Walk into a bar today and you’ll find yourself confronted by a vast array of botanical-rich gins and craft beers – a clear sign that we’re living in an age of drinking trends. But while certain tipples come and go, a good wine simply never goes out of fashion. Across the globe, the wine industry is thriving – in the UK in 2017, 1 million vines were planted and sales grew by 31% from 2015.
Of course, no matter how healthy our sector, it would be foolish not to keep up with developing trends. At the moment, the top priority for wineries should be cutting edge anti-counterfeiting security measures. Beyond that, emphasis must also be placed upon aesthetic appeal, and green credentials.
Though each of the issues described above may appear to be unrelated, there is one simple solution to all three – better labelling.
Anti-Counterfeiting Label Techniques
According to statistics from the Wine Spectator, 20% of all wine consumed around the world is produced or sold illegally. A key problem for wineries is fraudulent labelling. This is where inferior wine is sold in bottles bearing illegally sourced labels from legitimate brands. It’s thought that wine counterfeiting is costing the global industry billions; the loss of revenue associated with counterfeited wines in Italy alone is reported to be two billion euros.
Now for the good news. With print technologies developing all the time, it’s never been easier for wineries to protect their products with sophisticated anti-counterfeiting labelling techniques. UK-based label manufacturers such as Royston Labels – a company that specialises in the wine sector – are increasingly offering security products such as 2D or 3D holograms, security papers with threads or customised fibres, unique papers, watermarks, and IR (infrared) taggants. Holograms can be registered with the Industrial Hologram Manufacturers Association (IMHA) database for further security.
Customising your wine labels with these features, which are often invisible to the naked eye, will mean that your product can be easily authenticated, and will be almost impossible to mimic. In the case of IR taggants, invisible additives inserted into label materials, verification can be provided by way of an infrared reader – hold the reader up to the label and you’ll be able to authenticate the product immediately.
Enhanced security can be achieved by layering a variety of security products. A single label may contain – just as an example – customised security threads, UV print, IR taggants, and a hologram. A combination of security products will offer comprehensive security and real peace of mind.
Whether or not we’re fully conscious of it, packaging plays a huge role in the way we interact with a product. Increasingly, labelling manufacturers are exploring innovative ways of giving their clients an edge that makes consumers look twice.
At the luxury end of the spectrum, it’s all about quality. Premium labels should not only have aesthetic appeal and clear branding, they should also be durable and fit for use. One product that Royston Labels uses is a specially designed paper material resistant to water damage and warping – this makes it ideal for champagnes or white wines that will spend long periods in ice buckets.
Wineries such as Taylors (based in Australia) are keeping their consumers happy by incorporating innovative details such as temperature-sensitive inks. Their sensor labels are touch-activated and tailored to each of their wines, whether it’s a super chilled Sauvignon Blanc or a toasty Shiraz. These kinds of details not only facilitate superior drinking, they also allow the end user a greater sense of control over their consumer experience.
At the wackier end of the spectrum are companies like WineGame. Though this company is not a label manufacturer, they have developed an app that relies on wine labels. Take a photo of the wine you are drinking before hiding it from your guests, and WineGame will generate a multiple-choice quiz asking them to identify the grape, country, region, label, and vintage. It’s a fun, interesting, and modern way to learn about wine.
Another key priority for wineries is using sustainable methods and eco-friendly materials. Increasingly, labels made from fully recycled materials are becoming available – certain companies are even producing facestocks created partially from grape waste in an effort to “close the loop”.
It’s also possible for wineries to do their bit for the environment by maximising the amount of waste that they recycle, and by associating with label suppliers who source their paper from sustainable forests. Small changes can have a surprisingly big effect.
To sum up, whether you’re concerned about counterfeiting, the environment, or staying relevant to the Millennial market, it may be time for you to up your label game…