Back to Wine Labeling: Standards of Identity main page

Wine Labeling: Standards of Identity

Class 1: Grape Wine

Definition

Grape wine, or still grape wine, is wine produced by the normal alcoholic fermentation of the juice of sound, ripe grapes (including restored or unrestored pure condensed grape must), with or without the addition, after fermentation, of pure condensed grape must and with or without added spirits of the type authorized for natural wine under 26 U.S.C. 5382, but without other addition or abstraction except as may occur in cellar treatment of the type authorized for natural wine under 26 U.S.C. 5382.

Still grape wine may be ameliorated, or sweetened, before, during, or after fermentation, in a way that is consistent with the limits set forth in 26 U.S.C. 5383 for natural grape wine, provided that grape wine designated as “specially sweetened grape wine” under paragraph (c)(11) may be sweetened in accordance with the standards set forth in 26 U.S.C. 5385.

Still grape wine must contain less than 0.392 grams of carbon dioxide per 100 milliliters. The maximum volatile acidity, calculated as acetic acid and exclusive of sulfur dioxide is 0.14 gram per 100 mL (20 degrees Celsius) for red wine and 0.12 gram per 100 mL (20 degrees Celsius) for other grape wine, provided that the maximum volatile acidity for wine produced from unameliorated juice of 28 or more degrees Brix is 0.17 gram per 100 mL for red wine and 0.15 gram per 100 mL for white wine.

Class Designations That May Be Used On Labels

Grape wine must be designated as “grape wine” on the label, unless it is instead labeled with an applicable type designation.

Type Definitions And Designations That May Be Used On Labels

Grape wine may be designated with one or more of the following type designation(s) in place of, or in addition to, the class designation.

  1. Red, white, blush, pink, rosé, and amber wine. Still grape wine that derives its characteristic color from the presence or absence of the red coloring matter of the skins, juice, or pulp of grapes may be designated as “red wine,” “white wine,” “blush wine,” “pink wine,” “rosé wine,” or “amber wine,”as the case may be. Variations of these terms, such as “rosé” (instead of “rosé wine”) or “red blend” (instead of “red wine”) are not permitted.
  2. Grape variety. The names of one or more grape varieties (for example, “chardonnay” or “cabernet franc and merlot”) may be used as the type designation.
  3. Grape type designation of varietal significance. A grape type designation of varietal significance (for example, “moscato” or “scuppernong”) may be used as the type designation.
  4. Semi generic designation of geographic significance. A semi-generic designation of geographic significance (for example, “Angelica”) may be used as the type designation.
  5. Non-generic designation that is a distinctive designations of specific grape wines. A non-generic designation that is a distinctive designation of specific grape wine (for example, “Bordeaux Blanc”) may be used as the type designation.
  6. Table wine and light wine. Still grape wine having an alcoholic content of not less than 7 percent by volume and not in excess of 14 percent by volume may be designated as “table wine” or “light wine.”
  7. Dessert wine. Still grape wine having an alcoholic content greater than 14 percent by volume and not in excess of 24 percent by volume may be designated as “dessert wine.”
  8. Angelica. Angelica is grape dessert wine having the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to angelica. Angelica has an alcohol content of not less than 18 percent by volume. The alcohol content is derived in part from added grape brandy or alcohol. Angelica has been recognized as a semi-generic designation of geographic significance.
  9. Madeira, Port, and Sherry. Madeira, port, and sherry are grape dessert wines having the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to such wines. Madeira and port have an alcohol content of not less than 18 percent by volume, while sherry has an alcohol content of not less than 17 percent by volume. Dessert wines having the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to any of the above products and an alcoholic content, derived in part from added grape brandy or alcohol, in excess of 14 percent by volume but, in the case of sherry, less than 17 percent, or, in other cases, less than 18 percent by volume, may be designated as “light sherry,” “light angelica,” “light madeira,” “light muscatel” or “light port,” respectively. The alcohol content is derived in part from added grape brandy or alcohol. These grape wine types have been recognized as semi-generic designation of geographic significance.
  10. Muscatel. Muscatel is grape dessert wine having the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to Muscatel. Muscatel has an alcohol content of not less than 18 percent by volume. The alcohol content is derived in part from added grape brandy or alcohol. Muscatel is a grape type designation of varietal significance.
  11. Specially sweetened grape wine." Grape wine sweetened in accordance with the standards set forth in 26 U.S.C. 5385 must include the words “extra sweet,” “specially sweetened,” “specially sweet,” or “sweetened with excess sugar” as part of the class and type designation.

Green icon with a white phone. CONTACT US

For more information on labeling, contact us at 202-453-2250 or toll-free at 866-927-ALFD (2533), or send us a message using our Alcohol Labeling and Formulation Division (ALFD) Contact Form.

See our customer service desk information page for more contact information.

Page last reviewed: March 2, 2013
Page last updated: September 23, 2019
Maintained by: Alcohol Labeling and Formulation Division