Czech wine company produces labels with Braille text

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Studying wine labels can be a daunting business if you are not a connoisseur and if you spend hours making up your mind what to select from your local wine-shop think how much harder things are for the blind, who would need to bring a friend or depend entirely on the shop assistant. Now a wine producer in Moravia has taken a step to change that. The Galant winery from Mikulov has started producing the first wine labels with letters in Braille. We spoke to one of the firm's co-owners Martin Marian to find out more about this pioneering endeavor in the Czech wine business.

"According to Czech law there is so much unnecessary information that needs to go on a wine label that we though well, why not add some information that would be helpful to blind people. I think that adding information in Braille does not trouble the sighted in any way and it makes all the difference to the blind."

How has it been received by the blind community?

"They really appreciate the idea because when choosing a bottle of wine they don't need to seek help from the salesman or shop assistant. They can study the labels and make up their mind in their own good time which wine they want."

What information does such a label contain in Braille?

"They have all the basic information - about the variety - the specific kind of grapes from which the wine has been made - the attributes or information about the sugar content in the grapes and then also the vintage and the winery."

I believe that you won some prizes for this label?

"Yes. Firstly we won the Czech Award for Package of the Year 2006 in the category of drink labels, which sent us to the international competition where we won the World Star Package 2006 as well so we should go to Chicago to pick up the prize."

Finally, do you think that this will catch on - that other companies will follow your example?

"I hope so because that kind of basic information in Braille could be placed on food products as well and on medicines which seems even more important. For a blind person who takes several medicines it is vital that he can read what's on the packaging. So I really hope that other producers - not just wine producers will follow our example."

A company living up to its name. And speaking of prizes - the Galant wine business from Mikulov has also received the 2006 Bridges Award - a prize awarded to those who help to improve the quality of life of disabled people.