A recent New York Times article about a hurricane-damaged wine storage facility in Manhattan quotes Hortense Bernard, a wine store manager: the storm waters should not have damaged the wine. But rapid changes in temperature and humidity can hurt wine. And, she added, “you can’t sell a $1,000 bottle of wine without a label.” What? A perfectly preserved Opus One is worthless if the label peels off? A Château Haut Brion is nothing if naked? Labels are pretty adhesive, but this seems like an opportunity.
What about using marks like potters and silversmiths use, the ones that the Antiques Roadshow folks are always pointing out, finding vintage and provenance where the layman sees scribbles and mystery. Shouldn’t the wine industry have something similar on the bottles of its more expensive vintages? Or how about a chip inside–something a little more durable (and informative) than paper with a sticky backing? With all the Silicon Valley millionaire wine collectors, why hasn’t this innovation caught on? (Sort of the oenophile’s carfax.) Hey, even Budweiser has a Born-On-Date. Shouldn’t a Rousseau Chambertin, which could sell for $1200 a bottle, have its identity etched in the glass?