Braille wine labels

May 1, 2008 10:23:00 AM PDT
Whether it's red or white, every wine has its own character. But only one winemaker has gone out of his way to make sure his wines are accessible to people who are blind.

M. Chapoutier's wines are among the most famous in the France's Rhone Valley. They are also the only winemaker who has taken the initiative to print all its labels in Braille.

Greg Polman and Jim Kesterloot are wine lovers. Greg says being able to read labels is important to him.

"The thing that's helpful with the label is it gives you the appellation, the name of the wine and the year and the color so that you have so you know which wine you're opening," said Polman.

M. Chapoutier's Braille labels generated attention among wine lovers who are blind and visually impaired.

"I heard that there was a company that Brailled their wine about seven, eight years ago, but I never investigated it and it didn't really become familiar with it until recently," said Polman.

"I had a friend who had a child that was blind, and he first told me about the wine," Kesterloot said.

They have been printing its label in Braille since 1996. Laura Jensen, director of marketing for Terlato wine, M. Chapoutier's importer, says they started doing this to honor the founder of the vineyard.

"The story origin was from Sizeranne family, which was the founder and the owner of a vineyard property in Hermitage. Monier de La Sizeranne was also president of the Association of the Blind in France, and he was blind, and he started and created the abbreviated version Braille, so when the vineyards holding passed to the Chapoutier family, they named the wine Sizeranne, and in tribute to Monier de la Sizeranne, he put Braille on all of the labels all of his wines," said Jensen.

M. Chapoutier produces a wide range of red, white, rose and dessert wines.

"The most famous white wine varietal of the Rhone Valley is Marsanne, and then in the Rhone valley, other famous varietal is Syrah and his red wines are Cera," said Jensen.

Binny's in Chicago is the largest seller.

After tasting all the wine, both Jim and Greg favored...

"I like Sizeranne," Jim said.

"I like the Sizeranne. It's real nice red wine, it has nice flavor," said Greg.

To learn more about m. Chapoutier family and their wines, go to their website at http://terlatowines.com/wines/france/m_chapoutier/.


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