What to Look for on a Wine Label

What should you look for on a wine label?

We’ve all experienced the grocery store conundrum that is standing in the wine aisle, randomly grabbing at bottles and spinning them around in our hands. Sure, the bottle looks pretty, but will I actually like what I taste inside? 

To get down to the bottom of what matters most, we asked our Bright Cellars’ community “which part of the wine label is most important to you?”

Before we dive into the results, we’re going to take you through a wine label crash course. 

Wine Label Basics

The varietal is the kind of grape used in the wine – Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon. 

A wine’s appellation is the region where the wine is grown. This greatly affects the quality, taste, and experience of the wine. You may have heard people refer to wine regions as ‘terroir’ – a concept that refers to environmental factors where the grapes are grown. Terroir generally encompasses four elements – climate, soil, terrain, and tradition. All greatly affect the flavors and aromas you taste when you sip a glass of wine. 

The vintage of a wine is the year the grapes were harvested. A non-vintage wine is a combination of grapes from a variety of years.

Lastly, the ABV is the alcohol content of the wine. Wines can range anywhere from 5%-23% ABV.

Now for the good stuff – the results.


  • 68.1% of respondents said they look at the varietal. 
  • 13.9% of respondents reported they first look at the appellation. 
  • 10.4% of respondents admitted they care about the label artwork.
  • 4.2% of respondents said they look at the vintage. 
  • 3.5% of respondents said they care about the ABV.

At the end of the day, varietal wins by a landslide. We’re not surprised – when selecting a bottle of wine, the kind of wine is a high deciding factor. 

We also asked our Bright Cellars Instagram community, and the general consensus was in line. We also had some insightful answers:

  • I know I’ll like the wine if the art matches my style!
  • The label tbh 


For those of you who love a well designed label – we’re right there with you. However, I think we can all agree that taking home a bottle solely based on looks can land you in some sticky situations. In addition to admiring the artwork, we hope this post has helped you bulk up your wine label skills to balance what’s on the outside with what’s on the inside. 

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Bright Cellars

Our staff is full of passionate wine lovers. With our amazing sommeliers at the helm, we’ve been schooled on all things wine. We came together to write this article, in hopes of spreading a little wine-ducation with you.

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