Vol. 1, No. 10, March 22, 1999
© Copyright 1999 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.
Saving wine labels: A sticky wicket?
Jim, I wish I knew! For those who like to save the occasional label (and what wine lover doesn't?), this is a frustrating development. I've been told that the new, super-sticky glue is related to modern labeling machines that use sticky-back labels rather than the old style that required moistening.
There's no perfect solution, but here are some tricks that I've tried or heard of:
* Use very hot water and give the bottles a long soak. If hot water alone won't do it, try adding a cup of ammonia.
* As soon as you remove the bottle from the hot water, attack the label with a hair dryer, which may help soften the glue.
* Try gently coaxing the edges of the label with a single-edge razor.
* Some wine-accessory shops (including Wine Enthusiast, http://www.wineenthusiast.com) offer a gimmick involving sticky-backed clear plastic that you place over the wine label, press down and peel. In theory, the adhesive pulls up the label image in a laminated form that you can put in a scrapbook. This is a fairly expensive solution, ranging from $15 for enough laminate for 20 labels up to $50 for 100 labels.
* Do as I've been doing (see image below), and take pictures of the labels still on the bottle, using the macro lens setting on a digital camera.
* In a somewhat similar approach, I've talked to wine fanciers who've tried carefully rolling a bottle across a flatbed scanner, timing the process in synch with the scan to get a "flat" image.
TO ALL OF YOU: This is a great opportunity to mobilize our growing community of readers! If you've got a good way to remove and save wine labels, please pass it on to me by E-mail at email@example.com, and I'll share the best ideas in a future edition. And, as always, please don't hesitate to drop us a line if you'd like to comment on our topics and tasting notes, suggest a topic for a future bulletin, or just talk about wine.
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In the latest chapter of this saga, Gallo has rolled out a range of modestly priced Gallo of Sonoma wines, packaged with a bright, simple label that appears aimed at a mass-market audience, but of a quality sufficient to satisfy just about anyone seeking an affordable table wine.
Gallo of Sonoma 1996 Sonoma County Merlot ($9.99)
FOOD MATCH: Its supple fruitiness makes this one a fine match with a fat free-range roasting hen.
(For a more detailed account, with notes on four more Gallo of Sonoma varietals including a truly excellent Cabernet Sauvignon, see my tasting report on The Wine Lovers' Page at http://www.wine-lovers-page.com/wines/wt032099.shtml.)
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