There is really only one fail-safe method of conveying the quality, heritage, and style of a wine once it has entered its wine bottle packaging – and that is the label. For Marcello Lunelli, Vice President of Ferrari Spumanti, Italy’s leading producers of sparkling wines, the label is undoubtedly ‘a key identifier and an invaluable marketing device’.
Mr Lunelli is a scion of the second of only two families which, since oenologue Giulio Ferrari first created his wine in 1902, have nurtured and promoted the Ferrari brand. Today it is a name synonymous with excellence. ‘The company is more than a hundred years old, and continues to win awards for its product,’ says Mr Lunelli. While the temptation might be to change the image with the changing generations, he is convinced that, for wines at least, this is not the desirable course.
Tradition equals continuity
With ‘a product based on emotion, values must not change’, he avers; and that is certainly the case for Ferrari Spumanti, which still uses the Metodo Classico for its wine production. ‘The style of our product, which has a long-established smell and taste of its own, has not changed. Its packaging – the label – is its visual identity,’ he adds.
Nevertheless, that visual identity needs to keep apace with contemporary consumer sentiment, as well as the ever-increasing capabilities of modern packaging technology. Leading Italian brand and strategic design advisors RobilantAssociati were chosen to conduct a delicate redesign of the labels as well as the secondary packaging – a project which has brought added definition and 21st-century touches to the brand identity, and at the same time paves the way for relevant future updates
An extra-special role for labels on sparkling wines
The continuing thread of that visual identity, combined with the magical name Ferrari (with all its many associations, not necessarily related to wines!), has enabled the company to achieve considerable visibility for its products at live events, indoors and out – particularly those associated with success. ‘After all,’, says Mr Lunelli, ‘sparkling wine is inextricably associated with celebrating success!’‘
It is therefore no surprise that occasions such as Formula 1 winners’ podium appearances have proved a superb opportunity to ‘advertise’ Ferrari Spumanti – which, in the hands of the deserving race winner, is, of course, always recognisable by its label. ‘We believe that being visible at such events can enrich our brand – in all different worlds, from music to sport, fashion, politics, and world affairs… The important thing is to be there at the right time!’ Political get-togethers and international events – in fact, wherever there are photo opportunities – also represent powerful promotional platforms for Ferrari Spumanti.
‘Dressing the bottles’
Because the labelled bottle represents such a valuable selling tool, says Mr Lunelli, ‘our company has always valued “the way we dress our bottles” highly. Our logo and associated heraldry never change’, he says, ‘and the shade of red we use is a “special” identifier for our brand.’
Maintaining the traditional image may be critical, but nowadays the way in which it is delivered involves a very modern label production technique. Mr Lunelli says: ‘Self-adhesive labels have become extremely important to use, with all their advantages. They guarantee a perfect finish for bottles that will inevitably be presented in an ice bucket.’
Fine labels for fine wines
GuidottiCentroStampa, part of the global Multi-Color Global Label Solutions group, have for many years printed the labels for the main Ferrari Spumanti qualities. Wine and spirits labels are a speciality. They are also a market where self-adhesive labels have made strong inroads in recent years, precisely because of the high-quality results that can be achieved, and the extensive choice of functional specialities they offer.
A practical, modern solution
It is therefore not surprising that, for Ferrari Maximum, the choice of label substrate for both primary labels and neck straps is, in fact, a self-adhesive film labelstock – a 120 micron white PE film, delivered on a glassine release liner, and carrying a wine label adhesive which resists moisture ingress and enables the label to stay on the bottle even after extended time in the ice bucket. Additionally, the bottle seals are printed on a self-adhesive metallised paper with a wine label grade permanent adhesive.
Says GuidottiCentroStampa’s Filippo Guidotti: ‘The film labels for Ferrari Maximum are printed offset on a combination reel-to-reel press, with additional in-line embellishments – hot foil blocking in gold and copper, and embossing – to create the traditional look of a sparkling wine label. They’re finished off with a gloss screen varnish and an anti-scuff varnish before kiss-diecutting to their familiar shape, to make sure their good looks last for the life of the bottle.’
This was a challenging portfolio of on-press processes, even for self-adhesive labels, says Mr.Guidotti. ‘Scuff-resistance was a critical factor for Ferrari, of course – but the combination of inks, delicate embellishments, and varnishes meant we had to run many trials before we achieved the result we wanted.’
The labels are applied automatically to the bottles with the accuracy of positioning and smooth, bubble-free finish that are the speciality of self-adhesive labels.
For long ageing
For the vintage Ferrari Perlé bottles, GuidottiCentroStampa use a traditional gold metallised paper face stock. It is partnered with an adhesive with long-ageing characteristics, suitable for the cool storage conditions of the wine cellar as well as chilled ice bucket presentation, and a glassine liner. This dedicated self-adhesive wine labelstock is used for both the Ferrari Perlé primary labels and the neck seals. ‘We print both these labels in a combination of reel-to-reel offset and flexo, hot foiled in gold and embossed. They are finished with a protective coating and embellished with high-gloss screen varnish prior to kiss-diecutting’, says Mr Guidotti.
‘The ultimate symphony’
The functional characteristics of the self-adhesive label laminate are a strong argument for employing them in wine labelling. The combination of label face material, adhesive (which can feature an enormous variety of special capabilities), and the release liner, which delivers the label to the bottle are, on their own, a flexible, versatile, and effective solution. Add to that the exceptional possibilities for creating complex on-press aesthetics and, as Ferrari Spumanti’s Marcello Lunelli says, ‘you achieve the ultimate symphony of taste, smell, and image.’
FINAT, founded in Paris in 1958 with headquarters in The Hague (The Netherlands), is the world-wide industry association for manufacturers of self-adhesive labels and related products and services. With 600 members in over 50 countries around the world, FINAT has much to offer to label converters and all suppliers to the labelling industry in terms of information exchange and the opportunity to network internationally. For more information go to: www.finat.com