We all know how
frustrating it can be trying to remove some labels from wine
bottles. Removing labels used to be quite simple, but new glues
have been developed to prevent labels from coming off in
restaurant wine buckets. These glues make it difficult to remove
the labels at all, but one of the following methods will almost always
Several different glues are used today and you cant tell
which one was used by looking at the label. No single technique
works every time on every label, but there are some relatively
safe bets. First try to peel the label off starting in a corner.
If you are lucky and the winery used the new peel and
stick type of label, the label will come right off
(However, it will immediately stick to anything it comes in
contact with!). Most times you will not be so lucky.
The Blow-drier Method - Some of the new glues are
unaffected by water, but will melt enough to slide the label off
the bottle after toasting the label with a blow-drier
for about 5 minutes. A heat gun will work faster.
The Tape Method - This
method separates the layer of the label with the image on it from
the layer with the glue.
a product called Labeloff Label Saver ($8.95) which works 98% of the
time. It's a package of clear plastic sheets with an aggresive glue on one side.
You must follow the instructions carefully.
Or you can contact the manufacturer directly:
Pentad Group, Inc.
106 Pentad Plaza
1446 N.W. 2nd Ave.
Boca Raton, FL 33432
You can also do it
yourself. Go to any office supply store and buy a
roll of clear 3 wide strapping (packing) tape.
1. Cut off two strips of tape that are about 4 wider than
2. Fill the bottle with VERY hot water (trying not to get the
label wet). Wipe the bottle dry.
3. Put a strip of paper about 1/2 wide across the sticky
side of both ends of the tape so the ends wont stick to the
4. Working from one side of the bottle to the other, attach the
tape to the bottle so that it just extends (about 1/4)
above the label. Bring the tape across the label, using some type
of straight edge to smooth it out as you go.
5. Once you have the first strip in place, if it doesnt
fully cover the label, attach the second strip right under the
6. Use the back of a spoon to rub hard all over the label.
7. Starting at one edge, slowly start to peel off the tape.
8. Once the label is removed, trim the edges with a scissors.
The Soaking Method - this is becoming less effective as fewer
water-soluble glues are being used.
Equipment: 1 tall Igloo water jug (the picnic kind), tall enough
to hold a bottle, Ivory Detergent, paper towels, wax paper, a
single edged razor blade, a heavy book, a cork, and a glass of
1. Fill the jug with warm water and 2-3 drops of Ivory Detergent.
2. Fill the wine bottle itself with VERY hot water and immerse it
in the jug.
3. After about 30 minutes, the label should either be floating in
the jug or loosely clinging to the bottle. If not, continue the
soak for 2 hours or overnight.
4. If the label still isnt off, take the bottle out of the
jug and fill it again with very warm water. Cram an old cork into
the top and dry the bottle well. Get the label as dry as
5. Lay the bottle on a towel to steady it. Use the single edged
razor blade to scrape the label off. Start working from the left
side of the label, following the curve of the bottle, to about
the middle of the label. Then start from the right side of the
label and cut back to the center. Work back and forth until the
label is off.
6. Put the label between towels to blot of as much moisture as
possible. Be careful! Some of the new glues are of the
peel and stick variety and will stick to anything. If
you find one of these, press the label down on some plain white
paper and trim around the label.
7. Place the label on a piece of waxed paper with paper towels on
top of it and weight it down with a heavy book until the label
8. The glass of wine? You know what thats for!
The Kerosene Method - This came to us from Ross Herbert of
Perth, Australia. He claims this has worked for him 99% if the time!
1. Take a single sheet of paper kitchen towel and fold it so it can cover the
2. Soak the sheet of paper in kerosene and place it over the label.
3. Wrap the label area with cling film (Saran) and leave it for a couple of
4. Removing the cling film and paper towel. Llift one corner of the label gently
with a fine bladed knife or scalpel to see if the glue is softened. Re-wrap with
the towel and cling film if it doesn't look to be ready. In most cases paper
type labels will come off easily after 2 hours.
5. Lay the label face down, and clean off any excess glue still on the label
with the kerosene
6. Dry it in the sun or use a hair dryer. In most cases the kerosene will
totally evaporate leaving very little odor.
7. You may then wish to laminate it to ensure it stays in good condition.
Joel’s Method - Forget the darned label and buy another
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