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Clearing up vague, misleading wine label terms

on 18/01/11 at 9:34 am


Do you ever wonder about the real meaning of certain terms on wine labels? Well, so do a lot of other people, which is why the  Federal government is opening up a real can of worms with its announcement that the agency in charge of wine label wording, the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), is launching hearings designed to reconsider the definition of such terms as “estate,” “estate bottled,” Proprietor grown,” “Vintner grown,” “Vineyard,” “Single vineyard,” “Old Vine,” “Reserve,” “Barrel Select” and a host of others.

(You can read the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking here. Scroll down to Notice No. 109, which will give you a PDF.)

Big news, and about time. For too long, wineries have had too much leeway in their creative employment of such words, which are confusing and can mislead consumers into coming to conclusions about the wines that aren’t true.

Take the term “estate bottled.” Up until now, a wine can be called “estate bottled” only if (a) it is labeled with an appellation of origin, and (b) the bottling winery is located in the labeled viticultural area, grew all of the grapes used to make the wine on land owned or controlled by the winery within the boundaries of the labeled viticultural area; and crushed the grapes (there are some additional restrictions).

{Full post via Steve Heimoff}

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