ost wine lovers are not aware that their favourite bottle of wine might not be made from 100% of grapes of that variety or blend!

The secret in action

Australian wine labelling laws allow winemakers to label wine as a single varietal as long as it contains more than 85% of that grape variety. So this allows winemakers to add other varieties up to 14.9% and still call it a single variety!

Extract from Wine Australia Compliance Guide, June 2016

This is a truly great rule because it helps craft wines of greater quality and enjoyability. The rule helps Australian winemakers

  • craft consistent wines despite variations in grapes, from vintage to vintage; and
  • craft improved wines – it’s not uncommon for wine being made from a single grape variety to be significantly improved by the blending of relatively small amounts of other varieties.


  Vintage Variety GI
Single 85% 85% 85%
Multiple 100% 85% 95%

Each variety named in the description and presentation must be present in greater proportion in the composition of the wine than any variety that is not named. Extract from Wine Australia Compliance Guide, June 2016

Around the world some of the best wines are made from blends – it is certainly an ancient and much used practice. And here in Australia, it is the same, with many of our brilliant wines being the product of clever crafting and blending. It’s just that we don’t always know from the bottle label exactly what’s inside the bottle!

So, the secret is in reality common practice, yet is not well known outside wine maker circles. Isn’t that simply part of the mystique and beauty of wine?

Our 15% rule blendings

Some of Simall Wines’ ‘15% rule’ blendings are to add

  • 10% Sauvignon Blanc to Chardonnay and
  • 15% Cabernet Sauvignon to Shiraz.

“It’s a key tool in my winemaking which helps me craft the best wine I can for our wine lovers’” says Simon Hall, Winemaker for Simall Wines.

Test yourself

Next time you crack a bottle, it may be worth attempting to sense (via the colour, aroma, palate and finish) whether there is another grape variety present that is not named on the label.

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