Wine Academy

World Wine Regions

North America

The United States

 

 

Prohibition of alcoholic beverages was repealed in the United States in 1933, but the effects are still felt—in federal wine labeling laws, in the marketplace, in the convoluted system of state and local regulations. We will start with wine labeling regulations.

 

  • If only wine were labeled according to the rules of the Food and Drug Administration
  • The FDA is a part of the Department of Health and Human Services
  • The FDA’s purpose is to protect the public from unhealthy or adulterated foods
  • Wine labels would have content information like this useful food label

 

(Nutrition Facts Label)

 

Notice how we have highlighted the enormous amount of sugar in this product, which happens to be grape juice (but not the type of grape juice that makes good quality wine). You might want to enjoy this hyper-sweet product in moderation, but if you want to chug down the whole bottle, at least you know what you are putting into your body. If this were wine, the label would tell you nothing about the sugar level.

 

  • Wine labeling is regulated by the Department of the Treasury, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau
  • The all-powerful TTB
  • A good understanding of the limitations of this system will come in handy next time you visit the wine store

 

The TTB runs the American Appellation (Wine Place Name) System. The design and content of every label that goes on American wine must be submitted to the TTB for approved.

 

Caption: “This label gives just basic wine information in a visually attractive format, but all the same it had to be approved by the TTB.”

 

Caption: “Despite the genuine artistic value of this label, the TTB banned it. We cannot quite figure why.”

 

Each American state automatically qualifies as an appellation that may be indicated on a wine label. Here are three examples.

 

Caption: “California is a big place, and the label doesn’t get any more specific. These grapes could be from anywhere in California.”