of the grapes will ultimately dictate how much alcohol, how much sugar and how much acidity is present in your wine.

Ripeness is important to all fruits and vegetables. How warm the growing climate is, translates to how ripe your fruits and vegetables are going to be when you consume them. This rule also applies to wine. There are certain varietals of grapes that are better suited to warm climate regions. However, there are also varietals that produce better wine in cooler regions.

When grapes ripen the relative amount of acidity present in the grape will diminish and overall sugar levels will increase. The amount of sugar present in the grape at the start of fermentation will directly correlate with how much alcohol can be produced. The yeast added to the must (crushed/destemmed grapes) ferment the sugar to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Image shows what happens while grapes ripen.

How acidity and overall sugar content fluctuates in grapes while they ripen.

This means that as a general rule of thumb warm climate regions are better suited for most red wines and cooler regions are better suited for producing white wine. For example, red wines like Merlot or Zinfandel will ripen more easily in warm areas like California. But if you’re searching for a crisp, dry Chardonnay a cooler region like Chablis will be ideal for producing this type of wine.

In a warm climate region like Italy, the grapes are more likely to experience steady, warm temperatures. This is great for the production of sugar, but not so great for maintaining the natural acidity of the grape. Therefore, these regions will produce wines with more ripeness, higher levels of alcohol and more fruit. Cooler regions will produce wines with more vibrancy and acidity. These cool regions do get warm but the season is considerably shorter and it will become cooler earlier than in warmer regions. But of course, weather does vary. Therefore, make sure to pay attention to the vintage because cool regions can have warm years and vice versa!

Make sure to check out Rosehill Wine Cellars for all of your wine storage and wine drinking needs!

Noble Grapes


There are a significant number of different wine grapes. This makes making wine and drinking it very exciting because it allows for a lot of different blends and a lot of great flavours. There’s nothing quite as thrilling as trying a new grape varietal. But, before you go exploring it’s important to remember the original six. These grapes are so famous they’re referred to as the ‘Noble Grapes.’ They’re Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.

These grapes are pretty universal and grow in wine regions all over the world. Sometimes they don’t grow as well in some regions as they do in others. Some of them, like Chardonnay, grow pretty easily. However, both Pinot Noir and Riesling can be difficult to grow. This is especially true for Pinot Noir which is often called the ‘heartbreak grape.’ Nevertheless, they form the basic grape varietals and most wine drinkers rely on them pretty heavily.

If you’re just starting down the path of becoming a wine lover it’s important to familiarize yourself with these grapes. Because they’re so universal, drinking these wines from different regions around the world is a wonderful way to explore different wine making techniques. It’s also a great way to recognize the influence of different climates. Some of these varietals are better suited to cooler climates, while some others like Cabernet Sauvignon often need a little bit more warmth and sunshine to become fully ripe.

When exploring different varietals it’s important to make sure that you have the right glassware to enjoy your wine. Check out our great collection of wine glasses at Rosehill Wine Cellars, and enjoy your wine to its full potential.

Make sure to check out Rosehill Wine Cellars for all of your wine storage and wine drinking needs!