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Château Cheval Blanc adds D-Series laser to improve traceability

29 October 2012

Vintage wine producer Château Cheval Blanc is reaping a whole host of benefits from the installation of a new Domino D-Series laser, including enhancements to its coding, marking and labelling systems, which has enhanced the traceability of its wine and helped its customers to avoid counterfeits.

Since 1954 Château Cheval Blanc, which is based in the vineyards of Saint-Émilion, France, a World Heritage Site, has been designated a Premier Grand Cru Classe A, the highest classification level for Saint-Émilion wine.

It was during the release of its 2009 vintage, which currently sells for €1,000 a bottle, that the wine producer decided to adopt a more rigorous labelling system that would improve the traceability of its wine and deter counterfeiting.

Technical Director Pierre Olivier Clouet said: “Naturally, given the value and prestige of our wine, it is important to guarantee its authenticity and to be able to trace each bottle throughout its long life. We therefore needed a more flexible coding and labelling solution that could deliver durable product identification and traceable codes while maintaining the aesthetic qualities of our distinctive wine labels.”

The Château Cheval Blanc team was looking for a system capable of marking onto both the glass bottle and the product label and that would fit seamlessly into one of its bottling production lines. It therefore opted for the Domino D-Series scribing laser, which could not only scribe clear and durable identification onto both glass and paper substrates, but could also manage and deliver a range of text, 1D and 2D datamatrix and alphanumeric coding and logos.

The D-Series laser was added to a new bottling line at the Château’s winery, and is equipped with software linked to an integrated database by Domino partner Arjowiggins Security.

The compact scribing laser which is easily integrated into any production line, has an adjustable scan head which enables it to fit in even the smallest spaces. It can produce unlimited lines of text in any orientation, in many fonts and graphics, and is equally suitable for both graphics and 2D datamatrix codes.

With the Domino D-Series scribing laser now installed, the Château’s glass wine bottles are marked with a data matrix and engraved with an alphanumeric code indicating the type of wine along with its bottling date, number. In addition, on the bottles distinctive back label, the laser also delivers notification of the vintage (in words), the number of the bottle and a QR code.

This QR code, when scanned by the customer, identifies the number of the individual bottle and directs them to the Château Cheval Blanc website. Other data can be included to authenticate the bottle, locate its owner and follow its movements from the point at which it is bottled. The QR code is also used for other marketing purposes by the wine producer, which includes creating closer links with the end customer.

A specific IT tool was also developed for managing the serialisation of the wine bottles codes, which records the data of the last code printed to ensure there is no duplication or missing numbers when production is restarted, further addressing the threat of counterfeiting.
To complete the bottling process, the wine bottles are packed in cases of 1,2,3 or 6 on which the vintage is laser-scribed using the Château’s original Domino DSL 55 laser. This laser also marks any wine bottle larger in size than a magnum as well as any bottles that are returned to the Château for re-labelling, once verified as authentic.

Pierre OIivier Clouet added, “This packaging solution meets all of our requirements in terms of product identification onto multiple substrates while at the same time, maintaining the elegance of the wine bottle and the aesthetics of our product label and reassuring customers that they are buying an authentic product.”


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