Wine bottle shortage?

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Bmd2k1

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High end wines having glue that makes label removal all but impossible makes sense -- it prevents counterfeiting. If I made a wine that sold for $50+ USD per bottle, I'd do the same. There is financial incentive to remove a label from such a bottle and stick it on a $5 bottle.

OTOH, I use very easy to remove and re-stick labels as the commercial value of my wines is $0.00 USD, and I LOVE being able to simply peel the label off, rinse the bottle, and put it on the tree.
What brand of labels?
 

MHSKIBUM

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I usually stick bottles in hot water and let the labels peel off. For stubborn labels I put the bottles in an ice cooler and keep the water warm for 24 hours with a sous vide machine. That just leaves some of the real nasty ones. Unless I'm desperate, I let those go but if you really need every last bottle, let the labels dry, spray them with a slight sprit of WD40 and wrap the label tightly in Saran wrap or piece of a plastic bag. I've never found a label that with a bit of finish scraping/wiping that can defy a 48-hour wrap.
I've also found tired/discouraged/retiring winemakers on Facebook Marketplace who will part with their bottles at a reasonable price, especially if you are willing to buy the entire lot. I just bought the nine cases of bottles, clean and no labels for $50 Cdn. See photo.
 

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wineview

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I usually stick bottles in hot water and let the labels peel off. For stubborn labels I put the bottles in an ice cooler and keep the water warm for 24 hours with a sous vide machine. That just leaves some of the real nasty ones. Unless I'm desperate, I let those go but if you really need every last bottle, let the labels dry, spray them with a slight sprit of WD40 and wrap the label tightly in Saran wrap or piece of a plastic bag. I've never found a label that with a bit of finish scraping/wiping that can defy a 48-hour wrap.
I've also found tired/discouraged/retiring winemakers on Facebook Marketplace who will part with their bottles at a reasonable price, especially if you are willing to buy the entire lot. I just bought the nine cases of bottles, clean and no labels for $50 Cdn. See photo.
What a bargain.
 

dmguptill

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I usually stick bottles in hot water and let the labels peel off. For stubborn labels I put the bottles in an ice cooler and keep the water warm for 24 hours with a sous vide machine. That just leaves some of the real nasty ones. Unless I'm desperate, I let those go but if you really need every last bottle, let the labels dry, spray them with a slight sprit of WD40 and wrap the label tightly in Saran wrap or piece of a plastic bag. I've never found a label that with a bit of finish scraping/wiping that can defy a 48-hour wrap.
I've also found tired/discouraged/retiring winemakers on Facebook Marketplace who will part with their bottles at a reasonable price, especially if you are willing to buy the entire lot. I just bought the nine cases of bottles, clean and no labels for $50 Cdn. See photo.
Seconded. Years ago I bought a couple dozen cases of used bottles on FB marketplace and Craig's list for not too much. Some had labels, some not. Still haven't used them all up!
 

Gussman

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I saw on the news that there was a bottle shortage affecting wineries. Hmmm, I thought I’d reach out to the two sources I use to buy bottles (25-50 cases / year). One is a smaller reseller, the other a large distributor, where you need to commit to a pallet of bottles. Neither had bottles to sell. The distributor said it was a 4-8 month problem, but would not commit on any future orders because of the supply chain uncertainty. I don’t need the bottles until next summer, but without them I’d have a problem.

Fortunately, I found a fellow wine maker a state over that has excess, which I purchased and need to go pick up. Just wanted to give others a heads up in case you come across the same situation.

.
Awesome. Which state is the supplier located in?
 

Gussman

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Ditto above but sometimes Goo Gone doesn’t work. In those cases a bit of lacquer thinner on a paper towel does the job after scraping off the label. I am careful when rinsing them not to get anything inside the bottle.
Lemon Oil from yYoung Living safe and removes labels.
 

wineview

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I lived in Hoboken for 40 years. It’s a city full of restaurants. I would go down to the corner cafe every Thursday on recycling night and pick whatever I wanted.
 

NorCal

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I guess I am in the minority. I reuse my bottles as I know they are properly cleaned. I don’t trust that others that I give my wine to that they did it well enough, nor do I want to spend the time to thoroughly clean and remove labels of hundreds of bottles each year. New bottles just goes into the average cost per bottle of finished wine ($6) for me.
 
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I guess I am in the minority. I reuse my bottles as I know they are properly cleaned. I don’t trust that others that I give my wine to that they did it well enough, nor do I want to spend the time to thoroughly clean and remove labels of hundreds of bottles each year. New bottles just goes into the average cost per bottle of finished wine ($6) for me.

I'm right there with you although I do reuse bottles from my wine that is returned to me. To be fair to others though you probably get your for a fairly decent price. I don't do too bad myself a $10 - $12 a case. If one had to buy at retail prices then include shipping the cost of new might be too much to bare.
 

