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Why no alcohol content info on the wine label?
March 3, 2014 8:36 PM   Subscribe

I thought that, by law, all wine bottles in the US must show their % alcohol content. But recently in California I've bought wine which doesn't display the alcohol content on either the front or back label. Am I just not looking close enough?
posted by mono blanco to Food & Drink (11 answers total)
 
Wine under 14% abv doesn't require it to be on the label in the US.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 8:41 PM on March 3


There is a summary of the regulations here (as well as info about where to find the details) -- note especially that wine between 7% and 14% can be labeled as "Table Wine" or "Light Wine" in lieu of the actual number -- does the bottle say one of those things?
posted by brainmouse at 8:44 PM on March 3


No designation on either label as "Table Wine" or "Light Wine". It's a $20 Sonoma Chardonnay. Maybe they're too snooty to use either locution.
posted by mono blanco at 9:01 PM on March 3


I don't think I've ever seen ABV on a bottle of US wine. (Ohio based wine consumer here).
posted by mmascolino at 10:42 PM on March 3


Look it up on the winery's website if you want to know. There will probably be a page with some tasting notes, a few comments about the weather and harvest, and some technical data on the wine.
posted by ryanrs at 12:13 AM on March 4


Where did you get it? Sometimes, depending on the state, wine sold directly by wineries on their own property to consumers (in the winery gift shop, for example) will be subject to less strict rules than wine sold by a third party.

The California ABC can provide you with state-specific info that might provide some insight.
posted by something something at 5:15 AM on March 4


I'm not sure what the rules are in California (isn't alcohol regulation state specific?), but it's possible that the winery will be exporting the wine to a state or other region that require the %ABV and they only want to make one label.
posted by quaking fajita at 5:33 AM on March 4


I'm the opposite of mmascolino - I've never seen a bottle of wine that didn't have ABV. In the US, France, Spain, Argentina or Australia.

As a matter of fact when I took the Sonoma State Wine Business courses I recall seeing the same PDF that is referenced from the TTB but without any "Alternative" labeling options. But I drink a lot of wine so my memory is foggy. ;)
posted by FlamingBore at 7:20 AM on March 4


Where did you get it?
At Safeway. So obviously I was wrong as the first two posters noted.
posted by mono blanco at 10:03 AM on March 4


Wine under 14% abv doesn't require it to be on the label in the US.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 8:41 PM on March 3 [+] [!]


Not true in California.

There is a summary of the regulations here (as well as info about where to find the details) -- note especially that wine between 7% and 14% can be labeled as "Table Wine" or "Light Wine" in lieu of the actual number -- does the bottle say one of those things?
posted by brainmouse at 8:44 PM on March 3 [+] [!]


Also not true, in California, which has stricter rules than many other states.

I make Sonoma Chardonnay. Like, 20,000 cases a year. Legally, the wine absolutely must have the ABV on the label.

Trust me, I apply for label approval for 26 different wines every year, and file taxes for which I pay a different price depending on ABV.

Either the winery has massively screwed up (as they are new and storing all their wine on-site? NO storage facility would accept wine that didn't state the ABV on the label on the case.)

I'm confused how Safeway could possibly be selling this. Someone, somewhere screwed up BIGTIME.

It's not snooty, it's illegal. Or maybe it's in very pale small letters somewhere you have missed?

Either way, I am so curious what it is!

Here is a good link to current laws:

http://www.napavintners.com/wines/how_to_read_a_wine_label.asp
posted by metasav at 9:45 PM on March 5


Oh, and I sure hope you enjoy it! Drink California wine- yay!
posted by metasav at 9:50 PM on March 5


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