Tuesday, June 9, 2015

10 Interesting Wine Wooden Crate Facts

Original wine wooden crates are made by high-end wineries to store and protect their bottles in transit. Before buying a wine crate for either storing or decorative purposes, you should definitely know a little about them before making a purchase.

1. Approx. 95% of wineries store and protect their wine in cardboard. Not wood. This is because it's much less expensive to do so. Many people ask for the wooden wine crate of their favorite wineries and vineyards. Sadly, most only come in cardboard.

2. 80% of all wooden wine crates are from the Bordeaux region of France.

3. Not all wine crates are the same size. This can be a problem because not all wine bottles are the same size either. For instance, in Bordeaux there are specific requirements on bottle sizes. All Bordeaux wineries need to follow many special rules and regulations or risk losing class (Grand Cru, 2nd Growth etc.). This set of rules is called the French AOC (Appellations d’Origine Contrôlée). Not following the AOC puts the winery at risk for a status loss which would be huge in terms of prestige.

In Napa however, these rules don't apply and the winery can design and package their bottles any way they want. Because of this, many Napa Valley wine bottles don't fit in Bordeaux wine crates.

4. The Burgundy region follows it's own set of rules, and has it's own form of the AOC. The Rhone region and Chateauneuf Du Pape sub-region also fall under the category of "Marching to the beat of their own drummer". This causes a bit of a problem as a standard for wine bottle sizes as well.

5. Very few Napa Valley wineries and vineyards produce wooden wine crates, but when they do they look amazing.

6. There is only one winery in Napa Valley that makes a wine crate to store 12 bottles. All the rest store either 3 or 6 bottles. That winery is Far Niente, and we have a waiting list on their crates. We generally get one or two in a year because most investors keep them in private collections.

7. The most interesting DIY item ever done with a wine crate was a guitar made by Alan Mitchell of Territorial Vineyards & Wine Co. in Eugene, Oregon. As far as I know it works very well.

8. You can remove the branded side or end of a crate with the winery's logo design by using a chisel. It then becomes a wine crate panel that can be affixed to a table, wall, ceiling or even floor!

9. Winepine can do the panel removing for you. It's not a simple task, because the side panel can easily be damaged in the removal process. Plus you need crates that are in excellent condition where the panel is perfectly straight on the crate. We have that covered too.

10. Wine crates and wine panel sides are mostly unfinished, and any type of wood lacquer or varnish can be applied to them. Some like the matte finish. Personally I like the semi-gloss style

P.S. Wine crates are great for gardening too. If your planning an outdoor garden for this lovely season, consider adding a non-toxic weather-proof lacquer. Make sure to go over finish options with a gardening professional first. You'll get way more mileage out of your weather-proofed crate than you would if it's left unfinished.

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Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Top 11 Wine Crate Table Designs

Everyone loves a nice wine table, and there's many ways to make one. You can stack wine crates horizontally or vertically, attach them side-by-side, add legs to them, and even remove the branded sides to make table-tops.

The great thing about wine crate table projects is that they can be anywhere from simple to very complex. It all depends on whether you want to go the DIY route or hire a professional. You'll always have plenty of options and designs to choose from.

I wanted to share some of the ones I found the most eye-catching, as well as the ones I liked the best. There's a nice mix of some of the more simple DIY's, to the most exquisite professional ones. Take a look at the tables below and let me know what you think!

1. Alpine wine design's custom bar table. Alpine is definitely one of the top wine table makers in the US, and the craftsmanship on every piece they make is exceptional - http://www.alpinewinedesign.com/

2. This is a wine crate coffee table meets wine bar. It has roomy shelves underneath as well. The tabletop is a variety of wine crate panel ends, and the under-shelving has panels that separate each storage compartment. It's very unique, and most of the table was crafted with actual wood from wine crates - www.deviantart.com
3. Multi-color stained wine crate deck table. This piece has wine panel ends as a table-top, and the panels have a mixture of Walnut, Cherry and Natural finishes. Found on Etsy by SteelCreekFAB
4. Wine crate and cork round table. This was a professional piece that is crafted in sections. One divided section has a wine crate panel top, and the others are made with hundreds of corks -
5. Stacked wine crate night table. There's a bit of a purposeful illusion here with the look of this table. As I understand, the crates are attached together to give the impression of a random-looking stack. It's a bit more like artwork than a table..
6. Gaetano style wine crate side-table. This piece was made and sold by a professional woodworker on Etsy. It's a Buried Cane vineyards crate turned into a table. As a bonus, the top slides out forward, so items (and wine) can be placed inside.
UncorkedFurniture on Etsy
7. Wine crate dining table with wine barrel legs. This is a lovely, all-Napa Valley wine crate panel table-top.

