The Labelworks

photo: truck, champagne mercier, epernay

Mercier's Citroën delivery truck - seen this week
at the Rétromobile salon.

Café Metropole Blanc de Blanc

Paris:- Saturday, 8. February 2003:- During the winter Allan doesn't work on making wine all the time. Last week he was using 'The Shed's' other equipment to pull the engine out of a neighbor's pickup truck and then he delivered it to a machine shop.

When he finished with this job, he decided to complete the wiring on the car hoist in 'The Shed' so he could get it running. He wants to be able to work under cars without scraping around on the ground.

While so occupied he mused on Café Metropole's wine label, which you can read about below.

There are probably more than 100 bars and cafés in Paris that emphasize wine and no two of themgraphic: color label 1 are alike or look the same. There are another 3000-odd cafés too, so you would think that finding one for a model to use as the 'Café Metropole' would have been an easy task.

I took a lot of photos, but in the end I used my memory to make a synthesis 'café.' This went through a half-dozen versions over a period of almost a year, before we agreed on the actual label.

An early version - based on a sketch design for the rear label - was used in New York City in December of 2001 for a front label. These had no glue at all, and had to be hand-glued and aligned by eye. When placed in an ice bucket these labels floated off and joined the ice cubes.

Another problem was constantly passing wine shops In Paris full of Champagne on display. Our 'Café Metropole' doesn't look like any other label, so when it came to colors I decided to err on the conservative side.

Allan and the label printers fixed this timidity by giving the colors a hefty boost. Allan is happy with it. When I do the next label they won't need to hop-up its colors at all.

About Café Metropoleô Blanc de Blanc

Getting the Label Right

Musings from Moonlight
by Allan Pangborn

Kennewick:- One of the most consistent reactions to the Café Metropole Blanc de Blanc is the positive acceptance of the label. It is unique in a sea of wine labels and that is an important part of marketing. I would like to thank Ric again for the artwork that became the label.

I thought the French storefront was a great format for a label. Ric took my suggestions and developed the concept into a style easily recognizable to Metropole readers.

Dana Labels in Portland, Oregon printed it in October. They specialize in small production runs. I was there to approve the run and a last minute increase in color intensity that made the final product stand out from the crowd. There are literally tens of thousands of wine labels and each is trying to catch your attention as you pass by the bottles on the shelf.

The label is the interface with the consumer and much time and effort was spent getting the right 'look.' The use of computers in graphic design has made just about anything possible.

All wine labels must be approved by our old friends at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. They have a raft ofgraphic: b & w line label regulations and approval takes as long as a month if it is a new design. The BATF is now part of the 'Homeland Defense' reorganization and will soon be no more. The Alcohol part will stay in the Treasury Department, but I don't know what it will be called.

I spent a few years supervising bottling lines and in quality control and label appearance is a big part of the job. One of the problems for white and sparkling wines are the ice buckets. The bottles may be chilled in one so the glue holding the label on must not soak off during the time the bottle is being consumed. That means a non-water soluble glue based on casein must be used. Casein is a milk protein.

The joy of using something impervious to water is cleaning the equipment when you are finished. All the splattered glue has to be removed before it dries. Ammonia in water does the job but it is corrosive to certain machine parts, your hands, and unpleasant to breathe.

The self-adhesive Café Metropole labels are relatively new and work well with high speed labeling machines. They are easy to apply compared to labels that require a liquid adhesive to stick them to the bottle. They are also waterproof so they were the logical choice for Café Metropole. I have an old wet-glue machine and I am happy to leave it in retirement.

One of the regulations for wine labels is that the wine information concerning who produced it, the brand name, type of wine - table, dessert, or sparkling wine - and place of origin must be on the front label.

The label that has this info is the smaller one so in the eyes of the BATF it is the 'Front label.' For Cafegraphic: color label 2 Metropole the larger label with Ric's artwork is therefore the 'Back' one. This is specified on the Label Approval Certificate - which is Form ATF F 5100.31 in my files.

For those purchasing Café Metropole Blanc de Blanc I will send a few labels for you to affix to the item of your choice if you request them with your order. The bright, lively label has a glossy finish and can best be appreciated 'in person.' One of the drawbacks to non-water soluble glues and self-adhesive labels is label collectors have a devil of a time getting them off bottles.

You will also notice there is no UPC code anywhere because this is a wine that will not be sold in stores that scan barcodes on the things they sell. As few products are to be found nowadays without the laser-readable code, it attests to the rarity of this wine.

Visits to Moonlight

If you wish to visit 'The Shed,' please contact me prior to your visit. The laws controlling alcohol, tobacco and firearms probably account for 3/4ths of all the laws ever written in the USA. The fact that I must be notified before your visit is one of them!

Ordering and Shipping

Cafe Metropoleô Sparklingphoto: cafe table, chairs Wine is available now to the residents of the following States -

California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.

There are two packages available:

Two 750 ml bottles for $52.00

Six 750 ml bottles for $136.00

The price includes packaging, handling and shipping costs. Shipment will be by UPS '3-day Select' and an adult signature is required for delivery.

Overnight or two-day shipment is an option. The shipping charge will be slightly more, so email your order to and include your ZIP Code so I can tell you the actual cost.

Terms: Payment by check or money order, to 'Cafe Metropole' is acceptable. It should be mailed to :

Cafe Metropole, 4704 West 12th Avenue, Kennewick, WA 99338

As the winery is just beginning operations, we do not yet have the means to process credit cards. We will be adding this service inphoto: cafe metropole label the near future. Until then, we will appreciate your use of a check or money order.

Thank you.

Allan Pangborn, Winemaker
Café Metropole Blanc de Blancô
Moonlight Sparkling Wine Cellar, LLC
4704 West 12th Avenue
Kennewick, WA 99338 USA
Tel.: 509 - 735 72 37
Tours by appointment only.

What This Is About

Past 'news,' musings and lore about Café Metropole Blanc de Blanc and the Moonlight Sparkling Wine Cellar can be found in recent issues of Metropole Paris.

The Café Metropole Blanc de Blanc went on sale last 1. November. Being able to order and pay for the wine online is coming soon.

Once New York State makes its decision to lift its ban on out-of-state direct shipments - if it is positive - it is believed that many other states that have similar restricts on shipping will cease their illogical 'import' bans.

Photos and label designs © Ric Erickson
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