How to Decode a Wine Label to Help Make Buying Wine Easier

By Brian Lemay 15 comments

– I’m Patrick Cappiello,
from Rebelle Restaurant in New York City and
today I’m gonna show you how to decode wine labels. (upbeat music) Wine labels can often be
overwhelming for consumers, but there are a few
things that you can learn that will really help you
when you’re at a wine store or at a restaurant selecting
the perfect bottle of wine. So, in the wine world, there is old world and new world wines. We have the old world,
which is the wine regions in Europe that have been making wines for many, many, many, many, many decades, where in the new world,
in areas like California, Australia, Chile,
there’s a little bit more freedom to produce and
plant great varietals that work best for that particular area or for that producer. So, for an old world label,
you look for four things. The region, the appellation,
the producer and the vintage. Adversely, in the new
world, you’re gonna have four things on the label. You’re gonna have the vintage,
the name of the producer, the region and the grape varietal. In the old world, winemakers
are required to use the grapes that are
indigenous to that area, so, for example, this is
a wine that comes from the Bordeaux region in France. We know that because it
says, “Bordeaux”, here. And then, within the region of Bordeaux, this comes from an area called Fronsac. It’s a pretty traditional area for wines based on merlot and usually blended with a little cabernet sauvignon. You’d never know that
by looking at the label, of course, ’cause they don’t say the name of the grape varietal on it. So, the trick for old world wines is just beginning to understand the regions that you’re interested in and then the grape varietals that are from that area. New world wines will usually have the name of the grape varietal on it, because you can’t assume that just ’cause a wine comes from Sonoma Coast, that
it’s gonna be pinot noir. Areas like Sonoma Coast, Santa Barbara tend to excel at pinot
noir where areas like Napa tend to excel at things
like cabernet sauvignon. The one thing you’ll see in common on both of these bottles of wine is that they both have a year. In this case, this is 2004, so, all the grapes that are in this bottle were grapes that were
grown in the year 2004. The vintage is important
because some years have better weather than
others, so in the end, the more wines that you’re drinking, and the more labels that you’re looking at and decoding, the easier it’ll be for you to find wines that you like
when you’re at a wine store. From, I’m Patrick Cappiello.


Cheng Zhong

Jul 7, 2016, 5:38 pm Reply

Thank you very much: He is really a personal who could enjoy by professional and common population, looking for more in-depth F&B pairing videos

Arthur Wong

Jul 7, 2016, 2:43 am Reply

Thank you!

John Osgood

Aug 8, 2016, 1:28 am Reply

Bordeaux baby!

Gard Linde

Sep 9, 2016, 5:38 pm Reply

in a year this channel has 1 mill subi


Oct 10, 2016, 9:34 am Reply

Why not talk about the shape of the bottle when you talk about "Old world wine"?

Jeremy Kidd

Nov 11, 2016, 1:39 pm Reply

This guy kicks ass. Thanks, Patrick!

Emily Weissang

Nov 11, 2016, 2:06 am Reply

Not gonna lie, I'm slightly in love with Patrick. He's delightfully geeky about wine, and I dig that. I get it. Wine is so exciting.


Mar 3, 2017, 7:21 pm Reply

Just putting this out there for you to critique: I like californian chardonnay, south african shiraz and french sauvignon rouge…which years and producers should i look for or is f.ex. the year so important that it might a chardonnay for me and I should rethink my choice given the vintages available?

Anna O’Neill

Apr 4, 2017, 9:27 pm Reply



Apr 4, 2017, 12:04 am Reply

"many decades" ……bit longer than that pal

David Stojadinovic

Apr 4, 2018, 12:04 pm Reply

I have spent months studying home wine making and discovered a fantastic resource called Pavas grape plan (google it if you're interested)

Nicolas E

Apr 4, 2018, 6:15 pm Reply

Thanks. I'm from a wine region in Europe but have never been a big wine drinker. Found that helpful.

Yimin Wu

Jul 7, 2018, 12:41 am Reply

Pete Gerard

Apr 4, 2019, 3:45 pm Reply

I'm sorry but I don't have the time or inclination to memorize all the Old World wine growing regions of Spain, France and Italy, etc to know what wine from what grape variety I'm buying. These wines are exported around the world so they really should put the variety on the bottle and I don't want to be guessing when buying expensive bottles. I'll be sticking to New World wines as I'm more sure to know what I am getting.

mr. JDP P

May 5, 2019, 7:09 am Reply

I still can't ever fucking know what might be good or not good when looking at a label. Granted I'm a big whiskey guy so I study more of that. But I just cant get a grasp of picking wine. I mean now I can Google so I'm not dumb, but be nice to look around my upscale liquor store and just be able to read the wines and determine what might be good or not like I do with whiskey.

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