Wine labels: More than just a name

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Wine labels can be a great way to learn more about the wine you're drinking. They can tell you the grape variety, the region where the wine was produced, and the vintage. But did you know that wine labels used to be very different?

In the past, wines were often labelled after their place of origin. This was because winemakers believed that the climate and soil of a particular region played a role in the taste of the wine. For example, a bottle of wine labelled “Champagne” was guaranteed to be made from grapes in the Champagne region of France.

However, this practice began to change in the New World, where winemakers found that they could produce wines with similar characteristics to those from the Old World, even though the climates were different. This was thanks to advances in winemaking technology and the use of new grape varieties. As a result, New World wines began to be labelled by grape variety instead. For example, a bottle of wine labelled “Chardonnay” could come from anywhere in the world, as long as it was made from Chardonnay grapes.

Of course, terroir is still important in winemaking. Terroir refers to the combination of factors that affect the growth of grapes, including climate, soil, and location of the vineyard. Terroir is important for producing wines with unique and distinctive flavours.

So next time you come across a wine bottle, take a close look at the label. The grape variety is a good place to start, but don’t forget about terroir! Here are a few tips for reading wine labels:

- Look for the grape variety. This is the most important piece of information on the label, as it will tell you what the wine is made from.
- Pay attention to the region. The region where the wine was produced can also give you clues about its flavor profile. For example, wines from warmer regions are typically more full-bodied and fruity, while wines from cooler regions are typically more light-bodied and acidic.
- Check the vintage. The vintage is the year in which the grapes were harvested. It can be important to consider the vintage, as different weather conditions can produce different results in the vineyard.
- Read the producer information. The producer information can tell you more about the winery and its winemaking philosophy.

Once you have a basic understanding of wine labels, you can start to explore different wines and find ones that you enjoy. Remember, the best way to learn about wine is to experiment and taste different wines from different regions.

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