Saturday, April 30, 2016

The 5 First Growth Wooden Wine Crates

In 1855 Napoleon named that the best vineyards in all of France were the following:
  • Chateau Haut-Brion
  • Chateau Lafite Rotshchild
  • Chateau Margaux
  • Chateau Mouton Rothschild
  • Chateau Latour
He called these vineyards the First Growths. The next best of Bordeaux are called Second Growths, the third best are Third Growths, and all the way up to Fifth Growth.

All growths are Grand Cru vineyards which are considered the finest in the world. The First Growths are the best of Grand Cru.

Most Grand Cru vineyards make wooden wine crates to store and protect their bottles in transit. Since all of these wines are imported from France, there's a great need to make sure none break during their sea voyage.

Each vineyard has something unique and special about it, and their wine crates reflect this individuality. Chateau Haut-Brion for example is a different shape than any other wine crate. It's shorter and wider than the other four. The crate most similar to an Haut-Brion would be the Chateau Y'quem 12 bottle, but no other crate is quite the same.

Mouton Rothschild typically makes slightly larger bottles than the others, so it's a bit longer and taller. On occasion Latour makes a larger bottle and crate format as well. It's more or less vintage-specific.

Margaux and Lafite stick to the standard for the most part. They come out with the same sized crate just about every year.

Obtaining all 5 First Growths in one collection is very difficult. This is mainly because investors and collectors buy them by the case and don't release them until it's time for auction. When you sell the wine complete with the original crate your going to have a larger profit margin. Not only are you offering the complete collection, but it's a solid indication that a good quality of provenance was maintained. Holding your wine in an original crate keeps the bottles cool, dark and safe.

If you're able to find all 5 First Growth wine crates in one collection it's an investment in itself. It's not uncommon that you'll find a collector willing to pay a significant premium for one or all of them at once. This happens all the time.

The one thing you can't go wrong with is that all will look great in your wine room or cellar. This is especially the case if your a Bordeaux enthusiast. You'd be able to display the best of the best, and everyone will wonder how in the world you acquired them!


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