The following information should be on every wine label, for wine made in the U.S.:
• Winery name
• Wine varietal, or brand name: Wineries are only allowed to use the name of the varietal – chardonnay, pinot noir, syrah , if 75% or more of the wine is from that variety of grape. Blending of grapes is still done. For example, a cabernet sauvignon may have 75% or more of cabernet sauvignon, but also contain some merlot, cabernet franc, malbec or petit verdot. (All grapes that originate in the Bordeaux region of France.) But the total contribution of the non-cabernet sauvignon grapes cannot exceed 25% of the wine. Many wineries have started making wines from blends of grapes varietals; there are no restrictions on the names for these blends.
• Alcohol content: percentage of alcohol by volume in the wine.
• Growing region: sometimes called appellation or AVA (American Viticultural Area). This lets you know where the grapes were grown. At least 85% of the grapes have to come from a specific region for that region to be listed on the label. This could be as large an area as California, or perhaps a county, or as small as a specific growing region in the Napa Valley, such as the Howell Mountain AVA. AVAs can exist within other AVAs, as the Howell Mountain AVA exists within the Napa Valley AVA.
• Year: This is the year the grapes were picked, not the year the wine was released for sale.
• Other information could include "Estate Bottled", meaning that all the grapes in that bottle were grown in vineyards owned by the winery. “Reserve” or “Select” means that this is a special wine from the winery. (Sometimes this is just marketing speak for a higher price point, sometimes it actually means something.) If all the grapes come from a single vineyard, the name of that vineyard could also be listed.