How to Read a Wine Label

While choosing the perfect wine to complement your meal is difficult enough, navigating through the language of a wine label can add a whole new challenge to the endeavor. Thankfully, as Finger Lakes wines are increasingly being held to the same standards as some of the world’s best varietals, many local producers have gone to lengths to create informative (and eye-catching) labels. From vintage year and grape varietal to flavor profile and dryness level, a good wine label will tell you exactly what to expect from the juice in the bottle. Here’s a sample Finger Lakes wine label, along with what to look for so you can make an informed decision when next perusing your local wine shop’s selection.

How to Read a Wine Label

DID YOU KNOW? The Finger Lakes was established as an American Viticulture Area (AVA) on October 1, 1982. An AVA is the U.S. federal government’s designation for a geographic area where wine grapes are grown and where the growing conditions—such as soil and climate—are easily distinguishable from other areas. The boundaries of an AVA are defined by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, through the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

See more from the 2014 Wine issue.

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