Innovative Wine Bottle Labeling
wine pixies

Innovative Wine Bottle Labeling

I have to start with a slight disclaimer. Peter O’Brien’s labeling systems are appropriate for any bottle that is round. Despite this, the wine labels are the ones that really get my attention. Olive oil bottles come a close second.

I met Peter at his factory during my recent trip to Melbourne, Australia. He calls his company Great Engineering. This is not an idle boast. Great Engineering offers a hand-operated machine, a semi-automatic device, and a fully automatic apparatus. They are all 100% made in Australia and are finding increasing presence in the United States and other countries for wine and more.

We do a demo, of course. Peter runs a bottle through the system, label affixed properly. He runs the bottle through one more time. The bottle looks the same and yet, on closer inspection, if you hold it up to the light, you can just see where the second label has been pasted over the first, showing exact fidelity to the original placement. This applies front and back. The machines can also do wrap-around labels. Brilliant.

Another impressive feature of the system is the ability to print extra text onto the label stock. The winery can order labeling with fixed content, say, its name and logo, and then print changing vintages and varietal mixes on an as-needed basis, saving significantly on contract printing costs. Producers of all types can print bar codes, batch numbers, 'best before' dates and a wide range of other kinds of variable data. Thermal printing is the technology.

The factory itself is equally high-tech, employing computer controls to assist its small workforce. I came out impressed, and with the keen knowledge that not everything needs to be manufactured in China. Innovation always makes me salivate. Fortunately, there was wine nearby.

Verdict: Worth looking into

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My seventh trip to Australia brought me face to face with real innovation.

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award

Peter O'Brien of Great Engineering

Peter O'Brien of Great Engineering shows his compact machinery that can label any bottle, as long as it's round.

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