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Labeling Requirements for Wine

Picture1There’s a lot to a label, especially labels on products like wine. All alcohol beverages sold in the USA must contain information that properly describes the product. The TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) is an agency that assures the integrity of such products in the marketplace and enforces industry compliance with laws and regulations to prevent consumer deception.

A wine  label does more that attract consumers with a catchy design. The label will tell you important information, including:

  • Vintage Date – The year in which the grapes were harvested.
  • Appellation of Origin – The place in which the dominant grapes were grown.
  • Alcohol content – The amount of alcohol in the product, stated as a percent by volume.
  • Declaration of Sulfites – Required on any wine intended for interstate commerce that contains 10 or more parts per million of sulfur dioxide.
  • Health Warning Statement – Required on all beverages containing 0.5% of alcohol by volume.
  • Country of origin – Required on containers of imported wines
  • Name and Address of the bottler or importer.
  • Net Contents – The metric units of measure.

Labeling requirements for wine are very detailed and specific. For example, labels must be readily legible under ordinary conditions and be on a contrasting background, and all labels must be affixed to containers such that they cannot be removed without thorough application of water or other solvents.

But what about those personalized labels printed for special occasions? Personalized information and artwork on these labels are subject to the same regulations as any other wine label, and can not conflict with or qualify the mandatory information appearing on the label.  A winery can offer personalized labels to customers if they had already obtain approval from TTB during their application process.

Other beverages, distilled spirits and malt beverages, have their own specific labeling requirements as well. For more information about labeling for alcohol beverages, go to www.ttb.gov.

If you need help with labeling, marking, or coding, give us a call. And you can read more about the solutions we offer in our article  ID Technology in the Wine Business.



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  1. Those regulations look fairly easy in comparison to the regulations in the European Union. They are very strict on what you are allowed to call your wine or not (depending on where it is produced and how much sugar and alcohol it has).

    Also there are regulations about voluntary informations that you may print on the label but only if they comply exactly with regulations. Everything that is not allowed by EU-law is forbidden to write on wine labels!

    I have written it all down here: http://www.etikettenwissen.de/wiki/Weinetiketten (in german)

  2. Thank you for posting the link for this information, it’s great stuff! It is cumbersome for manufacturers to have to go through the hurdles of labeling regulations, but consumers have to know what they are buying. I especially like the section on optional information regarding storage conditions, use recommendations, and serving suggestions; all very helpful when choosing a wine.

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