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Within the wine labeling industry, screen printed labels or Applied Ceramic Labels (ACL) occupy just a small slice of the overall pie. While paperless bottle labeling techniques have yet to be widely adopted in the U.S., many existing paper label designs are actually perfect for ACL printing. Prime Cellars is an example of a winery that screen prints their Reserve wines, but uses paper labels for the rest. We have some thoughts on why they should go paperless for all of their labels.

Prime Cellars’ 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon is labeled with paper, but has great paperless potential. The label uses a light gray paper with a broad swash of black ink across the front. The word “PRIME” is visible in the middle of the black ink, and “Napa Valley” appears in red below that. The fact that red is used sparsely gives the paper label a monochrome look, and the hard-edges of the paper feel out of place in an otherwise striking design.

By contrast, Prime Cellars chose to differentiate their 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve by using screen printed labels, and the benefits are numerous. First, the color on the paperless label is much more impactful. The swash of ink across the front is now bright red on the screen printed bottle. The extra color draws the eye and intensifies the branding. Second, because the red swash is printed directly on the glass instead of on paper, the color looks as though it was painted by hand across the surface of the bottle, bringing a real sense of synergy to the package. Third, screen printed labels are actually baked into the surface of the glass, so the Prime Cellars branding literally becomes part of the bottle. While a paper label can easily be scuffed, torn or peeled, Prime’s screen printed labels are as durable as the bottle itself. Finally, in this economy, it’s important that your products be noticed. Choosing the less common labeling technique can actually help capture consumer attention. On shelves filled with paper labels, the unique look of a paperless bottle is likely to help wines stand out from the crowd.


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