Thursday, June 30, 2016

Difference Between Bordeaux & Burgundy Wine Crates

The two most popular large wine crates are from Bordeaux and Burgundy. Each one is designed to hold (12) 750ML wine bottles, but both have subtle differences that can make an impact on wine storage.

The first is size:

Avg. Bordeaux: 19 1/2" L X 13" W X 7" H

Avg. Burgundy: 20 1/2" L X 12 1/2" W X 7" H

The slightly different lengths and widths make a big difference because the majority of Bordeaux wine bottles are standard in size, so nearly every bottle will fit into a Bordeaux wine crate. Burgundy bottles on the other hand aren't always the same size, so not all will fit in them.

Most wine bottles in the past were usually the same shape and size (Except for Riesling and Champagne). New World countries such as Napa Cults changed that a bit. Today I'd estimate that 70-80% of all traditional wine bottles fit perfectly into a Bordeaux wine crate.

For decoration purposes you'll want to make sure your crates will fit into where you need them. The solution to this is to measure the height and width of the areas you want to display them in.
  • (L) Length = Depth (For shelves/cubbies)
  • (W) Width = Left to right
  • (H) Height = Top to bottom
If the cubbies or shelves are over 22" L X 14" W X 8" H you'll be safe with almost any large wine crate.

Beside the size difference; Bordeaux and Burgundy wine crates have subtle distinctions:

  • Usually branded on the front 13" short side
  • Almost always the same size and format
  • Displays "Chateau" or "Grand Cru" and the region it's from
  • Often has highly detailed designs/artwork
  • Often branded on the 20" long side
  • Not always the same size
  • Displays "Domaine" and the name of the vineyard or wine maker
  • Sometimes traditional style without alot of detail, and other times has large and intricately detailed artwork
It's easy to confuse the two styles because both come from France. Once you know how to spot the differences of the crates it can even make you a better wine buyer. For instance, Bordeaux reds are made to be stored for 20 years in a wine cellar until they're mature. Burgundy reds on the other hand don't always need this, and can often be opened in much less time. If your at a wine store and you see a Bordeaux and Burgundy, both are young and you want to drink one tonight, your better off going with the Burgundy in most cases. 

If you have any questions between the two feel free to leave a comment below. We also made a video on this topic so click the link below to check it out.

Both Burgundy and Bordeaux wine crates are for sale on our wesbsite so contact me if your interested in either.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

8 Most Famous Wooden Wine Boxes of Napa Valley

8 Most Famous Wooden Wine Boxes of Napa Valley

The vineyards of Napa make the most interesting wine boxes and cases. They're made of thick California pine which has a light grain. This allows design artwork to have especially deep brandings. 

Napa wine boxes enhance the look of a modern wine cellars. They're built oversized for longer or thicker bottles. Be aware of this when planning your wine cellar shelving because there's alot of different sizes. 

Unfortunately 98% of Napa wineries package their bottles in cardboard. Most wooden wine boxes come from cult vineyards and these are the most famous...

8. Matriarch

Similar design to the winery Dominus but slightly smaller with a branded star design.

7. Quintessa

A flat 6 bottle case with the iconic Q branded on the top of it's flip-top lid. The back side of the lid has a mirror-image of the same logo.

6. Caymus

Caymus is a cult favorite. It's one of the few Napas built with dove-tailed edges.

5. Harlan Estate

My personal favorite. The intricately branded picture on it's slide-top lid is the Maiden goddess picking grapes from the tree of life.

4. Hillside Select

Hillside is the special case from the cult winery Schafer. Most of the crates they make are 6 bottle flats, and have beautifully detailed pictures of the vineyard's famous mountain backdrop.

3. Screaming Eagle

You'll wait for two years and pay thousands of dollars to receive a 3 bottle case of Screaming Eagle. The picture above is a double magnum. It takes alot longer to get one of these..

2. Silver Oak

A huge cult favorite with a big following and a tiny production. The logo design picture is lush and intricately branded

1. Cakebread

By far the most requested Napa wooden wine box (Also the hardest one to acquire)

My favorite part of the box are the deeply branded small grape bunches which are on all four sides.

