I’ve been seeing “Vinted and Bottled” on many more wine bottle labels these days. The 2012 and 2013 grape harvest in California was spectacular by all accounts. The harvest was a bonanza in both quantity and quality. Perhaps excess grape juice accounts for the increase in “Vinted and Bottled” sightings. So what does “Vinted and Bottled” mean on a wine bottled? I have updated this old article on how to read a wine label. I think it is more relevant in today’s wine market.
Vinted and Bottled By and other wine label terms
A true bargain wine hunter will always deconstruct a wine label. It helps you to decide whether a bottle of wine on a sale shelf is worthy of a purchase. The more you know about a wine, the better chance you have of getting your money’s worth and much more.
The very first thing I want to know is who made the wine. For domestic wine, turn to the back label on the bottle. If it says “Produced and Bottle by” it means that by law 75% or more of the wine in that bottle must be made by the producer listed. If the wine bottle says “Made and Bottled” it means at least 10% of the wine is made by the winery or company listed. If the bottle indicates “Vinted and Bottled” it means the winery on the label may have had little to do with the making of this wine.
Some big name wineries have “Vinted and Bottled” on some of their entry-level wines. For example, I recently grabbed a Buena Vista Carneros Merlot off the shelf and was surprised to see that this famous and historic winery had “Vinted and Bottled” this wine. No wonder it was selling for less than $10 a bottle. Who knows who really made this wine? There are three more important things on this label to decipher, the vintage date of 2009 and the terms “Carneros”and “Merlot.” The vintage tells us that 95% of the wine in the bottle had to be harvested in 2009. Because Carneros is on the label, 85% of the wine must come from the Carneros AVA. Because Merlot is on the label, the wine must be produced from 75% of Merlot grapes.
Sometimes a store like Costco or Trader Joe’s will commission a winery to produce a wine for its store label. Costco uses the label name of Kirkland Signature. If you look at the back of the label of any of these wines you will find who “Produced and Bottled” the wine for Costco. Example: the Renwood Winery in the Sierra Foothills produces The Kirkland Grandmanere Old Vine Zinfandel. Other Kirkland Signature wines are made by a negotiant. Example: The Kirkland Signature Rutherford Meritage is produced and bottled by the D.C. Flynt company.
Trader Joe’s has it own label but in addition has wines produced under a catchy label. The latest of these is St. Somewhere Syrah. A look at the back label will tell you the wine was “Produced and Bottled” by Castoro winery, a big wine producer in Paso Robles.
Two unregulated terms that are commonly used as a sales pitch are “Reserve” and “Old Vine.” There is no legal definition of the term “Reserve.” However, the term infers that the production of this wine has received special attention. There is also no legal requirement for how old a vineyard must be to be designated as old vine.