NorCal

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I'm right there with you although I do reuse bottles from my wine that is returned to me. To be fair to others though you probably get your for a fairly decent price. I don't do too bad myself a $10 - $12 a case. If one had to buy at retail prices then include shipping the cost of new might be too much to bare.
Last year we were quoted $10.27, local pick-up, but found some bottles on sale at a wine supply store in Napa for a discount $8. I got 50 cases and shared with others.
 
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Last year we were quoted $10.27, local pick-up, but found some bottles on sale at a wine supply store in Napa for a discount $8. I got 50 cases and shared with others.

I'm always on the look out. This past year I got 40 free cases of 375s. I kept 2 and gave the rest away. A few years ago a winery had an excess of what I call wide neck bottles for $6 a case. I think I bought 50 cases, kept 30 and sold the others to fellow winemakers for the cost. Both of these were found through my local vineyard association. The 10 - 12 dollar cases come from my commercial contacts so I feel I'm pretty lucky.
 
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I suspect formative years have a lot to do with perspective. My parents grew up during the Great Depression, and their mindset was to waste nothing and make-do. Don't pay someone else to do what you can do yourself. This was taught to me at an early age. I've passed this along to the next generation, so my sons can replace a ceiling fan and repair a toilet. Both operate under the do-it-yourself concept.

As a result, soaking labels and cleaning bottles is normal. When I'm done, my bottles are cleaner than new ones.

This post is intended to encourage folks to do what is necessary to achieve their goals.
 

oppyland

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Don't pay someone else to do what you can do yourself. This was taught to me at an early age. I've passed this along to the next generation, so my sons can replace a ceiling fan and repair a toilet. Both operate under the do-it-yourself concept.
Same here. My youngest daughter, who is a veterinary opthalmologist, rebuilt the carburetor on her lawnmower (an old used one she bought for $50) by herself. I was almost prouder of that than when she graduated with her DVM. ;)
This post is intended to encourage folks to do what is necessary to achieve their goals.
Absolutely! Although I might actually buy bottles if I could get them new for less than a buck a piece!

EDIT: forgot to mention, I picked up 6 cases of empties from the local winery. They're using different labels - much easier to remove!
 
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Scooter68

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Our city (60K Population) has enough flow in the recycling center that I can, if I want to get picky, take only specific known brands of wine empties and then know exactly what label removal requires. I do find it frustrating as at least one person mentioned that front and back labels on the same wine are using different label glues. The front melts right off in hot water. The other, a 3 step process, Soak - peel Top layer, Soak again, scrape second layer, soak scrub with scotch brite pad and dishwashing liquid concentrated. Then rinse and initial sanitization before storing.
The key for me is to start very early, like when I ferment the batch, start collecting and cleaning the bottles for that batch that won't be bottled for at least 9 months out.
 

Sailor323

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Local restaurants are a good source of used bottles. Most of the bottle in my cellar came from restaurants.
 
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The key for me is to start very early, like when I ferment the batch, start collecting and cleaning the bottles for that batch that won't be bottled for at least 9 months out.
I collect bottles continuously, and process them as soon as I get them. This avoids that last minute rush!

A local winery is happy to give away empties -- I got 5 cases (including 3 cases of blue bottles!) last month and my son got 4 cases a few days ago. These bottles are not ideal for me -- flat bottomed (I prefer a punt) and the labels can be a PITA to get off. However, the winery rinses the bottles as soon as they are emptied, so I don't have to deal with mold (although I check!).

Side note -- these bottles are straight sided (I HATE the ones that are wider at the top), and without the punt are a bit shorter, so they fit into every case I have. This is an advantage.

So I setup an assembly line -- half a scoop of Oxyclean in the sink with hot water, fill 8 bottles, and let them soak. 30 minutes later I peel off the outer layer and scrape what's left. Some peel cleanly, some do not. The ones that don't get sprayed with Goo Gone, and 30 minutes later I wipe them with a paper towel, then wash the outside with dish soap. Repeat until the water gets too cold.

Two years ago I purchased 10 cases of Bordeaux bottles as part of a group purchase at $11/case. I had ramped up wine production and knew I was not going to have enough bottles. Since then I'm ramped up the bottle search, and currently have plenty to bottle my remaining 2020 reds, and am in good position to bottle the 2021 wines next summer and fall.

My local price for bottles, including tax, is about $16/case. Using the money I'm not spending on bottles, I can buy more wine making materials!
:r

All that said, I admit it IS nice to not have to mess with cleaning bottles ....
 
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Like a lot of you, I'm into recycling/reuse. I reuse my own bottles (triple rinse, drain and dry), and delabel certain commercial wines that we buy. The best way I've found to delabel is using heat. After my wife is finished with baking in the oven, and it cools to about 300 deg. F, I will put a load of bottles in for 5 to 10 min. to soften the glue. Then using a pair of heavy leather gloves, I use a knife to peal the corner of a label off and then grab the corner and slowly pull. Generally, the entire label comes off leaving little residue. The trick is not to soften the glue too much, so that it sticks to the paper of the label. Too hot or too long, and the glue gets too soft and wants to stick to the bottle. Experiment. YRMV. If one type of label doesn't "behave", it goes straight to recycling.

Greg
 

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