Wine names - Printable Version

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- gilbertlau - 04-24-2012 07:37 AM

I am wondering if there is a standard naming system for wines? The names shows on different websites/stores look different and thus always make me confused...

Some shops includes AOC or VDP in the names, some do not. When mentioning about the winery, some include the word "Chateau", some do not...even in a same store, they do not seem to have a standard to name a wine...for example there are 2 wines and are both AOC classification, they may have "AOC" in the name of one of the wines, and the other wine does not have "AOC" in its name.

The question is that there are so many info on the label, so when you see a wine label, how do you name it? Do you include all info in the name? e.g. Name of winery, region, classification, vintage?

- Innkeeper - 04-24-2012 05:28 PM

Hi Gilbertlau, and welcome to the Wine Board. You have asked enough questions in your post to fill many books with the answers. Every country has different traditions and regulations which makes standard wine labels almost impossible. Even in the U.S. where things are fairly standard, there is still plenty of confusion. For example the word "Reserve" on a label means absolutely nothing legally, but only has meaning for the producer.

Since you seem to have been visiting wine stores and not just perusing the isles in a supermarket, you are in a good place. Ask questions. The people in a wine store are there to sell wine, and by answering your questions, they hope to do so.

- TheEngineer - 04-25-2012 05:13 PM

Hi Gilbertlau, Innkeeper is right, it is a complicated question that could fill volumes. Asking as the wine store is the absolute right answer and there are very little rules and so many ways to teat the topic.

It might help to know which area you are looking for wine first. You mention VDP, which is the German wine standard. This is a GREAT place to start because it is rather technical and therefore has some basis fro definitions and definitives...having said that, it is still not perfect and otehr regions won't have the same level of definition potentially.

You mention also AOC, and that is much broader, many countries and regions will administer their own AOC and each will be different. So the thing to do is to read up on them prior to going to a wine store. Say you want to pick up a French Burgundy. You can read up on that and see the difference between Bougogne, Village, Premier Cru and Grand Cru, etc, etc...

Each area will have its own classification rules so it pays to know about them.

- Jackie - 04-26-2012 05:39 PM

Different countries have different wine labeling practices. Labels can be based on the grape varietal that the wine is made from (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon), the area where the wine was made (Bordeaux, Alsace, Napa), the name of the winery or the ranking of the winery that made the wine (Premier Crus, etc.), the classification of the wine based on various criterion (VDPV, Spatlese), or combinations of the above. It can be very complicated. Wineshops are usually very helpful. There are also books on the subject...

And has online here an entire WineWiki, where you can look up any wine term. If you run across one that we don't already have a definition for --- you can add to the Wiki.

See the link to WineWiki at the top of the page or go to Just ignore all the text and just click on any of the "A-B-C- letters".