Paper Stocks – What are My Options?

We work with all of the leading wine stock paper suppliers around the world and have access for a wide range of face stocks/wine grade pressure sensitive papers. Paper Stock is a very important part of the design/printing process and will have a significant impact on the finished look/feel of your label. Take the time to explore your options here…

We can break the paper options down into 4 main categories…Gloss/Coated, Matte/Coated and Smooth/Uncoated or Textured/Uncoated).  Often times the label design and/or printing process will lend itself to one specific paper finish and we will always provide you with our professional opinion/suggestions if we feel one paper finish will offer you a better result over another but in most cases it comes down to a personal aesthetics preference.

While we have many papers available for use, here is a quick list of a few of our most popular wine grade paper stocks that and readily available materials with a brief explanation of each one:

White Gloss – High Gloss/Smooth Coated Paper

Matte Litho –  Smooth/Matte Coated Paper

Classic Crest (Smooth/Uncoated) – is a bright white, smooth uncoated paper offering a soft cotton natural look/feel.

Bright White Felt/Natural Felt (Textured/Uncoated) – is a bright white or an off-white material that is lightly textured with a random felt finish.

70# Eggshell Felt (Textured/Uncoated) – is a thick 70# paper offering a warm/deep cream color that is heavily textured with a coarse eggshell finish.  Due to the heavy textured nature of this stock, it is not suitable for all designs – please inquire for more information.

Estate #4 and Estate #9 (Textured/Uncoated) – is a natural  off-white or a cream colored material textured with a horizontal laid line pattern finish.  This is stock offers a very classic “old world” look/feel.

If you are still a bit unsure as to which paper stock you would like to print your labels on simply request a “look book” from us. We will send you a sampling of some of our most beautiful “hot off the press” printed label  which will showcase a range of paperstocks, print processes and embellishments sure to wow and amaze you.  You will be able to touch and feel finished printed wine labels samples on various materials, so you can see for yourself which material would best suit your style, design or budget.

What is a “Release Liner”?

When you receive your roll of custom labels, you probably don’t think too much about the liner. All you care about is that your labels look great. But the release liner, as it is known, plays a vital role in supporting your labels so they can be peeled off easily. Have you ever wondered how the labels can be so easily removed from the liner, but very difficult to remove from any other surface?

The secret ingredient is silicone, a versatile polymer material that has excellent adhesive repelling properties. The liners for the materials we use here are all paper based, with a layer of silicone added to the paper to support the labels, protect the adhesive, and allow easy label application.

Release liners come in different thicknesses and with different properties.

All of our wine grade paper stocks come standard with a 44lb brown poly coated paper liner that is specially designed for high speed automatic application. This is because in the wine industry most labels are applied to the bottles by machine. We can also provide a line of “fully recyclable” clear liners…ask us for more information on our 1.2mil and 1.5mil clear poly liners.

So next time you receive a roll of labels from us, take a moment and look at the release liner, it provides a very important role for self-adhesive labels. Without it you really wouldn’t be able to use your labels.

All About Proofing

Let’s talk about the two kinds of proofs that we offer – PDF proofs and Digital “Hard Copy” Press Proofs.

PDF Proofs

Our standard method of proofing labels scheduled to print on a conventional flexo or off-set presses is to send you a PDF via e-mail. The main advantage is speed, because files are sent the computer and you can quickly look at the type and graphic elements to make sure they meet your expectations. Because colors vary between monitors and printers a PDF proof will not give you an accurate indication of the final press color. We will match the pantone colors and specs that you have called out on your artwork or you may schedule a press check (additional fee’s may apply) for a “hands on” color review/sign off at the time of printing/production.

Digital Press Proofs

If Color is important to you and your labels order is set-up to print on the HP Indigo Digital Press we always suggest a hard copy proof (only available when printing labels digitally).  This proofing option will most closely represent how your labels will look when complete. It will print full color on your specified label material and you will see a die-line where the labels will be cut (please note these press proofs are not varnished…the finish varnish can alter the colors slightly). We recommend Press Proofs for all new digital printing orders…And best of all your first Press Proof is FREE and eliminates the need for lengthy press checks.

Why bother with a proof?

In printing you should always double (even triple) check your work, and then check it once more. We run across many clients who really think a proof is unnecessary and blow right through this critical part of the process…then when they get the labels they realize a mistake they have made or failed to catch a typo or error made during the type-setting/proofing process. Proofing is all about preventing mistakes BEFORE labels are printed, delivered and applied to your wine. Please trust us here…PROOF!!!!  Re-printing is Expensive…A real “sour grape” if you will.

What Does “Full Bleed” Mean?

Understanding the concept of a “full bleed” is important if you want color on your labels that extends right up to the edge. This is best explained by an example. Let’s look at the label above. What we want is a 3” x 5” finished label indicated by the black die-line. For this complete background coverage of color, we actually create a box that is slightly bigger than our finished label. For most instances the size of the finished art that we use to print the label is 1/16” larger on all sides. So, the box that we create is actually 3.125” x 5.125”.

What is the reason for this extra space? It has to do with the way a label is created. When labels are created they are first printed on the label material and then they are die cut into the shape you want. This cutting is a mechanical process and the material can drift ever so slightly (up to 1/32”) during the die cutting. If you just had color without a full bleed then when the material shifted slightly you would notice a white area at the edge of your label. By adding 1/16” of color to all sides of your label you will ensure you will get a finished product that looks good and has color all the way to the very edge of your label.

How Do I Get a BAR CODE for My Products?

If your wine is going into distribution and will be sold In retail stores then you will want to consider including a bar code on your back label.

The bar code on most retail products in this country is called a UPC (Universal Product Code), and you obtain them from the Uniform Code Council. You first need to become a member of their “GS1 US Partner Connections”  which can all be done online.  The amount you pay is dependent on the number of products you will be selling, and your company’s gross revenues. The processing time is usually about 7 days and then you receive your company prefix number. You can then create your full bar code number for each product with the help of the membership kit you will receive. Once you have been supplied your number you can turn that info over to us and we will create your bar code (using special software) and drop it onto your supplied art files.

If you have a small number of products (less than twenty) there is a more cost effective way to obtain a registered UPC code. Just type “buy a bar code” into Google and you will see many companies selling barcode numbers for far less than the UCC membership fee. Note: There has been a recent onset of “fake” or “hot” upc codes being offered on the internet – do your homework.

Be sure to designate a space on your back label for the bar code. It is best to create a “white box” around your bar code and print the code in a dark color/preferably in black. The official size requirement is 1″ high x 1.5″ wide although in reality we print bar codes that are as small as 0.5″ high and 1″ wide (any smaller than that and the retailer might experience scanning difficulties).  Please note, we will run a “test scan” of your bar code prior to production to insure readability.