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Image of  wine label

Wine Labels

This striking and unusual label design is for a wine produced in Australia to honour the postal telegraphists who for decades connected the country with the rest of the world and helped to save countless lives in the process. Each line of morse code represents a letter from the grape variety Chardonnay.

Q I would be grateful if you could let me know whether wine collectors try to acquire unused labels from wine suppliers or try to remove the used labels from wine bottles - what is the general practice? With regard to the removal of labels from bottles can you let me know the best way of doing this?

George Eaton

A Reciprocal greetings from all imbibers this side of the water as you have raised a question which many of us have debated.

Regarding removing the labels from the bottles, it is generally agreed when we talked about it at the Centre for Ephemera Studies that it is often virtually impossible. Whether I drink a cheaper sort of plonk, I have found that by putting the empty bottle into the wine cooler, filling with tepid water, and leaving it until morning, the label happily floats off. It appears to depend on the firm. ‘Stamplift’ which I use for small items is not so successful but might be worth a try for a particularly wanted item which won’t shift.

Acquiring unused labels again depends on the firms. In Madeira the wineries sell packets of their current lovely Madeira labels and some companies here will let you buy them. There are often wine labels at ephemera fairs with condition varying from mint to waste paper basket worthy and some of the postal auctions include them but the latter have been rubbish when I got them. And of course it is worth contacting fellow collectors for swaps.




This regular feature invites answers by email to members’ questions on an item of ephemera.