Wine Label Placement Tips to Avoid Wrinkling June 14, 2017

Because there are so many variations in wine bottle shapes and sizes, proper design and placement of the label can be tricky. And because these days glass comes from all over the world, not only European countries, even common bottle types—the high-shouldered Bordeaux, the slope-shouldered Burgundy, the tall Hock, and the heavier Champagne bottle—can have small but significant differences in mold label panels. To add complexity, most wineries also refresh their label design every few years, making this a continual issue. Therefore, everyone involved in label changes, from marketing to filling, should be involved in the label design conversation. It will ultimately save you headaches.

The most important outcome of knowing all this is to avoid the quality defects that occur on the bottling line …the wrinkled label syndrome. After all these years I still see this as an ongoing serious problem that is only addressed at the worst time when it is costliest.

How can one avoid these downtime hassles, wasted labels, and unanticipated rework costs? Get involved early, have the glass supplier work with the designer, and stay involved to confirm you have approved compatible materials. Ultimately, as the decision-maker, it is your call.

The first step in label design is to get from the glass company the bottle’s actual blueprint specifications from which to work. You want to make sure that a label isn’t too large for the bottle’s label panel or that you place it to high or low for the shape and size of the bottle.

Generally, each standard bottle style has a label panel that dictates the general area on which to place the label. However, while bottles may look exactly the same, designers shouldn’t just trust their eye. Proper placement starts by knowing the dimensions of the label and locating the area within the label panel area you have chosen. Keep a proof bottle as a template and write on a sticker the dimensions from the bottom of the bottle to the bottom of the label (it could be anywhere from 15 to 25 mm up from the bottom). Determine the preferred placement based on how it looks, but also how it fits on the blueprint, keeping in mind the bottle’s radius, as well. When you add the height of the label, are you still within that optimum area?

You should also contact the bottling line to make sure equipment can accurately position the label, without creasing. A common problem is placing a label too high on a bottle, which results in a crooked and creased label. And do everyone a favor by allowing 2 mm on top and on bottom of the glass label panel because marginal machine placement shifts may occur.

All of these initial steps still might not avoid later problems. Label wrinkling or bubbling may occur on the bottling line. If the sales company cannot be on site during bottling to address potential issues, make sure you collect a number of bottles for later inspection in order to expedite later claims. And provide at least 10 labels, both front and back, so your glass company can run their analysis. Tell the glass company the placement and size of the label in a consistent communication format as described above. Let them know the frequency of wrinkling and if it was consistent or spotty. And quickly send the samples to the salesperson so he/she can get the samples to the technical department.

Finally, don’t forget that labels are required to pass COLA (Certification of Label Approval) requirements, which are described here:

At Global Package, our expertise extends to every aspect, including label design and placement, when discussing bottle selection. Our glass partners will provide exact specifications to your designer for your chosen bottle. Our goal is to make sure everyone comes out ahead at the end of the day.

Give us a call at 707-224-5670 or for more information.