SA to launch Braille wine bottle

13 July 2005

Consol Glass has teamed up with the Worcester Winelands Association (WWA), Wines of South Africa and the Institute of the Blind to launch a unique Braille wine bottle – a world first for the industry.

The idea of a Braille bottle – developed by WWA spokesperson Bridget Zietkiewicz and Consol Glass wine business manager Louise Farquharson – stemmed from the fact that Worcester is the South African support and skills development centre for the disabled, with the blind being an integral part of the local community.

“A portion of monies raised from the sale of wine in Braille bottles, which carry the legend ‘Product of Worcester, 100% South African’ in Braille, will go to the Institute of the Blind and Pioneer Printers,” said Farquharson.

Consol Glass has invested over R590 000 to tool-up operations in the Cape to produce the Braille bottle. Pioneer Printers, Worcester’s dedicated blind translation, print and production house, helped with the design and layout of the Braille imprint on the bottle.

The first bottles will be produced at the end of August, with an initial run of 400 000 in 2005.

“We want to put Worcester on the map as a serious wine producer,” said Zietkiewicz. “Already we supply major stock to labels that are winning top awards. Now we are beginning to brand ourselves and use our produce to gain recognition and demand for our own winemakers.

“This way we also have the privilege of being involved in the starting phase of a programme to promote the use of Braille and provide equal access to product information for all consumers, including the blind and partially sighted,” Zietkiewicz said.

To help launch the Braille bottle, the WWA and Wines of South Africa, with assistance from the Crank Handle Club and the Porsche Club, will stage an “Amazing Rally Race” in September.

Ten teams – with a blind navigator, a driver and a celebrity in each car – will race from Worcester through Franschhoek and Durbanville and to Cape Town selling cases of wine in Braille bottles to top restaurateurs en route.

The race will end at a stand at Winex showcasing Worcester and its special brand from the vine.

Another leg of the race will see the Braille bottles being whisked across London in time for the Mega Tasting in Billingsgate in October, championed by Wines of South Africa.

Winex, South Africa’s premier wine event, takes place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 21 to 23 September and at Johannesburg’s Sandton Convention Centre from 25 to 28 October. reporter