These kinds of wine boxes are not easy to get. Most of these vineyards only make a few per vintage and are highly collectible. We have a waiting list on Napa's at the moment so shoot me an e-mail or give me a call to be added.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

How to Determine the Value of Your Wine Crates

Clients often ask me if I can help them value their wine crates. They may find one at an estate sale or have a few from decades back. Since wine crates are limited, they want to know if they have something good!

Since all wine crates are different, the only way to appraise them is through Collector or Decorative value. It then comes down to condition.

Collector Value (High, Medium & Fair)

Determined by investors in the wine itself. A case of high-value wine complete with it's original wine crate can increase profits by 10% - 15% at auction. Wine crates are also great for rare wine storage because:

1. They protect the bottles from breakage
2. Keep the bottles in darkness
3. Maintain a stable temperature
4. Indicates good provenance

The 2 levels of Collector value are based on a 5 year average. These are past estimates which don't guarantee future results.

*All values depend on vintage, condition and whether the lid is included: 

High Level and Rare Collector Value ($50 - $150)

Domaine Romanee Conti

Chateau Petrus

The First Growths of Bordeaux

Top Napa cults (Screaming Eagle, Schrader etc.)

Mid-Level Collector Value ($20 - $50):

2nd -5th Growths

Second labels

Grand Cru Burgundy

Super Tuscan

Exceptional Champagne (Dom Perignon, Krug etc.)

High-end South American, Mediterranean or Australian vineyards

Decorative Value (High, Medium & Vintage)

Some wine crates don't have investor value but do have a decorative one.

If a crate isn't decorative, and has no investor value, it can have a Fair Decorative Value (Roughly $10 - $20) depending on where you sell it (Yard sale vs. online) You can get an idea on decorative value by:

1. Checking Google to see if the wine itself is popular.

2. Looking at it. Does it have ornate pictures on it? Would it look nice as a home accent?

3. Condition: Are all four sides and bottom undamaged? Small chips are ok, but big missing pieces are bad.

Decorative value is subjective. We all love art but everyone has different tastes. That's why there's 3 categories:

High Level Decorative Value ($35 - $75):

Artwork pictures that are highly detailed

Logos on all 4 sides and lid

Made of exotic wood such as cherry, oak or Mahogany

Medium ($25 - $50):

Logo in fancy script lettering but no picture/artwork

Has something unique like a staining or finish

Is a special release

Vintage ($10 - $50):

The vintage look is abstract. Some like it, some don't. Few may love it! Some of the more popular vintage styles are below:

Rough shape (Seconds). Usually damaged and not 100% durable. Has some patina. Accents a cottage-chic setting.

Very weathered but durable. When wine crates are exposed to the elements for a while they change color. This change is known to add vintage character.

Older crates that are 30+ years old can have a barnwood look. They've been used in many projects and have alot of patina. They inspire conversation in a fresh and organic country setting.

* Be careful when dismantling vintage crates. Nails can rust so wear heavy gloves to protect yourself.

It's possible to have a high value wine crate in vintage condition. To the right collector it's a gem! Look at this vintage-style bar made with exclusive wine crates:

The crates above have heavy patina but are from the best wineries in France. Some date back 50+ years. The wine once in them would be worth a fortune today!

Have any questions? Give me a call or shoot over an e-mail with pictures. I'll do my best to help.

Patrick O'caining-Villi

Monday, June 6, 2016

The 6 Most Popular Wine Crate Styles

Wooden wine crates and boxes are made by wineries to store and protect their most valuable bottles. Not all are the same, and alot depends on whether the vineyard is in a New World or Old World wine making country.

If your winery is in the Old World (France or Italy) the majority of your wine crates and wine boxes will be 6 or 12 bottle size. In the New World (Napa, Spain and just about everywhere else) it's mostly 3 bottle wine cases and 6 bottle.

In the Old World there's rules everyone must follow. This includes bottle sizes which in-turn mean wine crate and box sizes. The New World doesn't have this problem so anything goes.

