Removing the label from a bottle of wine may seem like an every day occurrence; surely people everywhere have their reasons for scraping fingernails against a square of paper. Perhaps some people remove the label to make a wine collage. Perhaps some people remove one to fill up an empty space in their scrapbook. Perhaps some people even remove it to compose a ransom note entirely out of wine tags. But, most likely, people simply remove wine labels so they can collect them. Whether these labels are taken off to collect memorabilia or taken off to collect ransoms, one things stands in between the label and the bottle: adhesive. Yes, this substance can leave you in a bit of a sticky situation.
Removing a wine label may seem easy enough; you simply peel and pull. But, that peeling and pulling can often lead to ripping and tearing, something that ruins the quality of the label and defeats the purpose of preserving it. Instead, taking some time to learn that removing what’s outside is almost as much of an art form as drinking what’s inside can be the difference between a label worth keeping and one worth throwing in the trash. Below are few of the ways to not label yourself frustrated when trying to tug off the tag.
Adhesive Tape: The use of adhesive tape may seem like a bit of a conundrum; after all, it’s the adhesive that is the problem to begin with. But, using tape to pull off the label actually works well. You can purchase this kind of tape from a wine magazine, or you can simply make you own. All this process involves is placing a large piece of clear tape against the wine’s label and pulling it off. This won’t remove the entire label, as the layer of the label with glue on it will remain adhered to the bottle, but it will take off the part of the label that is worth saving.
Pros: Relatively simply to do, time saving, and leaves your wine label with a “laminated look" as a plastic film covers it.
Cons: If you purchase via a wine magazine, this process can be a bit pricey. You may also prefer a wine label without the “laminated look. " If that’s the case, this avenue is not for you.
Blow Dryer: Blow dryers aren’t just for hair anymore; they are also for wine bottles. Using one of these appliances can help melt the glue that is keeping the label adhered to the wine bottle. Once this glue is melted, the label should come off with relative ease.
Pros: This process is cost free for those who already own a blow dryer. Not only this, but your wine bottle will surely have that silky, manageable, no-frizz look afterwards.
Cons: The air from a blow dryer might not be hot enough to cause the glue to reach its melting point. If this is the case, the label will not peel off easily and may rip as it’s being pulled.
Hot Water Method: Using heat on the inside to remove the label on the outside is a method that some people have found successful. The first step in this, naturally, is to make sure the wine bottle is completely empty; we don‘t want any drops going to waste. The next step involves filling the bottle with hot water and allowing this water to sit until the edges of the label start to come up, as if holding their arms up in surrender. Grabbing the surrendering arms of the label and gently tugging should be enough to get the label completely off.
Pros: As long as you have a hot water faucet, this is a highly affordable procedure. It is also laden with simplicity.
Cons: The bottle may be too thick for the hot water to really influence the label and convince it to come off. The label may also be too hard to peel or only parts of it may refuse to come off.
Soaking in Water: When in doubt, soak. Simply placing the bottle in a sink full of hot water and adding a few drops of dishwasher detergent may be all you need to remove a label, even a stubborn one insisting on staying put. If the label doesn’t simply come off, it will at least come loose, allowing you to edge along it with a razor blade or putty knife.
Pros: This seems to be the most successful method of label removal, particularly for labels that are European as several of these generally use a less sticky adhesive.
Cons: Soaking the bottle in water that is too hot can cause the label to discolor and using more than two or three drops of detergent can cause the label to wrinkle and wilt. Additionally, using razors or knives to edge along the label can be dangerous, particularly when wine is involved.
Soaking in Gasoline: Yes, some people actually suggest the method of soaking the bottle of wine in gasoline for ten minutes and waiting for the label to simply fall off. Because hey, if alcohol and gasoline aren’t a good combo, then we don’t know what is.
Pros: You can put your fire insurance to use.
Cons: You may blow up yourself, or perhaps worse, your entire wine cellar. If water doesn’t do the trick, forego the gasoline and instead try soaking the bottle overnight in a wall-paper removal solution.
Wine label removal can be a bit tricky, but with a little trial and error, you should be able to find a method that works well for you, at least most of the time. If nothing seems to aid removal, and all else fails, simply do away with collecting wine labels: just collect wine bottles instead
Jennifer Jordan is the senior editor at http://www.savoreachglass.com With a vast knowledge of wine etiquette, she writes articles on everything from how to hold a glass of wine to how to hold your hair back after too many glasses. Ultimately, she writes her articles with the intention that readers will remember wine is fun and each glass of anything fun should always be savored.