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Anatomy of a Wine Label

The Anatomy of a Wine Label tool is an interactive tool that can help you learn more about how to create a wine label.



Brand
Label


Other
Label


BRAND LABEL

Use the thumbnail images to navigate between the Brand Label and Other Label.

Move your mouse over the label and click on any highlighted element to reveal information about that part of the label, plus COLA requirements and helpful tips for creating your wine label.

BRAND NAME

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

Yes

Required to appear on the BRAND LABEL


Description

The brand name is the name under which a wine or line of wines is marketed.

See Brand Name for complete requirements. 

TIPS 

  • The brand name must appear on the brand label.

  • The brand name may not mislead the consumer about the age, origin, identity, or other characteristics of the wine.

  • The class/type designation (e.g., "Chardonnay", "White Wine"), standing alone, may not be used as the brand name.  However, if no other brand name appears on the label, the name of the bottler, packer, or importer will be treated as the brand name. 

OTHER LABEL

Use the thumbnail images to navigate between the Brand Label and Other Label.

Move your mouse over the label and click on any highlighted element to reveal information about that part of the label, plus COLA requirements and helpful tips for creating your wine label.

BRAND NAME

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

Yes

Required to appear on the BRAND LABEL


Description

The brand name is the name under which a wine or line of wines is marketed.

See Brand Name for complete requirements. 

TIPS 

  • The brand name must appear on the brand label.

  • The brand name may not mislead the consumer about the age, origin, identity, or other characteristics of the wine.

  • The class/type designation (e.g., "Chardonnay", "White Wine"), standing alone, may not be used as the brand name.  However, if no other brand name appears on the label, the name of the bottler, packer, or importer will be treated as the brand name. 

FANCIFUL NAME

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

No

May appear on any label


Description

For a wine, a fanciful name is a descriptive name or phrase used in addition to the brand name to further identify a product. Frequently, several fanciful names are associated with a single brand name.

See Brand Name and Class and Type Designations for complete requirements. 

TIPS 

  • The fanciful name may not mislead the consumer about the age, origin, identity, or other characteristics of the wine.

  • A class/type designation is required for all wines, even if an optional fanciful name alludes to the type of wine in the container.  In this example, the fanciful name "Stormchaser White" does not satisfy the requirement for a class/type designation.   

CLASS, TYPE, OR OTHER DESIGNATION GRAPE VARIETY

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

Yes

Required to appear on the BRAND LABEL


Description

Wines must be labeled with the class and/or type of wine (such as "red wine" or "Sparkling Chardonnay"), in accordance with an established standard of identity.  Wines that do not fit into one of the standards of identity are referred to as a "wine specialty" and different labeling rules apply.

See Class and Type Designations for complete requirements, including descriptions of standards of identity. 

TIPS 

  • The class/type designation must appear separate and apart from additional information, and in certain circumstances must appear in direct conjunction with other mandatory information.

  • If a class/type designation appears on more than one label, ensure that the designation is consistent on all labels.

  • A wine color alone is not a class/type designation —for example, "rosé wine" is a class/type; however, "rosé" is not.

  • If one or more grape varieties are listed as the class/type designation, ensure that an appellation of origin appears on the brand label in direct conjunction with the class/type designation.

  • For formulated wines, the statement of composition used on the label must be the same as, or more specific than, the suggested statement of composition on the approved formula.  Check the wine formula tool if you are unsure whether your wine needs a formula approved by TTB.

CLASS, TYPE, OR OTHER DESIGNATION GRAPE VARIETY

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

No

Required to appear on the BRAND LABEL, if used as the class/type designation


Description

A grape wine may be labeled with a type designation consisting of the name of one or more grape varieties only if the wine meets the requirements for varietal labeling.

For domestic wines, the variety must be a variety approved for domestic use.  

Wines labeled with a grape varietal designation must also be labeled with an appellation of origin on the brand label.  Different rules apply if information about grape varieties appears as additional information on a label other than the brand label.    

See Appellation of Origin and Class and Type Designations for complete requirements, including descriptions of standards of identity.

 
TIPS 

  • If the grape variety is listed as the class/type, ensure that an appellation of origin appears on the brand label with the grape variety.

  • When using two or more grape varieties as the type designation on the brand label, you must show the percentages of each type used to make the wine. The percentages must add up to 100%.  For more information, see 27 CFR 4.23.   

  • When you include one or more grape varieties on the brand label, it is treated as a class/type designation and is then considered mandatory information that must appear either separate and apart from, or more conspicuous than, information not required to appear on the label.

APPELLATION OF ORIGIN

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

Yes, if the label includes certain other items. The most common are:

  • grape variety as the type designation;
  • a vintage date;
  • a semi-generic type designation;
  • the term "estate bottled."

For all circumstances in which an appellation is mandatory, see Appellation of Origin

If none of those circumstances applies, the appellation of origin is optional.

If required, it must appear on the BRAND LABEL with the class/type designation


Description

An appellation of origin generally designates the geographic area (or areas) where the fruit or other agricultural products used to make the wine were grown. Using an appellation of origin on your label also indicates that the wine meets certain production requirements. 

In general, the appellation for American wine can be the United States, a state(s), a county(s), or an approved American Viticultural Area(s). The appellation for imported wine may be a foreign country, a state(s), a county, or an approved viticultural area.

See Appellation of Origin for complete requirements.

TIP

  • If two labels on the same face of the container contain mandatory brand label information (for example, a brand label and a strip label) and the appellation is required, the appellation and class/type must appear on the same label.

VINTAGE DATE

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

No

May appear on any label


Description

Vintage date refers to the year of the harvest of the grapes.

See 27 CFR 4.27 for complete requirements.