None of this means that an Old World vineyard has to stick with a specific bottle size all the time, it just means that the vineyards have to follow the stringent rules in regards to it. This makes different sizes much more uncommon. Below are the most popular wine crate styles among the both the New and Old:

Single Bottle (Both New and Old World):

Average size: 14" L X 5" W X 5" H

Most single bottle wine crates are designed to hold individual magnum (1500ML) bottles. They're often branded on the lid or front sides, and can be either slide-top, flip-top or standard lid. Sometimes they include a rope handle. They're great for holding small items such as office supplies.

3 Bottle (Mostly New World):

Average size: 14" L X 12" W X 5" H

Napa Valley cult vineyards make the most attractive 3 bottle sizes. They're called flat wooden wine cases. The above picture is the Harlan Estate Maiden and is one of my favorites. The intricately detailed branding of the Maiden is engraved on the lid. Some of the other more attractive cult Napa 3 bottle wine cases are from Screaming Eagle, Bond and Colgin.

3 bottle flat cases are great for holding electronics (Such as cellphones/chargers), various other items and as centerpieces for your wine room decor. They can also be made into small drawers.

6 Bottle: (Both New and Old World):

Average size: 13" L X 11" W X 7" H

You'll find 6 bottle wine boxes made mostly in France and Italy, but just about any New World vineyard that decides to make them chooses the 6 bottle size. This is especially the case for special vintages that need extra care which a cardboard box can't fulfill.

Just about every 6 bottle wine box is branded with a logo design on the front long side. Sometimes the lid as well. The above picture represents 4 distinct regions of France.

Six bottle wine boxes are ideal for a number of different purposes like garden planters, wine room shelving and kitchen storage.

12 Bottle (Mostly Old World France):

Average size: 19 1/2" L X 13" W X 7" H

12 bottle wine crates almost exclusively come from various regions in Bordeaux. Some come from Burgundy and Italy, and a small handful come from other countries.

The engraved design logos and pictures of Bordeaux wine crates represent historical designs, artwork and traditions from the region that date back hundreds or even thousands of years. Each one is a limited and timeless masterpiece.

They're also the most versatile. You'll find the most 12 bottle wine crates in large wine cellar shelving. The logos on the front make it easy to decorate as well as find your wines. You can also use them for storing/protecting large items, making square foot gardens, tables and a variety of other wine-themed woodcraft projects.

24 1/2 bottle (Old World Bordeaux & Sauternes)

Average size: 21" L X 11" W X 9" H

24 1/2 bottle wooden wine crates are a Bordeaux and Sauternes creation. Although many wineries make a half bottle size, only Bordeaux/Sauternes makes the 24 half bottle format.

The crates are very long, tall and thin. They could almost hold a guitar but not quite. Definitely a small ukulele though..

All are branded on the front long side and the designs are large. Not all Bordeaux vineyards make them and when they do, it's a few dozen per vintage.

6 Bottle Magnum (Old World France)

Average size: 19 1/2" L X 13" W X 7" H

This style is found mostly in Bordeaux and Burgundy. Where most New World vineyards store their magnums individually, some French wineries create the 6 bottle magnum crate

These are thick and bulky crates. The most popular use for them is record storage. It's the only wine crate that's wide enough to hold them.

A 6 bottle magnum crate is just as rare as the 24 1/2 size, and not all vineyards make them either. As a matter of fact, the vineyards that make 6 bottle magnum crates don't make the 24 1/2 size and vice-versa.

There's alot of different wine crates and boxes out there that don't fall under the above categories, but they're too few or rare to be listed. Feel free to visit The 8 Most Unique Wine Crates and Boxes and check out some of those.

You can buy the 6 and 12 bottle sizes by visiting or call/e-mail me directly to discuss the other sizes. We can also go over your options if your not sure which size will work for your project.


