Book Review: The Inside Story of a Wine Label; by Ann Reynolds

To view a complete list of all the books I have reviewed on The Academic Wino, visit my Wine Book Library page and browse!  To purchase any of the books I’ve reviewed, check out my storefront!  Cheers!

If you’ve been following my blog, Facebook, or Twitter pages recently, you are well aware of the fact that life is incredibly busy for me right now!  Between doing research and collaborating on a book to working a full time job, planning and creating a mostly do-it-yourself wedding, honeymoon, and possible move across the country, there leaves little time to do much else!  As a side note, if you’re interested in contributing as a writer during this busy time, please check out my open call for writers here and get in touch!

In addition to all of the aforementioned things, I have a huge stack of books that I have slated for review The-Inside-Story-of-a-Wine-Label-The-Academic-Winoon The Academic Wino.  With so very little time on my hands, it’s been very difficult to be able to set aside enough time to really focus on and read an entire book!  Cue today’s book of focus: my short savior in these busy times!
Unable to read a lengthy book at the moment (and be able to absorb it all), a short, sweet, and to-the-point book was ideal.  Lo and behold!  A short and to-the-point book was on my list!

The Inside Story of a Wine Label by Ann Reynolds, at less than 100 pages (76 to be precise), does a fantastic job of dissecting all the requirements and idiosyncracies of a US wine label.  She breaks it down point by point, focusing on all the required sections of the label to the not-required-but-often-found tidbits on wine labels from the United States.

If you are in the wine industry and are particularly interested in the legal hullaballoo that is required on the US wine label, this is a great book to have on your shelf as a solid reference.  Even if you’re not working

The Inside Story of a Wine Label - Kindle Version   Photo copyright R. Yeamans 2014.

The Inside Story of a Wine Label – Kindle Version
Photo copyright R. Yeamans 2014.

in the wine industry, this is a nice book to have to help you decipher what can sometimes be confusing or otherwise unclear in terms of what exactly is in that bottle of wine you’re about to pick up as well as all the production.

One thing I really enjoyed about The Inside Story of a Wine Label were the personal touches that author Ann Reyolds added in to every chapter.  Specifically, at the end of every section, Reynolds wrote about her “favorite story” related to whatever section of the US wine label that she was explaining.  You think what’s written on a bottle is just haphazardly slapped on there?  Think again!  The TTB (the gods of alcohol law in the United States) is ridiculously particular about each and every little detail about what’s on the label.  Here is an example of a favorite story from Reynolds when discussing the government warning portion of the wine label:

“I have had a few experiences in the process of a label approval where the specialist viewing the label objected to the words ‘government warning’ not going bold enough in their eyes or on enough of a contrasting background. In all these situations the label they were viewing was an electronic version which did not translate for viewing electronically exactly like the printed version. In each case I did some special editing myself to the electronic file and re-sent it to the TTB. Sure enough they came back and approved right away. I’ve also seen examples of typos and other label items being ‘too close’ to it so the label came back rejected until we fixed it.”

If you’re working in the wine industry (particularly with label design), are a wine enthusiast, or are a wine novice interested in learning more about how to understand a wine label in the United States, The Inside Story of a Wine Label is a great little book to pick up and breeze through.  Though alcohol laws are notorious for changing, for the time being, it is a great reference and being so short, is certainly worth the purchase even if you have to replace it with a new edition one day down the road.

To purchase The Inside Story of a Wine Label by Ann Reynolds, hop on over to Amazon by clicking here and pick up your copy today.

“Ann Reynolds has over 20 years in the Napa wine industry. Her background runs the gamut from wine

Ann Reynolds (image from

Ann Reynolds (image from

retail through winemaking. Since 1989 she has poured wine in tasting rooms, run a winery laboratory, worked in winery cellars, and assembled entire winery compliance systems at several Napa wineries. Beginning in 2006 she began offering courses in winery compliance.”  She periodically blogs at Wine Compliance Alliance.