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Conveying the external image of a wine: its label

There is really only one fail-safe method of conveying the quality, heritage, and style of a wine once it has entered its wine bottle packaging – and that is via the label

For Marcello Lunelli, vice president of Ferrari Spumanti, an Italian producer of premium sparkling wines made using the Metodo Classico method, the label is undoubtedly “a key identifier and an invaluable marketing device”.

“The company is more than a hundred years old, and continues to win awards for its product,” says Lunelli. While the temptation might be to change the image with the changing generations, he is convinced that, for wines at least, this is not the desirable course. “The style of our product, which has a long-established aroma and flavour of its own, has not changed. Its packaging – the label – is its visual identity,” he adds.

Nevertheless, that visual identity needs to keep pace with contemporary consumer sentiment, as well as the ever-increasing capabilities of modern packaging technology. Italian brand design advisor RobilantAssociati redesigned the labels as well as the secondary packaging – a project that has brought added definition and modern touches to the brand identity.

“Our logo and associated heraldry never change,” says, Lunelli, “and the shade of red we use is a special identifier for our brand.”

Maintaining the traditional image may be critical, but the way in which it is delivered involves modern label production techniques. Lunelli says: “Self-adhesive labels have become extremely important to use on sparkling wines as they guarantee a perfect finish for bottles that will inevitably be presented in an ice bucket.”

The substrate chosen for both the primary labels and neck straps is a 120 micron white PE film, delivered on glassine release liner. It carries a wine label adhesive that resists moisture ingress and enables the label to stay on the bottle even after extended time in the ice bucket. Additionally, the bottle seals are printed on a self-adhesive metallised paper with a wine label grade permanent adhesive.

GuidottiCentroStampa, part of the global Multi-Color Global Label Solutions group, prints the labels for Ferrari Spumanti wines. Says GuidottiCentroStampa’s Filippo Guidotti: “The film labels for Ferrari Maximum are printed offset on a combination reel-to-reel press, with additional in-line embellishments – hotfoil blocking in gold and copper, and embossing – to create the traditional look of a sparkling wine label. They’re finished off with a gloss screen varnish and an anti-scuff varnish before kiss-diecutting to their familiar shape, to make sure their good looks last for the life of the bottle.”

This was a challenging portfolio of on-press processes, even for self-adhesive labels, says Guidotti. “Scuff resistance was a critical factor for Ferrari, of course, but the combination of inks, delicate embellishments, and varnishes meant we had to run many trials before we achieved the result we wanted.”

The labels are applied automatically to the bottles with the accuracy of positioning and smooth, bubble-free finish that are characteristic of self-adhesive labels.

For the vintage Ferrari Perlé bottles, GuidottiCentroStampa uses a traditional gold metallised paper facestock. It is partnered with an adhesive with long-ageing characteristics, suitable for the cool storage conditions of the wine cellar as well as chilled ice bucket presentation, and a glassine liner. This dedicated self-adhesive wine labelstock is used for both the Ferrari Perlé primary labels and the neck seals. “We print both these labels in a combination of reel-to-reel offset and flexo, hot-foiled in gold and embossed. They are finished with a protective coating and embellished with high gloss screen varnish prior to kiss-diecutting,” he says.

The functional characteristics of the self-adhesive label laminate are a strong argument for employing it in wine labelling. The combination of label face material, adhesive (which can feature an enormous variety of special capabilities), and the release liner, which delivers the label to the bottle are, on their own, a flexible, versatile, and effective solution. Add to that the exceptional possibilities for creating complex on-press aesthetics and, as Lunelli says, “you achieve the ultimate symphony of taste, smell, and image.”

Marcello Lunelli Marcello Lunelli Ferrari Perlé: a combination of
reel-to-reel and flexo, hotfoiled
and embossed Ferrari Perlé

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