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Dear Dr. Vinny,
I recently had friends over for spinach pasta torte and poured a bottle of 1997 Chapoutier Châteauneuf-du-Pape. My wife pointed out bumps on the label and wondered if these were Braille. Is this Braille? Why does this wine have Braille on the label? Are there any other wines that regularly put Braille on their label?
—H.T., Hinsdale, Ill.
It is indeed Braille. The story goes that in 1993, a blind French singer named Gilbert Montagné told his friend Michel Chapoutier about his difficulties in picking out wine in wine shops. Chapoutier was the first winery in the world to figure out how to put all those bumps on their labels, and now all of the Chapoutier bottles provide the appellation, name of the wine, vintage and whether it's red or white in Braille. A smattering of other producers around the world have jumped on the Braille bandwagon, but Chapoutier is the most widely distributed.
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