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She was the pr lady, working in Dallas, for a Lubbock winery in 1997. She found me through some referral; she wanted personalized LABELS for wine bottles. Told her no deal....could offer ENGRAVING.

It was about 6 weeks before Christmas and a law firm wanted their name on every bottle of 100 cases they had purchased from the winery. Two last names only. I quoted the pr lady a price and we wrangled for 20 seconds before agreeing on ten bucks per bottle for engraving and gold rubbed in each.

It turned out to be a two week job. I assigned one of my part-time ladies the task of opening a case, taking out the 12 bottles, drawing a baseline on each, setting the lined bottles on a table, on my left side, for me to reach and engrave. I set each engraved bottle on a table on my right side. She would wash of the line with alcohol, rub in the gold, shine up the bottle, and put it back in a case that would hold 12.

When that case was filled with finished bottles, we'd start the process all over. It took us two full weeks...10 days...working the job, along with other misc jobs that came in during the two weeks.

I was doing my part every 55 seconds before grabbing another bottle. (I could do it faster now!) If I had taken a full minute per bottle, it would have been a six-hundred dollar per hour job. It was actually a bit more than that when all the dust only 55 seconds per bottle.

Finally, every bottle was engraved and repacked. The winery's pr lady sent a truck and driver who had an envelope with the check for twelve grand for the two week job engraving their 1200 wine bottles!

Pretty good for a college dropout.


That scenario hasn't come along since then, though it certainly could. Now, the in-store events are where the bulk of my wine bottle engraving is done. Though a zillion other bottles out there in stores are filled with grape juice, it's the 'gold ' in the engraving process that is most intoxicating to those of us who make the bottles special with inscriptions, done by hand, with a dental drill. Painless. Profitable!


The next Ken Brown Engraving Workshop is July 26-29. Call 214.250.6958 if you want it. Three seat are still available.

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