Required and voluntary information on California wine labels
explains much about what will be in the bottle.
Sample of a label:
CALIFORNIA <- 3
BOTTLED BY <- 4
BLOCK VINEYARD WINE VALLEY, CA
ALCOHOL 12% BY VOLUME
- Brand. The surest key to the style of the wine.
- Type of wine. May be generic, proprietary , or varietal.
The first two may use any grape variety or blend of varieties
the producer desires. Varietal wines must be made 75% of the grape
- Region of origin. To say "California", 100% of the grapes
used must be grown within the state. To use a county name, 75%
must be grown within the county. To use an AVA name (a federally
approved viticultural area), 85% of the grapes must be grown within
that area. If the wine is a varietal, the 75% minimum of the named
variety must be grown within the AVA.
- Bottler. The label must show a company name (not always
identical with the brand name) and a business location.
- Alcohol content. The legal limits for table wine are
7% to 13.9%, with a 1.5% allowance either way so long as the allowance
does not go beyond the legal limits. "Table wine" or "Light wine"
may appear instead. If the alcohol content of a table wine exceeds
14%, the label must show that. Sparkling wines may be 10 to 13.9%
with the 1.5% allowance. For appetizer wines, the limits are 17
to 20%, for dessert types 18 to 20 %, with a 1% allowance in each
Source: Wine Institute