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Unformatted text preview: UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS School of Merchandising and Hospitality Management SMHM 4300 Survey of Beverages Spring 2006 (7) CLASS NOTES: How to Read Wine Labels Before the 20th century, when bottles were not used for shipping wines, restaurants would buy wines in casks, and bottle the wine on premises. The restaurateur would print the labels, including the name of the wine, and as a guarantee to the guest, the owner/manager of the establishment would sign the label. Throughout the world, there are four main methods in naming wines. Wineries use either varietal (i.e. a grape type), place name, generic names or proprietary names. The difference between Old World (Europe) wines and New World (the rest of the world) wine, in broad terms is this: The Europeans name their wines with the place where the grapes were grown, for example Bordeaux. The rest of the world generally names their wines by the name of the predominant grape used, for example Pinot Noir. There are many refinements to this statement. In the case of the famous wine regions of Europe, it is possible to make direct connections from a place name to a grape type name. This is because the wine production laws of many nations stipulate that a specific grape must be used to make a wine if a place name appears on the label, as for example if the red wine claims to be from Burgundy it must be 100% Pinot Noir. Wine labels can be very colorful and provide necessary information to the consumer. Sometimes, wine labels may be misleading. A well-designed label should be simple, clear to read, and not contain superfluous or misleading information. In some cases, in order not to reprint new labels every year, the winery may decide to have a separate vintage label identifying the year and put this on the neck of the bottle. What you read on a USA wine label is the tip of the iceberg of a maze of regulations which involve both the federal and states government. Because the federal government collects taxes on wine at its source of production the winery must show on the label the alcohol content of the wine the taxes on each bottle are based on this factor. The higher the alcohol contents the higher the taxes. Sparkling wine taxes are nearly 3 times as high as the taxes on table/still wines. Furthermore the federal government is concerned about the health and safety of our citizens. Therefore the winery is required to state that wines contain sulfites (except in organic wines) and that consumption of wines may affect the health and safety of those consuming them. The BATF enforces the label requirements through a system of label approval process. A winery or an importer must obtain approval of the label for a wine, before the wine is sold or removed from customs, as in the case of imported wines....
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- Spring '08