Wine Labels with UPC and QR Codes

As a CellarTracker user, one of the great new features I love is the Android version of the application on my Droid device with it’s built-in bar-code scanner. I can scan any wine with a UPC code on it’s label, which I’m guessing is about 30-40% of wines at this point. I can scan a bottle and make notes about it while out at a restaurant; tasting room or event; or in my cellar. My question is why some wineries decide to include the UPC code on the back label and why some don’t? And more importantly with the advance of technology, will we see more wineries adding UPC or even perhaps QR codes or even RFID tags to their back labels?

For those unfamiliar with QR codes and RFID tags, here are some links:

QR code - Wikipedia" onclick=";return false;

Radio-frequency identification - Wikipedia" onclick=";return false;

Discuss! blahblah

Bar codes cost money, both from a direct and indirect (label redesign and reprinting) standpoint. For small and one-off lots it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to buy a bar code to put on a label. Most of the bar code cost is up-front registration costs with GS1 (the bar code utility company). In addition, some larger firms that are shooting for the restaurant (glass pour) market with their wine will leave the bar code off the label to make the wine less attractive to stores, who generally want a bar code on everything.


I accidentally discovered this feature last week on my iPhone version of I have about 10 different bottles in the house, but only one has a barcode. The scanning function worked well and brought up the correct barcode, but brought up a list of wines from that winery (Stolpman), not the specific wine I scanned. Not sure if the other Stolpman wines share the same barcode. Will have to try it with additional bottles next time I go to my off site. Seems like it could have great potential, but I’ll need to play with it a bit more to figure out what that is.



Actually, this is not true for QR codes. Anyone can make a QR code and use it. GS1 is also a not for profit organization that sets standards globally not a company.

Gene, thanks for the clarification on GS1. I knew they were not for profit, the words just weren’t coming last night.

So, Gene based on what you’re saying don’t you think the ingenious winemakers/wineries (Larry Schaffer perhaps?) would be ahead of the curve if they start adding some QR codes on their labels to get people to go to their web sites? That was kind of my thought in starting the thread.