8. Stained tongue and groove pattern wine crate coffee table with glass top.

9. Distress-stained wine crate flat-bottom coffee table with pull-out shelves. Love it!

10. Table makeover in a wine-theme! The table is Victorian-style, and has a wine crate centerpiece.  glaminacan.blogspot.com

11. Last but definitely not least, a beautifully crafted step-table made from Whiskey barrels! UncorkedFurniture at Etsy. It's not wine-themed, but it's attractive and very professional.
So these are my favorite wine crate tables (and one whiskey barrel piece). Winepine doesn't sell these, but we do offer the panels or wine crates to make them as a DIY project. Visit www.winepine.com to take a look!
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Friday, March 27, 2015

The 9 Best Wine Crate Shelving Ideas!

Recently, a news story on CNBC did a piece on how wine crates can be made into cabinets and shelves. I found the story to be inspiring, so I decided to share this as many of our clients do these kinds of projects, and I've seen several displayed online. There are a few ways to do it, and the below ones are my favorite.

The first way is to group them together in a vintage-style like so:

Once they are grouped together they can be nailed to each other and against the wall to keep the crates stable, while still making them look randomly stacked. They can also be painted to match the décor like below:
Table Local Market in Bedford Hills NY
In the case of the above picture, the crates were painted first and then installed onto the wall. The neutral color of the paint enhances both the product display and the feeling of the overall décor simultaneously.
A similar look to this kind of style where the wine crates aren't painted can be found at the Ravines vineyard tasting room:

In this case the wine crate shelving is more uniform, yet at the same time maintains an old world vineyard look.

Another option is to build the shelving on top of an existing table or setting such as this:

This kind of project is a little more complex because It requires you to size everything from the table up, and fasten the crates together. It's definitely one of the more unique stand-alone units that I've seen.
Apartment Therapy did a lovely piece on wine crate decorations, and one of my favorite pictures is the shelving attached to the wall and gently seperated. There's a mix of large and medium sized wine crates in this picture, and all are holding antiques and glass wear:

Last but not least on the stand-alone style is the wine box "shelving inside the shelving". This involves taking large crates as a base, and using medium crates as the pull-outs. This is a very cool project in my opinion, and the picture below is for storing craft beers:

The next two cabinet shelving creations require a good degree of professional know-how. They are custom-built to hold wine crates as the drawers. The first one is a chest of drawers that hold all large wine crates as pull-outs:

Note that the top of each drawer has a small cut-out for easy access.

The second was done by one of our clients and it's an exquisite bathroom vanity. Talk about a conversation piece!

The sink basin is marble, and the woodwork is custom-fit to hold 6 large crates and 4 medium crates that have handles and slide-out.
The last piece is one that I've always found interesting. It was designed by an artist and woodworker, but wasn't made with wine crates. It does however have original wine crate panels adorning it's sides to give it a nice wine-themed look:

Wine box and crate shelving inventions can be anything from fairly easy to assemble, to very involved and technical. Either way it will be a fun and interesting compliment to the feeling of your home. Wine crates have an appealing look that takes you back a little in time with their historic artwork. Add that with a little modern appeal, and prepare yourself for a lot of complements!
If you'd like to create projects similar to the ones above and need wine crates or boxes, visit www.winepine.com
Patrick -
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Monday, January 12, 2015

Provenance with Wine Crates

Ask any wine collector or investor if they hold much of their high value wines in wooden wine crates (OWC's) and the answer will most definitely be yes.

Why is that?

Firstly because this is often how the wine comes to them. It's been the traditional form of packaging for the best Bordeaux, Burgundy, Italian and Napa vineyards for decades. It is the old way of doing things, but it remains the most ingenious.

When your shipping expensive commodities overseas you want the best protection possible. I'm sure you've been delivered damaged goods before, or at least know someone who has, and the importance of strong packaging becomes something you start thinking about. This is very much the case with wineries that produce exceptional wines. Who wants to deal with the headaches of thousands of dollars in broken bottles?

