Common differences between American and European wine labels


There are a few main differences between American wine labels and European labels. Some information on a wine label is there because it’s required by law, and some information is there because it’s traditional to include it.

American Wines Are Labeled by Varietal Grape

American labels include the type of grape used to make the wine. The variety of grape can only be listed on the label if the wine contains at least 75% of that variety. European labels don’t usually mention the type of grape used to make the wine.

European Wines Are Labeled by Growing Region

European labels include the location where the wine grapes were grown. Climate and soil composition can affect the growth of grapes. This gives wines a variety of subtle flavor differences. The taste of a wine depends on where the vineyard is located. American wine bottles don’t always mention the region where the grapes were grown.

Some Trademarked Names Are on European Labels Only

Certain types of wine have their names trademarked in Europe. Varieties of wine such as Bordeaux, Champagne or Burgundy are named after the regions they were grown in. A wine not grown in these areas can’t have the name on its label. However, American laws allow these names to be used with a qualifier. An American wine labeler can use the names “California Champagne” or “American Bordeaux” for example.

American Labels Mention Sulfite Content

A requirement of American labels is to note that the wines contain sulfites. All grapes have sulfites in them, but most wines have sulfites added as preservatives as well. European wine bottles are not required to mention sulfite content.

Government Health Warnings on Labels

In the United States, all wine bottles are required to state the Surgeon General’s warning about alcohol consumption while pregnant or driving. European wines have no similar requirement.

Label Art Differences Between Countries

Most labels on European wine have a minimalist design. The information on the bottle’s label is more important than a flashy appearance. American labels, however, are more likely to be decorative. There is a great variety of designs on American wine bottles. Some are basic, but many are colorful and creative.


For your Bottle labeling needs use a Bottle-Matic for single labels and a Bottle-Matic II for your front and back labels.