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Will New Wine Labels Become a Best Cellar?

October 20, 1985|JUBE SHIVER Jr.

In a city where personalized license plates seem to have run amok, it had to happen sooner or later: A local company is marketing domestic and European wines with custom-designed private labels for individuals, businesses and restaurants.

Los Angeles-based Paladin Vineyards, a subsidiary of the private-label wine distribution company Wine Masters International Inc., says its service will enable "restaurants and businesses . . . to have their corporate logos imprinted on (wine) labels in a foil stamp, while individuals will be able to have personal messages printed from a selection of various typefaces."

Paladin Vineyards expects some of its major customers to be restaurants that want to offer something a bit more fancy than simple "house wine." The company also expects considerable demand from corporations interested in giving gifts of wine with their corporate logo and a seasonal message on the wine bottle label.

"We have approximately 41 different wines now and we will have approximately 160 different wines by the summer," said Frederick Le Comte, president of Wine Masters.

Through the miracle of Paladin's printing presses, a lowly wine lacking panache can be transformed into "Christmas Cheer from Electro-Widget Inc."

After two years of effort, Paladin received permission last November from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to offer such private labeling. So far Paladin says it remains the only company with the authority to offer private labeling.

Under federal regulations the labels must include the source of the wine, its vintage, alcohol content, volume and the place the wine was bottled, in addition to any customized information placed on the label.

Paladin says it can obtain wine from any specific region or vineyard from California to Europe and that it will custom design private labels for wines in any quantity--large and small--for individuals, businesses and restaurants.

"Custom-designed, private-label wine has the image appeal that many customers want when they go out to dine," Le Comte said.

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