Ingredient Statements Begin to Appear on Wine Labels

Wine labels are not required by the U.S. government’s Tobacco and Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to list calorie counts, nutrition facts, or ingredients similar to those on FDA-regulated food and non-alcoholic beverage products. The information is currently voluntary for TTB-regulated wine (and other alcoholic beverages).

Some of the early adopters of voluntary ingredients disclosure have included Ridge Vineyards and Bonny Doon, wineries that realize the need for greater transparency. While the consumer is eager for the information, it’s unlikely the TTB will initiate mandatory labeling on wine any time soon. The FDA doesn’t require pre-market approval for food labels, but the TTB does for alcoholic beverage labels, but lacks the resources required to review nutrition facts for each label.

Anderson Valley-based Foursight Wines recently became the first U.S. winery to provide ingredients. Starting with the 2012 vintage, all the Foursight wines are labeled with “grapes, sulfur dioxide,” or “grapes, tartaric acid, sulfur dioxide,” and “the wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.” This last statement is permitted by the TTB because the wines are fermented with wild yeast and malolactic cultures, and are not fined or filtered at the end of production with the use of animal-derived products.

Foursight wines produced its first ingredients-labeled wine in 2010—an estate semillon—and there was such a positive response that the winery decided to expand the effort to its entire portfolio. Copies of the labels can be found at Foursight Wines.

Foursight specializes in premium pinot noir, semillon, and sauvignon blanc from the estate Charles Vineyard in Anderson Valley. The wines are consistently of the highest quality, and are sold primarily through a mailing list, the winery’s website, and directly to the consumer at the winery’s tasting room on Highway 128 in Boonville. The tasting room is open Friday through Monday except January and holidays.


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