Practical Winery
65 Mitchell Blvd, San Rafael, CA 94903
phone: 415-453-9700 ext 102
email: Office@practicalwinery.com
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JULY/AUGUST 2010
PACKAGING
Producing high-quality VALUE WINES
BY
Don Neel
biggest clients (in terms of production) use more than 35,000 cases per year of ACL-decorated glass.
“Benefits of ACL decoration include 360° utilization of the bottle surface, perfect registration, and labels that cannot be torn, scuffed, wrinkled, or soaked off the bottle surface,” adds Mike Bergin. “ACL eliminates labeling problems during bottling, and shipment of case goods can arrive in good condition even when, as sometimes happens, one bottle in the case breaks or leaks. The other bottles can be wiped clean and sold.”
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W
ncredible value wines of high quality are the goal of Reed Renaudin, president and winemaker of X Winery in Napa, CA. The winery produced 15,000 cases of wine in the 2009 harvest for sale in fine-wine shops, restaurants, and a downtown Napa tasting room.
Renaudin, with an MBA from Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo, CA) and a fermentation science degree from UC Davis, hadworked in severalNapa Valley wineries before starting X Winery in 2000.
“I created X Winery to bring efficiency and imagination to making wines that over-deliver on quality,” says Renaudin. “The wines come from years of experimentation, and represent my desire for innovation, the value of new technology, and my passion for excellence. Each year, we try to continue to improve, through research, with a goal to produce wines that are very drinkable, and deliver value for the money.”
Packaging
For consumers, the initial impression of X wines is the packaging, which is eye-catching, modern, and suggests high-tech. The winery’s “green” efforts include purchasing ECO Series glass from Saint-Gobain Containers — lighter-weight bottles that reduce the packaging’s carbon footprint by up to 25%.
“The slick design and lighter bottle weight allow for more bottles per truck and increased shipping units, reducing excess trucking,” Renaudin reports. “We like that the bottles are produced right here in the U.S. (Washington and California).”
Screwcaps with a saranex liner are applied to all wines under $20 (approximately 65% of production) except for the white blend wine that receives a screwcap with tin liner. Screwcap application began with the 2008 Amicus red Bordeaux blend. Natural corks that are FSC- and Rainforest Alliance-
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Certified from the Cork Supply Group, seal bottled wines above $20 retail.
Applied color labeling (ACL) is a method of labeling, lettering, or decorating a bottle by applying a mixture of borosilicate glass and mineral or organic pigments (and other substances) with a low melting point, to a bottle through a metal screen, and then baking it in a furnace to formwhat can appear to be a “painted label.”
Powdered thermal plastic inks flow through a mesh screen (the term “silk screen” is outdated). With application of heat, the ink changes from powder form into liquid, and is forced onto the bottle surface as it is rolled under the screen. One color can be printed over another color repeatedly.
“The mosaic design for X Winery created by Ray Gonzales in 2003 is unique,” explains Mike Bergin, owner of Bergin Glass Impressions (Napa, CA). Gonzales, who was art director at Bergin Glass Impressions, is now an independent designer on Long Island, NY. Gonzales suggested a different color for each variety.
The first shipment from Bergin Glass to X Winery of the new mosaic package was 2003 for 2001 vintage bottling. Bergin produces two formats for X Winery: one-color mosaic for wines under $20/retail and a multi-color mosaic pattern for wines over $20/retail.
Bergin decorates more than 5 million bottles per year. The cost of ACL bottle decoration, for production from 500 to 10,000 cases, price-competes with printed paper labels. Beyond 10,000 cases, ACL decorating is more expensive because of large volume pricing of printed labels. Bergin’s