Wine bottle decorators pour on capacity

[caption id="attachment_61413" align="alignright" width="343"] Bergin Glass Impressions of Napa just added a second lehr oven to accommodate large- and small-scale brands.[/caption]

NAPA and RICHMOND -- Two major suppliers of bottle-decoration services are significantly upgrading their production capacity as more vintners turn to screen printing as a luxurious-looking label alternative.

To be sure, screen printing accounts for a tiny portion of labeling for wine bottles and historically has been for high-end brands. But Bergin Glass Impressions of Napa and Monvera Glass Decor of Richmond are busy keeping up with demand from wines retailing for less than $20 a bottle.

"In the past, it was about making expensive wines look expensive, and now they want the package to stand out on the shelf, regardless of the price point," said Caitriona Anderson, Monvera Glass vice president of sales and marketing.

Bergin Glass (707-224-0111, invested $950,000 in a six-color unit made by Fermac of Italy capable of printing up to 70 bottles a minute and a 105-foot-long Ernst Pennekamp GmbH & Co. KG lehr furnace with a 6-foot-wide belt.

Installed in the 40,000-square-foot south Napa plant in June, the new equipment complements the existing automated annealer furnace and two printing lines, with four- and six-color capability, respectively, according to Mike Bergin, president and director of sales.

"When we're working with larger clients, we can keep the fully automated machine running," he said. "Right now, we have to do a dance in accommodating smaller runs between large runs."

The automated line can handle runs equivalent of 15,000 to 30,000 12-bottle cases. The new line can work with runs as small as 150 to 700 cases.

[caption id="attachment_61414" align="alignleft" width="324"] Monvera Glass Decor will be adding a CNC-controlled screen printer that will allow full-wrap designs on odd-shaped bottles.[/caption]

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