«"We quite agree, nothing can replace the winemaker's suggestions and explanations for choosing a wine. But when it is 7:20 p.m and you are in the wine section of the supermarket trying to choose a wine for dinner with your future mother in law, knowing how to read a french wine label can be useful! Here is a little reminder ... "
Strict regulations allow the consumer to recognise, by simply reading the label, the origin, type and characteristics of a wine.
On the label, the following elements are mandatory:
- The area of wine production AOC (Appellation of Controlled Origin).
- The name of the bottler, and the address of its principal operation. The indication of the country of origin is required for a product for export ("Produit de France", "Product of France" or "Produce of France").
- The indication of alcohol content.
- The indication of whether the wine was bottled by the winegrower (estate bottled, the term 'mise en bouteille au château' or domaine is what you will see in this case) or by a merchant.
- The volume of wine in the bottle.
Then there are optional terms that are allowed and very common which include:
- The exact representation or stylised building or castle, estate, trademark or logo in question.
- The name of the estate, vineyard or brand.
- The vintage.
- A number can be given to the bottle.
- The colour and type of product (eg "dry white wine").
Two legal notices are required:
- The symbol of a "pregnant woman" since late 2007, a reminder that drinking during pregnancy is not recommended.
The phrase "Contains sulfites" since 2005 because Europe requires the mention any presence of allergens in foods and some people are allergic to SO2.