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Not such a grand vin: The fancy but meaningless terms winemakers use on bottles to persuade you to buy

When it comes to choosing a bottle of wine, a lot of us would admit that we haven’t really got a clue.

We know not to judge a book by its cover, and yet so many people judge a wine by its label, both the design and the wording.

But it turns out the majority of the terms we see on wine bottles hold no value and are merely marketing tricks.

Wine expert and official UK Ambassador for Vivino, Adrian Smith, has decoded some of the most common terms which mislead so many.

Gold Medal Standard

If a wine is worthy of a gold medal, it’s got to be amazing, right? Wrong.

A wine manufacturer can slap “Gold Medal Standard” on a bottle without the wine having won anything.

And according to Smith, there’s no standard at all: “There’s is no official meaning or accolade given to wines calling themselves ‘Gold Medal Standard’,” he explains.

Grand Vin

Just like “Gold Medal Standard”, any old wine can be labelled “Grand Vin”, regardless of how grand (ie. great) it is or isn’t.

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The term was traditionally reserved for a winemaker’s finest, but “there are no regulations on who can use the term or what the wine is actually like,” Smith reveals.

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Winemaker’s Selection

This is another term of which we should be suspicious, according to Smith, as it has no official status.

“It could be an indication of some of the best wines from that particular winery – but it could just be a marketing term,” he says.

Reserve/Grand Reserve

Yes again, these terms have no regulated meaning. Reserva and Gran Reserva, however, do – they’re terms given to Spanish wines that have been aged for a long time in oak barrels.

With just one letter difference, make sure you pay close attention to what you’re reading.


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