Saturday, June 4, 2016

8 Most Unique Wine Crates and Boxes

The most popular wooden wine crate and box formats are large 12 bottle wine crates and medium 6 bottle wine boxes. These are the go-to options for prestigious vineyards to package their best wine bottles  There's alot of variation among them as far as artwork logos go, but most of the popular formats are about the same size with a similar look (Wood type and style of design can vary too)

Every so often a winery will design a wooden wine crate, case or box that's remarkably unique. This usually occurs to celebrate a special vintage. These unique crates can also be made for charity events, commemorations, or to simply stand out among peers. Sin Qua Non for example is a cult Napa vineyard that always makes interesting wooden wine boxes and cases. It's been omitted from this list because there's so many of them, but the winery deserves an honorable mention:

Sin Qua Non comes in all different sizes. Everything from an oversized 6 bottle box to a 3 bottle case designed for half bottles. Not only do they make a new style every year, but they make a new one for every style of wine they craft! Many are numbered making them collector's items.

Most vineyards stick to a wine crate strategy that works and change the vintage every year. The list below is a mix of vineyards that make especially unique crates naturally, as well as those that made special ones for a vintage or commemoration:

8 Grey Goose - It's not a wine box but it definitely looks like one. That's what makes it unique..

A few years back Grey Goose release a limited edition wooden crate for it's special blue. Only a few were made and they aren't available anywhere now.

The crate was embossed in a blue color on the lid and all four sides. The lid had a large and highly detailed picture of the goose logo backdrop.

7. The famed First Growth: Chateau Haut-Brion - There's no other crate like it:

It's wider yet shorter than the majority of Bordeaux wine crates. It's designed to hold 6 bottles in the front of it and 6 in the back (Instead of 6 on the bottom and 6 on the top). The bottle dividing honeycomb style wooden inserts are a testament to it's uniqueness.

6. Axios - A highly successful and underrated cult Napa vineyard with a tiny production. The wine was served to Presdent Bush in 2002 at the White House.

A tiny production means very few wine boxes and crates. Cult Napa investors are notorious for keeping full cases of wine inside the original wine box to increase their profits at auction. As of today we've acquired only 2 Axios wooden wine boxes in the past 11 years.

5. Continuum - Made by the Mondavi family, Continuum is grown in the heart of cult Napa territory.

About 1,300 cases of Continuum are made every year, and not every vintage includes the exclusive wooden wine case. It's an oversized piece designed to hold 6 bottles flat. The tree design is gorgeous and highly detailed. We acquire 2-3 per year.

4. Krug Non-Vintage - Every few years Krug Champagne introduces a revolutionary design for their boxes. In this case they made them with different colors in a smooth matte finish. The silver-leaf lettering accentuates the design perfectly.

This is a single bottle crate in light aqua green which has a flip-top opening.

3. Sandeman - An underrated Port that also makes Sherry, Brandy and Madeira, has only created one original wooden wine box since 1790.

This piece was made to hold (4) 375ML half bottles for the Sandeman Porto. The inside has a black felt covering, and two dividing inserts with a platform to protect the bottles. The outside of the box has a walnut finish with branded leather straps and an emblazoned logo. There's a branded brass plate on both long sides.

This is a rare and unusual piece that we probably wont see again. We had about 100 last year and sold them all. This is most likely the only 375ML Port crate designed for 4 bottles ever made.

2. Chateau Ste. Michelle Meritage Artist Series

This is a rare 3 bottle flat which was signed by the artist (Ginny Ruffner) and wine maker (Mike Januik). Only a handful of these special wine cases were made, and most are being held by Collectors. We only had one of these in stock. It has a flip-top style lid with the signatures on the inside of the lid. The outside of the lid was actually painted by hand.

1. Mouton Rothschild Imperial (2000 Vintage)

Designed by the Baroness Phillipine of Rothschild herself, this black-matte finished wine crate was designed to hold an imperial sized wine bottle from the most exulted Bordeaux winery, celebrating the greatest vintage of the 21st century.

Very few of these were made and the majority that were are either in the Rothschild cellar or at Christies awaiting sale in the year 2025. We were fortunate to acquire one and it sold overnight.

The style of the crate is flip-top with a unique brass latch that was branded with the iconic Mouton logo. Inside the case is a booklet detailing the vintage, and built-in inserts to cradle the large bottle. This one was one of my favorites. I was a little sad to see it go. It's a lovely collector's item and without a doubt the most unique.

Every month we bring in a new shipment of wine crates and boxes. Next month we'll be showcasing the new and more interesting ones for sale. Visit us or send me an e-mail for more details!