In five years we've now had 3 different printers, but I think I've now found one we'll stick with! Last year we switched because I received an email from a group that was certified "Imprim'Vert" which is an eco certification that guarantees that the print shop recycles everything, from inks to papers to cleaning solutions, etc. My contact was a sales rep that I never actually met, and the actual print shop was near Carcassonne!! Not exactly nearby. They did a fine job, and I really didn't have any complaints, but I also didn't have any reason to go back to them.
This year, during my visit to Sitevi, which I told you about in an earlier post, I FINALLY found a printer that has recycled label paper!!! Last year, when I was ordering my labels the rep said that I would have to place an enormous order in order for him to be able to justify recycled paper. At Sitevi, just by chance my friend Serge and I stopped at a small printer's booth who was also certified "Imprim'Vert", and lo and behold, they said, that they had recycled paper, in two different colors!!! Yahoo!!!! So this year, the rep from "Imprimerie Estrabols" actually came to our house, showed us the paper samples, talked through our design issues, and amazingly, we had a new eco-printer!
Last week we were finally ready to print after numerous changes and final tweaks to the designs. They suggested that I come to the shop to OK the colors as they were printing the labels to be sure that I was happy with the outcome. The recycled paper we are using is a mat finish as opposed to the shiny paper we used for the previous 2 vintages, so the color would surely come out differently. We were also printing a new label that is burgundy-colored, so they wanted to make sure that I was happy with it too.
When I showed up they had the Burgundy colored label on the machine, and the color wasn't bad, but you could barely see the leaf-motif in the back ground, this would not do. So they asked the art department to make a new plate with a higher definition for the artwork. On the second try it was way too pronounced, and ended up looking pink! So we split the difference and it was perfect. Now to print the 3000 labels. (The photo shows the variations in image definition.)
Then on to the green label. After the press was cleaned, I got to watch as Jean-Claude the man in charge of both printing my labels, and being my official host, got out the formula for our "La Gramière" green and started mixing. He filled the printer and started it up. On the new paper, it came out looking too blue. So he started adding more yellow, 100 grams at a time. After two attempts, he just decided to slap a big blob of yellow ink in the printer, and it came out perfectly! He said they used to do it all by trial and error, now they used scales and percentages. Just goes to show, sometimes you should just follow your instincts!
In the end I was there for over 2 hours watching, waiting and learning about the printing process. It's shocking to see how many labels are wasted, as many, if not more than I had ordered!! It's the same at every printer, that's why it's so important to me to have found one that takes recycling and the environment seriously. I still wish I could have found someone who does recycled paper and vegetable-based inks, but apparently for wine labels, the vegetable-based inks aren't stable enough, they tend to fade. I'm sure they'll continue to improve and in a few years I'll be telling you all about our recycled paper, vegetable-based ink labels, but for now you'll have to settle for this.