Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Largest collection of wine labels: Alain Laliberte breaks Guinness world record
TORONTO, Canada -- Toronto resident Alain Laliberte owns about 160,000 wine labels from around the wold, carefully stored in 123 shoeboxes; he already counted over 20,000 unique labels, which means
he has enough to break the current Guinness world record of 16,349 labels and to set the new world record for the Largest collection of wine labels,
according to the World Record Academy: www.worldrecordacademy.com/.
Photo: Alain Laliberte sorts through a sample of his collection of wine labels at his Etobicoke home. Laliberte has a collection of 160,000 labels from around the world. Photo: Chris Young (enlarge photo)
The Guinness world record for the largest collection of wine and champagne labels belongs to Sophia Vaharis (Greece) and consists of 16,349 different labels as of 17 January 2012 in Athens, Greece.
Guinness World Records also recognized the world record for the Largest collection of bottled water labels, set by Lorenzo Pescini of Florence, Italy, who has a collection of 8,650 different bottled water labels from 185 different countries of 1,683 different springs, as of 12 January 2009, that he has amassed since 1992.
"It's interesting that some people find an interest in these small pieces of paper," Laliberte says. "Some of them are pieces of art."
Laliberte began as a sommelier.
Originally from Quebec City, he studied at l'Institut du tourisme et de l'hotellerie du Quebec, the province's tourism and hotel-industry school.
In 1995, he went to Bordeaux, France, for wine-tasting training. Over time, the wine specialist wound up placing bottles in his oven to help peel off the labels.
He eventually began writing to wine producers to ask them to send him labels.
But his collection really expanded a few years ago. One of his friends, an avid collector, died and he inherited 125,000 labels.
Among his treasured items are one-of-a-kind drafts from Chateau Rauzan-Segla, a Bordeaux wine. Those labels were never used so his labels are unique. The oldest item in his collection comes from Germany and dates back to 1859.
Some of his labels refer to countries that no longer exist, like Yugoslavia. Others come from countries that few people associate with wine production, like Ethiopia or Egypt.
Some labels depict animals, flowers or sports. Some are pieces of art while others are downright ribald. He has no plans to ever stop collecting.
These days, Laliberte is looking for labels from Sweden. "It's fascinating," he says. "It has allowed me to learn more about wine's culture, geography and history."
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