Braille Wine Labels

Ξ January 28th, 2008 | → 7 Comments | ∇ A Day at a Time, Wine News |

M. Chapoutier’s Braille LabelI have enjoyed the wines of M. Chapoutier for many years. But I have never understood the odd raised bumps on the labels until a serendipitous find on the internet: they compose, in fact, a Braille text giving the sight-impared information as to winemaker, appellation, the name of the wine, vintage, and whether red or white. M. Chapoutier has been labelling bottles in Braille since 1996. And as written on his well-designed web pageFar from being anecdotic, this symbol draws its origin from the very history of the Hermitage vineyard.
Maurice Monier de La Sizeranne, owner of the plot of the Hermitage, la Sizeranne, is also the inventor of the first version of abbreviated Braille. The trademark pays tribute to this man but also expresses the desire to reach out to and include all people with sight-impairments, lovers of good wines.”

I have never before reflected on how great must be the effrontery to the independence of 10 million blind and vision-impaired Americans alone caused by the absence of Braille labels not only on wine bottles but on virtually all consumables, commodities generally. I cannot remember having ever seen a sight-impaired soul in a wine store. Are Braille tasting notes published? And Braille wine books? James Halliday writes in his Wines of Australia a gloss on Mount Eyre Vineyard, and of their blind winemaker, C.P. Lin, he says, “…he has also translated The Oxford Companion to Wine into Braille”(!) One question follows upon another….The short of it: I think Chapoutier’s idea is a good one.

Other wineries and label companies have since followed, but very slowly. The Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin now provide Braille labels. 2004 saw the arrival of Braille labels on bottles from the South African organic producer Bon Cap. In 2005 an Irish label company, Designerwine stepped up. As did the Czech wine producer Galant in 2006. And in a new development, Pyrotech has begun producing wine bottles in Braille.

My list is by no means complete. There are at least a dozen other small wineries around the world using Braille labels, all wineries with a very modest ‘international’ profile to be sure, but which nevertheless strive to bring a greater independence to the lives of the sight-impaired. Larger wineries should make the effort, too. Wine is the most social, civilized of drinks. It is only right that everyone have a seat at the table.

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7 Responses to ' Braille Wine Labels '

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  1. on January 28th, 2008 at 4:25 am

    Love this topic on braille labels! Mind if I refer to it on my Epiciurious blog for Bon Appetit and Gourmet?

    Cheers,
    Natalie

    http://www.nataliemaclean.com

    Editor of Nat Decants Free Wine Newsletter

    Author of Red, White and Drunk All Over

  2. Administrator said,

    on January 28th, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Please do.

  3. David said,

    on January 30th, 2008 at 6:37 am

    What a good article!!
    I am suprised that there are only very few wineries around the world using the Braille on their label, as a matter of facts, we are one of them!!!
    We are a small family owned winery in Catalonia-Northern Spain, called “Castell del Mirall”. We have still a small distribution in the US, but we hope to grow and to offer them to more people in the US.
    I hope more wineries around the world will follow that path.

    David Assens, Export manager

  4. Administrator said,

    on January 30th, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Please see Castell del Mirall at http://www.castelldelmirall.com/.
    Good work, David.

  5. gene christopher said,

    on May 7th, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    good day! i am seeking wine labels in braille, for a mural i am painting of wineries around the world. if labels are available please send to : gene christopher, 423 so. park ave. st.louis, mo. 63119, usa. thanks

  6. David Assens said,

    on May 16th, 2008 at 2:34 am

    Hi Chistopher,

    I will send you some Braille labels this afternoon.

    Cheers,

    David

  7. Ivan Pivac said,

    on March 4th, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    Dear Christopher,
    I’ve just seen this note and would be keen to receive a sample, please, and to know more about this subject.
    Many thanks,
    Ivan

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