Judging a Wine by its Label

July 06, 2023

As the saying goes, you should never judge a book by its cover, but wine is different. Whether adorned with traditional script writing and estate crests or splashed with bold colors and modern design, wine labels are created to tell potential customers the back story of that bottle. Every wine label has five basic components, which can help wine lovers learn more about that wine before ever opening the bottle. Let’s explore each component of a wine label and what you can learn about that wine with some light label reading.

Producer: The producer is simply who made the wine. In the case of Missouri wine, the winery’s name is often prominently displayed on the bottle. If the wine’s name takes center stage in the label design, search the smaller print for the producer.

Region: Each bottle of wine notes the region the grapes were produced. This region can be pretty general, such as “Missouri” or “American,” or the label may list a specific appellation or a legally-labeled specific region known for growing high-quality grapes. In the U.S., appellation regions are called American Viticultural Areas (AVA). Missouri is blessed with five AVAs — Augusta, Hermann, Ozark Mountain, Ozark Highlands and Loess Hills District.

Vintage: The vintage tells label readers the year the grapes were harvested. Since the grape harvest is the first step in the wine-making process, the vintage may differ from the year the wine is bottled and released. If no vintage is listed, that wine is either a multi-vintage or non-vintage. 

ABV: ABV stands for alcohol by volume, and it must be printed on every wine label. Of course, the alcohol content can give you some clues about how slowly you should sip and savor your Missouri wine, but it can also provide context into the wine’s characteristics. Generally speaking, the higher the ABV, the bigger and richer the wine will taste.

Varietal: The varietal, or type of grape, which the wine is made of is typically printed on the label. Missouri is home to several unique varietals with their own trademark tastes and characteristics. If a grape varietal isn’t printed prominently on the label, that wine is likely a blend of several types of grapes.

While these five basic label components are undoubtedly helpful, they aren’t the only clues you will find on each wine label. Look at the design, colors and font colors to get a “feel” for the wine and/or winery. Read the back label for that bottle’s backstory, more information about the winery, and even pairing and tasting notes. Other helpful notations can also provide more context on that bottle of wine. One often seen in Missouri is “estate bottled,” which means the grapes were grown, and the wine was produced, aged and bottled by that winery.

Take the time to read wine labels and tell us what you learned by tagging us on social media at #MOwine. Then, put your new skills to use with the upcoming People’s Choice portion of the wine label contest.

Wine label description

Cool off with Concord

July 03, 2023

With the hot summer weather rolling in, there is ‘MO’ better way to cool off than with a glass of sweet Concord. This fine wine accounts for 6.6% of all grapes grown in Missouri, with 111.9 acres dedicated to just growing it.

Concord, pronounced kahn-kord, is a deep, dark plum colored wine that smells like a jar of concord grape jelly. Its candy-like sweetness pairs well with cheddar cheese, BBQ, pork chops, orange chicken, spicy seafood, nutmeg, vanilla, poached figs, grape pie and chocolate.

Although this wine is sweet, it has quite a rich origin story. It was cultivated by Ephraim Wales Bull in 1849. Bull desired to create a hardy grape that could withstand the harsh northeastern climate of the United States. He planted seeds from the native species growing on his farm and evaluated 22,000 seedlings before he settled on what he considered the perfect grape.

Bull named the variety after the town where he plated the grape, the village of Concord, Massachusetts. Since he saw it could withstand the demanding weather of the northeast, he knew it would thrive in the Midwest. Concord vines tolerate our cold winters and hot summers well.

Grab a bottle of Concord next time you’re out or stop by a local winery. You won’t regret cooling off this summer with a glass of Concord!

Hollywood 1930's Cocktail Party Murder Mystery

Location : Fence Stile Vineyards, Winery & Distillery
Phone : 816-500-6465
Email : events@fencestile.com
Join us for a Hollywood 1930s cocktail party murder mystery - Best Laid Plans! Enjoy Hors d'oeuvres, small bites, and dessert all evening while you solve "an old Hollywood Murder Mystery". Dress up to heighten the experience or even choose to be a suspect. Cocktails at 5 PM Mystery at 6 PM Reveal & Awards at 8 PM $65/person. Wine, cocktails, rum drinks, beer, and soft drinks available for purchase.
Event Cost : $65

Vine to Wine Tasting Experience

Location : Cave Vineyard
Phone : 314-616-1098
Email : loliver@cavevineyard.com
Our tasting experience is a great way learn more about wine in a relaxed environment! We will walk guests through growing Missouri grapes, winemaking, and tasting wine. This experience also includes cheese & chocolate samples to help understand how food and wine compliment each other.
Event Cost : $40 per guest
Learn more about this event here

Hollywood 1930's Cocktail Party Murder Mystery

Location : Fence Stile Vineyards, Winery & Distillery
Phone : 816-500-6465
Email : events@fencestile.com
Join us for a Hollywood 1930s cocktail party murder mystery - Best Laid Plans! Enjoy Hors d'oeuvres, small bites, and dessert all evening while you solve "an old Hollywood Murder Mystery". Dress up to heighten the experience or even choose to be a suspect. Cocktails at 5 PM Mystery at 6 PM Reveal & Awards at 8 PM $65/person. Wine, cocktails, rum drinks, beer, and soft drinks available for purchase.
Event Cost : $65

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