Wine bottle labeling can be a perplexing issue to understand. The law is clear on what needs to be on the wine label itself, and also what can or cannot be approved for print. I have compiled what I feel are five simple, yet interesting facts concerning Texas Wine Labeling.
Fact #1: Who (what) is TABC, TTB:
- TABC (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission)
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) is the state agency that regulates all phases of the alcoholic beverage industry in Texas. The duties of the commission include regulating sales, taxation, importation, manufacturing, transporting, and advertising of alcoholic beverages.
- TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau)
TTB’s mission is to collect Federal excise taxes on alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and ammunition, and to assure compliance with Federal tobacco permitting and alcohol permitting, labeling, and marketing requirements.
Fact #2: Mandatory Label Information – For a domestic wine label to be approved, it must contain the following items:
- Brand Label: Brand name, class/type, alcohol content, appellation (under certain circumstances).
- Any label: Bottler’s name and address, net contents, sulfite declaration, health warning statement.
*NOTE: As of August 9, 2013, ABV (alcohol by volume) can appear on any label. *
Fact #3: Appellation of Origin. This is mandatory if any of the following appear on the label:
- Grape variety
- Vintage date
- Semi-generic designation, if grandfathered
- Estate bottled/grown
- Must appear on the brand label
Fact #4: Processing time:
The timeline for having a wine label approved for print can vary, but the average time for approval is approximately two weeks.
Fact #5: Clearing up the confusion regarding which is called the front or back label:
There has been discussion within the industry regarding which label is called the front or back. According to TTB, legally, the back label which has the health warning, alcohol %, etc., is technically referred to as the front label. The (front to the consumer) label on the bottle is technically the back label, sometimes referred to as the fanciful label, which is usually the fun/ eye-catching label that drives us to a particular bottle on the shelf.
I hope these basic informative topics encourage a slightly better understanding of what you’re looking at next time you pick up that tasty bottle of Texas wine.