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Found in Translation: The Australian Wine Label

We all know the basics when it comes to reading Australian wine labels. What kind of wine it is, where it’s from, which winery made it but you’d be surprised at just how specific the wine label has to be. Ever wondered why the bottle of wine at your cousin's wedding doesn’t say where it’s from aside from the ‘Wine of South Australia’?

We’ve translated it for you and here’s what you need to know.

Producer: The name of the Vineyard/ Estate.

Wine Name/ Range: Many wineries use multiple brands to form their range. Different brands usually denote a higher or lower quality within the winemaker's range. For example, Castelli has their ‘Il Liris’ range as the top shelf offering followed by their ‘Estate’ range.

Vintage: The year the grapes were harvested for fermentation. Not to be confused with the year the wine is bottled.

Grape variety/ wine style: Grape type used to make the wine. Can be a single grape (Shiraz) or a blend (Cabernet Merlot).

Alcohol Content: The percentage of alcohol within the wine.

Net bottle content/ volume: the volume of liquid stored in the bottle, usually 750ml.

Standard drinks: How many standard drinks the entire contents of the bottle equals.

Allergy information: Any allergens that may be present in the bottle i.e. Sulphates, fish and milk products. Usually, these ingredients are residue from the wine fining process or they are preservatives.

Region (GI): Where the fruit is sourced and crafted into wine.

Amelia Park 2016 Trellis Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
Amelia Park 2016 Trellis Sauvignon Blanc Semillon

The GI or ‘Geographical Indications’ system is the Australian classification system used to ensure quality and consistency from wine producers who advertise their wine as being from a specific wine producing region. i.e. A set of laws put in place to ensure Barossa Shiraz is at a certain standard and that other producers outside of Barossa cannot sell under the ‘Barossa’ banner.

When using the GI classification system, the fruit must be a minimum of 85% sourced from the region otherwise it can not be labelled as coming from a specific region.

South Eastern Australia: The largest GI. Encompasses the majority of Australia’s wine producing states. This includes: New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

State: For any wines produced in a state or territory. Usually only used when fruit is sourced from across the state.

Zone: Wines made in areas which encompass more than one wine region within a state.

Region: An area within a zone where the wine is grown and made. i.e. Eden Valley is a sub-region within the Barossa Zone.

Sub-region: A specialised area within a region. This designation differentiates a sub-region is significantly to the rest of the growing region.

Name/ address of producer: The declaration of where the wine was made including Estate name and street address of the property.

So, the next time you’re looking to buy wine, make sure you’re aware of what your getting and where it’s from. Understanding the label might just help you get the wine you really want.