North Coast Wine Industry Awards 2013: Paragon Label has laser focus on innovation

Paragon Label, a provider of digital and flexographic pressure-sensitive label printing, precision foiling, embossing and rotary screen printing services, has won more than three dozen national and international awards for technical excellence in label printing and for its innovative environmental practices.

While some 90 percent of Paragon’s labels are destined for the wine industry, the firm also produces labels for the spirits industry, cosmetic firms, nutraceutical suppliers, olive oil and balsamic vinegar producers as well as a candle-making company. The company has adapted laser technology, using equipment obtained from the former Lasercraft Inc., to add dynamic dimensions to the production of wine labels.

Led by founder Jason Grossman, chief executive officer, the 25-employee company operates five flexographic presses, one digital offset press, three off-line finishing machines, one laserweb device in a 55,000-square-foot printing plant shared with parent company Mrs. Grossman's Paper Co.

Early this year, Paragon entered a joint venture with Kent, Wash.-based Vintners Global Resource to provide small- and medium-sized wineries with labels, bottles and packaging supplies.

Paragon also is expanding its reach to new winegrowing regions in Arizona and Colorado.What have been recent highlights for your company?

JASON GROSSMAN: We have made a few hires in our prepress and digital department. We have also invested in new cutting-edge plate-making equipment and prepress software.

We are in discussions to purchase a new digital press, finishing unit and flexo press. We have also installed new software to run the business.

We also won our second Flexographic Technical Association environmental award and are the only company to ever have won the award twice. We also won a gold and silver printing award from the FTA.What does demand for your services say about the health of the local wine business?

MR. GROSSMAN: The local wine market is doing quite well. Existing customers are expanding, and we are seeing lots of new customers. We can see a definite uptick in new wineries.

Our laserweb is also getting lots of attention, with new laser projects coming up almost weekly. I believe it is on trend right now.

I would say the Northern California wine industry is quite healthy. I am also hearing that harvest was great for both quantity and quality, just like last year.What are the top three opportunities and challenges facing your business?

MR. GROSSMAN: We are the only company capable of producing pressure-sensitive laser-cut labels. We are seeing lots of demand for this technology, since it is so unique.

Digital printing is coming on strong and only show signs of growing bigger, better and faster. Look for progress in inkjet technology, since this is where lots of manufacturers are putting their resources.

Competition is only growing in the wine-label field. There are some big players in the industry, along with some new smaller operations. I expect to see some consolidation in the next couple of years.

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