Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny



Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Dear Dr. Vinny,

Isn't it true that in the United States wine producers are always required to list the alcohol content of their wines on the label? I had always assumed so, but I recently drank a Margerum Sauvignon Blanc Sybarite 2007 and did not see the alcohol content listed anywhere on the label, front or back.

—Gena, Mountain View, Calif.

Dear Gena,

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (or TTB) requires the percentage of alcohol by volume listed on the label for wines containing 14 percent or more alcohol. Below 14 percent, it's up to the producer if they want to list it; if not, the label needs to read "white table wine" or "red table wine." Since the same organization defines wine as having at least 7 percent alcohol, when you don't see an alcohol percentage listed, you can assume that it falls between 7 and 14 percent.

—Dr. Vinny

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers


WineRatings+ app: Download now for 365,000+ ratings.