Of the over 10,000 known grape varieties (varietals), more than 1,000 varieties have been used to produce wine commercially. The grape variety or varieties used in the making of a wine greatly influences the characteristics of the wine.
Wine grapes are grown in every state in the United States and wine is produced in every state. The grape varieties that can be successfully grown in a specific area are based on the climate, soil and other conditions (terrior) of the area. Some varieties, for example, have been bred to withstand the harsh winters in colder climates where the varieties suited for warmer climates could not survive.
Using a grape variety name on an American wine label is not mandatory, but many wineries and bottlers choose to show this information. Only grape variety names approved by the TTB may be used on the label. If the label identifies a specific grape varietal, such as Chardonnay, then the label must also identify the appellation (region), such as the Livermore Valley AVA, California, where the grapes were grown.
If the name of a single grape variety is used on the label as the type designation, then that grape variety must account for at least 75 percent of the wine content and the entire 75 percent of the named grape variety must be grown in the labeled appellation of origin (with some exceptions).
Two or more grape varietal names can be used on the label if all of the grape varietals used appear along with their relative percentage. If the wine is labeled with a multistate or multicounty appellation of origin, the percentage of wine derived from each variety from each county or state must be shown on the label.
Imported wines are subject to the labeling rules of the country of origin.
Wine and Wineries has a page for each of the grape varietals approved for use on wine labels in the United States. Use the varietal navigation toolbar at the top of this page to select a varietal and visit the corresponding page.
We will add information on the varietals used in other countries based on demand. Please contact the webmaster to suggest varietals and countries you would like to see added.