TIPS  

  • A vintage date can only be used with grape wines.

  • If a vintage date appears on the label, an Appellation of Origin is required to appear on the brand label.

  • A vintage date is not permitted to appear on wine labels for products that are imported in containers over 5 liters.

  • The vintage date on a label may be added, changed, or deleted without applying for a new COLA. See Allowable Revisions for complete requirements.

ALCOHOL CONTENT

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

Yes*

May appear on any label


Description

The alcohol content is a numerical indication of the alcohol content of the wine stated in terms of percent alcohol by volume.

*For wines over 14 percent alcohol by volume, a numerical alcohol content statement is mandatory. In the case of wines containing 7 to 14 percent alcohol by volume, a numerical alcohol content statement is optional if the type designation "table wine" or "light wine" appears on the brand label as the mandatory class/type designation.  

The alcohol content may appear as either a specific number or as a range. 

See Alcohol Content Statement for complete requirements.

TIPS

  • Ensure the format is acceptable, such as:
    • "Alcohol ___ % by volume"; or "____%
    • Alc. By Vol." 
    • "___% to ___% alc. by vol."
  • "ABV" is not allowed as an abbreviation of "alcohol by volume" in the mandatory alcohol content statement.

DECLARATION OF SULFITES

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

Yes, for wine containing 10 or more parts per million sulfur dioxide

May appear on any label


Description

For any wine containing 10 or more parts per million (ppm) of sulfites measured as total sulfur dioxide, the label must include a sulfite declaration such as "Contains sulfites" or "Contains a sulfiting agent".  The statement may instead individually identify the sulfiting agent.

See Declaration of Sulfites for complete requirements. 

TIPS 

  • Wines containing less than 10 ppm of sulfur dioxide are not required to have the statement, but an analysis is required by a TTB laboratory (for any wine other than agricultural wine) to confirm this level. You must submit the analysis with your COLA application.

  • The following statements may be used in lieu of the sulfite declaration for products that contain 10 ppm or more sulfur dioxide if no sulfites were added in the production process: 

    • "Contains naturally occurring sulfites"

    • "No sulfites added; contains only naturally occurring sulfites"

    • "May contain naturally occurring sulfites"

HEALTH WARNING STATEMENT

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

Yes

May appear on any label


Description

By law, this exact statement is required to appear on all alcohol beverages containing 0.5% or more alcohol by volume.

See Health Warning Statement for complete requirements. 

TIPS 

  • Ensure all words are spelled correctly.

  • Ensure the punctuation matches the example.

  • Ensure capitalization and bold type words match the example.

  • Statement must be separate and apart from surrounding text.

  • Warnings required by other countries about the health effects of alcohol consumption (statements or pictorial references) may not appear on the label.

GRAPHICS/PICTORIAL IMAGES

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

No

May appear on any label


Description

Images appearing on wine labels are also subject to TTB labeling regulations. Most notably, images may not create a misleading impression. 
See 27 CFR 4.39 for more information.

Tips

  • Non-mandatory information, including graphics and images, may be deleted or repositioned without applying for a new COLA.  See Allowable Revisions for complete requirements.

ADDITIONAL (OPTIONAL) INFORMATION

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

No

May appear on any label


Description

Labels frequently contain additional (optional) information that describes the wine or provides information relevant to the wine.  In general, additional information should be truthful, accurate, and specific, and it may not be misleading.  When appropriate, information included on the label about the wine should be supported by records about the wine-making process.

See 27 CFR 4.38(f) for more information.

Tips

  • Mandatory label information may be repeated in the additional information, but may not solely appear there.

  • Additional (optional) information may be deleted without applying for a new COLA.  Adding or changing additional information does require that a new COLA be obtained. See Allowable Revisions for complete requirements.

WEBSITE ADDRESS and OTHER DIGITAL CONTENT LINKS

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

No

May appear on any label


Description

These are common elements found on labels.  The pages that web addresses and other digital content link to are subject to TTB's advertising regulations.
See Alcohol Beverage Advertising for more information.

Tips

  • Digital content links can be added, deleted, or changed on product labels without applying for a new COLA. See Allowable Revisions for complete requirements.

  • Any information retrieved from the digital content links must be in compliance with all applicable advertising regulations.

UPC and BOTTLE RETURN INFORMATION

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

No

May appear on any label


Description

These common label elements are not regulated by TTB.

Tips

  • They can be added, deleted, or changed on product labels without applying for a new COLA. See Allowable Revisions for complete requirements.

  • If white space appears on COLA label, you may want to note in the "Notes to Specialist" field of the COLA application what will appear there (such as a UPC).

NAME AND ADDRESS

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

Yes

May appear on any label


Description

The name and address (city and state) of the bottler or importer must appear on the label.

See Name and Address for complete requirements.

TIPS 

  • An authorized trade name/DBA may be used in place of the official operating name, as long as it is listed  on the basic permit or other qualifying document.

  • The name (operating name or trade name) and address (city and state) on the label must be identical to the name and address that appear on the bottler's or importer's basic permit or other qualifying document.

  • You may not add words within the name and address statement as it is required to appear, except to use additional, optional phrases authorized in the regulations.

NET CONTENTS

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

Yes

May appear on any label


Description

The net contents statement indicates the volume of wine in the container on which the label appears.

See Net Contents for complete requirements.

TIPS 

  • Ensure the format and abbreviations for net contents are acceptable (e.g., 750 mL, 1 L)

  • Ensure the net contents are an approved standard of fill.

  • Net contents can be blown into the bottle.

  • The net contents indicated on a label may be changed without applying for a new COLA.  See Allowable Revisions for complete requirements.

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