Why no barcodes/UPCs?

So we have this thread going on in Wine Pimps about scanning accuracy at the register in a big box retail store.

Which begs the question: Why would a winery not want or overlook barcodes on all it’s wines?



Just like with screwcaps, it used to be that only cheap, grocery store wines had barcodes. Even though we switched to screw caps with the 2004 vintage, it wasn’t until the 2007 vintage that we added barcodes. It did still have a stigma associated with it, in my mind. But we realized that so many accounts were switching over to scanned inventory control that we went ahead and added them.

Isn’t there an expense attached to having a barcode? How much is it?

It depends on how exclusive the bar is. For some its just a secret knock. But if it’s a club, usually at least $10,000 per year. (That also usually covers green fees.)

I print out all my barcodes using Cellartracker and stick them on one-by-one.

For a lot of European wineries, barcode scanning for POS and inventory is something they never see at home, and so simply don’t think to add them to their labeling.

Just yesterday, while visiting the Blue Goat in Traverse City with one of my Italian winemakers, after watching the exchange between me and the shopkeeper, who was booking new items into the system, Gianni asked me, “Why does he ask you about barcodes?” He had no thought of how they were used in retail wine shops.

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I think you can get a set of 100 UPC codes for about $1,500, plus some smaller amount per year. I originally thought that it wasn’t that big a deal not to have them, and no one has refused to carry my beer because I lack the codes. I do put store-generated stickers on about half of what I sell to stores. Now I’m just trying to use up my current UPC-less labels so I can add them with the next print run.

It cost us about $3500 to get registered and receive a block of (I think) 100 numbers. The good thing is we’ll never need more than that because we don’t have to create a new number when we change vintages. It’s nice that the wine industry seems to have decided upon that approach. We do have to pay an annual fee of about $200 to maintain the registration.

In another life I sat on the UPC symbol selection sub-committee.

Wow, the annual fee used to be $800. And whenever you changed vintage, you had to change the last number of the code. For a tiny production, it was anathema (my favorite word today neener ).

Glad to hear it’s easier now, but I like Randy’s solution the best!

Just bought 100 UPCs for $760. It looks like the formula is based on revenue and number of UPCs. Since my revenue is on the low side (but growing), the cost was lower.

I sell quite a few wines that leave off UPC’s because they are restaurant only wines, and most retailers (ie. chains) won’t bring in or ask about wines without a UPC, because they have to hand sticker them and that takes too much time.

You got to love the laziness.

It is sometimes the case that wineries will release the same wine under two labels, one with bar code and one without. The bar coded version can be stocked in supermarkets which require bar codes whereas the non bar coded alternate label can be placed “on premise” or with independent wine stores. It is all the same juice, just different labels. It protects the brand of the non bar coded label from appearing mass market.

This occurs in my locality with Crane Lake/Coastal Vines. Same wines, the former has bar codes whereas the latter does not.

I’d be interested to hear more producer responses to this, but much like Marc who is a retailer, it’s a must:

  1. Accuracy: It’s that important
  2. Ease: It’s that important

I have gotten a significant number of “we are a resturant wine” responses in my day.
Hoping that changes for next vintage.

OK, I am a retailer for a grocery chain here in Oregon. We have about 14 stores that each have a wine steward who gets to buy for their store. If a wine has a regular 12 digit UPC it must be sent in to corporate to be “authorized”. Until it gets authorized it will not “scan” through my receiving back door. What this means is that I cannot sell this wine. If the wine has no UPC or a Euro 13 digit UPC I do not have to go through this process. I can bring it in immediately. I do get a bit upset at people who change their UPC evry vintage. I certainly understand a few wineries who due to changesin prices every vintage, make this change. Most do not need to do this.

This comes in handy more on the high end. For example, say I have three vintages of Silver Oak Napa Cab. I would like to be able to track when the X vintage bottle is sold versus the Y vintage. That helps me stay on top of things. But on the level of everyday wines, say, Castle Rock Pinot, it doesn’t make a difference. If you have three bottles of 200 left when a case of 2007 comes in, you just put the 2006 in front of the newer bottles or leave the slot unfilled until all three 2006 are gone.

On the high end (say $25+) I personally would like more bar code changes vintage to vintage.

All due respect, I hate that approach. Each wine is unique and should be labeled as such, especially for a vintage change. I understand why for the trade that makes it easier, but for the consumer it really dilutes the ability to use the UPC/EAN as a tool for inventory etc. My little diatribe on this: About UPC and EAN Barcodes - CellarTracker Support" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

If and when you guys look at RFID for the future, please, please, please, one unique code for each unique product you create. Pretty please…

I really dilutes the integrity of the system when producers use the same UPC for multiple vintages. (some even use the same UPC for multiple products, go figure)

I think our responsibility as retailers (big box), is to create a new SKU for each new item, so of course we like to see individual UPCs.