Interview with Massimo Cavazzini, Sales Director of Markem-Imaje South Europe


As of December 8, 2023, Regulation (EU) 2021/2117, published on December 2, 2021, will require new information to be included on the label of each wine and flavored wine. Markem-Imaje, a global provider of supply chain solutions and industrial marking and coding systems, offers the necessary technology to comply with these European regulations.

Let’s start with the most important thing: exactly what new information should a wine label contain?

In general, this regulation establishes the rules on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and protection of geographical indications of flavoured wine products. That is, very specific information is required about the origin of the wine, as well as the ingredients. The expressed intention is a better protection of the consumer by providing him with information that allows him to trace the provenance and composition of the product.

Interview with Massimo Cavazzini, Sales Director of Markem-Imaje South Europe

All this amount of information is considerable, which could clutter and spoil the designs of the labels of each brand… To embed this information efficiently, what new elements can be included in the label?

The most obvious solution is the QR code since it will not spoil the aesthetics of the label or the presentation of the product. This code makes it possible to condense all the mandatory information, such as nutritional data, consumption advice, the list of ingredients or sustainable approaches.

In this sense, the regulation implies an increase in costs for wine producers since they will have to modify their labels and add this new information. How does Markem-Imaje help with this?
The economic aspect is important, but let’s not forget that many companies have also made a commitment to the sustainability of their business model. At Markem-Imaje we help to achieve both objectives. We have several technologies available, such as laser printing that dispenses with the use of inks. For companies that opt for continuous inkjet (CIJ), thermal transfer (TTO) or Print & Apply technology, our solutions minimize the ecological impact thanks to the use of consumables that are environmentally friendly. All our solutions are developed with the aim of optimizing coding efficiency.

The main challenge of this new regulation is its implementation since, as we said, wineries will have to assume the expense of changing their labels. How would you recommend starting this process?

First of all, the manufacturer and the bottler should know which printing technology they should apply to achieve their quality and cost objectives in terms of labeling. It is important to understand what investment is necessary and what results it will bring in the medium term.

The exact composition of the wines may change during their production, during bottling and during storage. Therefore, from Markem-Imaje they propose the printing of QR codes directly on the production line of each wine and not in a general way in the entire production. What are the advantages of this system?
This system offers more flexibility and helps to improve the accuracy of the data that is included, since the printing of the code occurs at a late point in the supply chain. In this way, each label represents the individual bottle that the consumer will have in his hand and not generic information about the entire batch.

Although both labels and QR codes can be produced externally, I mentioned earlier that Markem-Imaje offers an integral solution: using laser or thermal transfer overprinting (TTO) technology together with software capable of generating dynamic QR codes and cameras to verify their legibility. Why are TTO or laser printing interesting?

In laser technology we can highlight above all the code quality and printing speed, while the great advantage of TTO technology with Mark & Read cameras is that the code quality is already checked at the very moment of printing. Keep in mind that the investment in a laser equipment is higher than in the case of TTO, however, a laser printer requires little maintenance and dispenses with consumables. However, it always depends on the individual needs of each company what the appropriate technology will be.

And what role does your CoLOS Software play in this whole process?

Whatever the hardware decision, CoLOS links the MES/ERP to the printers to automatically retrieve information such as the batch number. It also facilitates the serialization and aggregation of unique QR codes.

The new EU regulation follows the line of change towards the new GS1 Digital Link, which is intended to replace the traditional 1D barcode as the standard for global product coding. Do the QR codes proposed by Markem-Imaje also comply with these regulations?

Of course. The GS1 ID encodes a lot of information, such as lot numbers and expiration dates, which improves traceability and efficiency of the supply chain. Not adopting the global GS1 Digital Link standard is becoming an increasingly less sustainable option for manufacturers. The duty of Markem-Imaje is to accompany the client in this moment of adaptation.

Finally, and with everything we have been told, why should a winery choose Markem-Imaje?

In conclusion, Markem-Imaje provides a single point of contact and offers a complete solution that consists of the marking part with our printers, the CoLOS software, cameras to check the quality of the codes and an attractive portfolio of consumables and services.