Bottle talk: Why wine import stickers cover back labels

IMG_0032 (32)-001Why does the import sticker always cover the back label?

This is a common pet peeve of imported wine buyers in China. They pick up a bottle, check the back and see an import sticker that covers the label and makes it impossible to read more about the wine. Countless times I have seen someone squinting in an attempt to decipher the faintly visible tasting notes under that sticker or get frustrated while trying to (unsuccessfully) peel it.

And while I’ve heard people say Customs regulations dictate sticker placement, such is not the case, says Frank Yglesias of California Grapes. At his shop, no stickers cover labels.

Yglesias says the regulations dictate font sizes on a sticker but there is leeway for its shape and placement. He chooses to make and stick them so the label can be read and thus give customers more information.

I’ll dig a bit more into this issue and post some examples of sticker covering labels. More soon…

Update: When I put this post up, I had already talked to another distributor who said he knew of no rule that the sticker must go over the label. Since then, I talked to yet another distributor: he said different Customs bureaus have different rules, so it is possible that some jurisdictions required putting the sticker over the label.

Note: This is cross-posted from sibling blog, Grape Wall of China.