I sometimes torment my poor readers, if there are any left, with some of the most hideous examples of wine labels available. When I first discovered wine, the labels would soak off a bottle with no effort and they were pristine, unless I dripped wine on them from pouring. Nowadays, a lot of wineries use a contact label, similar to the labels produced by the Post Office for stamps, which defy one to remove the item once it has been affixed. I have belabored this point on occasion, as I have attempted to save every wine label of every bottle of wine that I have drank. I also attempt to show just the removed label, as actual proof that I have had the wine, in hopes that nobody would think I have a fertile imagination and just created a memory.
They were first saved in a scrap book, and then once I decided that I was getting serious, I saved them and they became the “wallpaper” in my wine cellar. I thought this was a very cool idea. As a side note, I have been collecting the corks as well, and as soon as I can get motivated they will be the crown molding in my cellar, some times I am crafty, in an arts and crafts type of crafty. All this is an introduction to a product that I have seen once or twice, but for some reason, I have never purchased it. Then the other day, one of my Bride’s oldest and dearest friends who attend estate sales, saw this product and bought it, thinking that I could use it. The product is called “label-saver” and it is from The Wine Enthusiast group. It is for labels 5”x 6” though the picture shows a Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1982 label being removed from the bottle, but I know that particular label is bigger than the dimensions of the product that I have just tried. I shall have to look to see if they offer different sizes. This “label-saver” is placed over the wine label while it is on the bottle and then when one pulls it back, it actually splits the paper from the glue that remains adhered to the bottle.
I have a couple of cases of empty bottles in my garage of wines that I have enjoyed, but the labels either have defied my removing them, the color dies of the label bleach out from the hot water, or I have just been afraid to try some of them. One example that I will show was from a bottle of Peter Michael “Les Pavots” 2000, a wonderful “Bordeaux” style wine from Calistoga, in the Napa Valley. As one can see, I attempted to remove the label, in my traditional method and stopped when I saw that I was not having any success. This was going to be my first attempt with the product, and I am happy to say that I am thrilled with the success of it.
The second bottle that I tried it on was a Marilyn Merlot 2000, while not in the same category as the Peter Michael, it is a wine that I have thoroughly enjoyed over the years, and I have to say, that I love the portraits of Marilyn that they use. The problem that I have encountered with these labels is that the colors fade in the hot water that I use to loosen the glue, and they come out as poor examples of what the original looked like. Now the Marilyn labels are larger than the “label-saver” so I did an experiment and positioned the “saver” the other direction, then what the instructions advised. As you can see from another scan, the label did not come off as well as the Peter Michael label did. I can only surmise that the glue and paper have a directional affinity, and does not work against the grain.
I am happy with the initial test, and I now realize that there is a limit to the size label that I can remove at the moment, so some of the bottles will still continue to reside in my garage, until I can find another alternative. I am a patient man, and that reminds me that I need a glass of wine at this moment, as I ponder my next article.