Generally, Wine labels are used to a certain style of a bottle wine. Notwithstanding the design abilities of the artist in question, every label is legally required to include certain information. Understanding what that information is telling you can be the key to picking a good bottle of wine and avoiding a bad one.
The first thing you are going to see is the name of the winery. There really isn't much to it other than the creativity of the winery when it came up with a name when it first started. That being said, watch out for names that are close to something that might also be seen as a bit of a misrepresentation.
The next information to be provided should be the vintage of the wine in question. The vintage is simply a reference to the year the grapes were grown. Ah, but this doesn't mean that 100 percent of the wine in the bottle comes from grapes grown in the year indicated. A winery in an AVA region can have 5 percent filler grapes, while a lesser appellation can have up to 15 percent. That's rather sizeable and suggests that AVA region wineries produce higher quality wines.
The next indication on the label should be the type of wine. A label might read "Chardonnay" for instance. As with the vintage, this does not mean 100 percent of the wine in the bottle is the indicated type. Varietal wines must have 75 of the type indicated, but the percentage drops with other wine variations.
The label may next indicate a specific vineyard. Importantly, you want to look for the actual word "vineyard". Why? This indicates that at least 95 percent of the grapes used for the wine in the bottle came from the vineyard. Wines without vineyard on the label have no such requirement and can be severely mixed.
The final bit of information you may see on the label is "contains sulfites".
Understanding how to read wine labels is important because it allows you to grasp what you are really buying. Only then can you really choose a wine that meets your preferences.