OWC's solved this problem. Most overseas wine shipments come in on a boat, and I'm sure you can imaging how much turbulence that could have! Even a plane would have similar challenges. When wine is stored and shipped in OWC's, the bottles inside have wooden or cardboard dividers to keep the bottles protected from heavy movement in transit.

So the picture above shows wooden inserts (left), cardboard inserts (middle) and no inserts (right). We shrink-wrapped the wooden inserts for convenience, and there are 6 in total. All become the shape of wine bottles when they're individually connected and slid-in. All 6 slide into the crate similar to that game "Connect 4". Remember that game? Gotta love the 80's...

The insert dividers inside the crate actually do two things: Keep the bottles secure, but they also keep the bottles lying down so the cork remains wet and doesn't dry out. If the cork dries out; the wine spoils or "corks". You mine as well use the wine for cooking at that point, and the thousand dollar+ bottle would end up becoming extremely expensive vinegar!

Having the wine shipped in wood also helps keep the bottles from getting banged into. I worked in a wine store, and the bottles in cardboard break with shocking ease. When a bottle breaks in cardboard the whole thing starts gushing and it's chaos. Your running outside holding the case getting wine everywhere, while your frantically looking for somewhere, anywhere, to stop this major leak. That's no fun at all, and that never happened to me with bottles from wooden crates. Even if you actually drop a wooden crate filled with wine, the bottles rarely break. Now that's impressive..

Obviously wooden wine crates are much more durable and stronger than cardboard packaging, and they preserve the wine naturally to prevent spoil. What are the other benefits?

They are very easy to store because they are stackable. You can even have your wine cellar built with cubbies that hold them! This allows for both ease of storage and a great decorative accent.

The picture above was done by Revel Wine cellars and it's just gorgeous. Note the wine crate cubbies below the racks to  the right. It's pretty easy to find your wine in this cellar, as each crate is branded with the winery logo/design. A lot of collectors will coordinate their cellar around the wine crates because it's simple to find bottles that way.

Another brilliant aspect about wooden wine crates relates to temperature and humidity. Unfinished wood allows for these elements to be well maintained, as long as the cellar itself is perfectly kept in the right conditions. The wine provenance will always be a little better if the wine was properly stored in a wooden wine crate.

Lastly, as a wine investor your going to make a higher profit at auction if you have all the bottles in their OWC. This is because there's a premium to having the complete collection, and it's a strong indication of authentication and good provenance when all of the exact wine bottles are in the same OWC's. 

Acquiring wine crates of your own is easy! Whether for storage or decoration, visit www.winepine.com and either call or e-mail us with your request. We have thousands of wine crates in stock, so I'm sure we can find the right ones for you.

Patrick -
168 Irving Ave
Portchester, NY 10573
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Saturday, December 27, 2014

My 4 Favorite Client Projects for 2014

2014 went fast, and it's almost over! I decided to take four of my favorite client projects and show pictures of them. All were from Winepine panels:
The first one is a walk-in closet that was turned into a wine room. The walls, wainscot and joices are covered with original wooden wine crate panel tiles from assorted Bordeaux and Burgundy vineyards.

Number 2 is just amazing. It's a converted Steinway piano turned into a wine bar. The table-top has 6 original Bordeaux wine crate panels that are embedded into the frame and finished with a light stain and varnish

The third is a flowing wine panel wall on the inside of the Italian House in Janesville Wisconsin.

Last but not least number 4, which is a another small closet turned into a wine room as well. One caveat is that the floors are covered with original wine crate panels!

Patrick -
168 Irving Ave
Portchester, NY 10573
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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Thoughtful Review from Gabe C.

Gabe is a client of that purchased one of our custom-made and personalized wine crates. Below is his testimonial of what he thought about it:

My best friend is getting married and I got the idea to give him and his wife-to-be a set of wines to have at 6 milestone anniversaries. I spent hours researching wines, thinking about appropriate drinking windows, choosing a variety of grapes and regions, reading professional reviews, etc. I finally had picked out the six bottles that would be perfect for them, but then had to find a way to present the bottles to the bride and groom in a way that would honor the excellent wines that I had spent so long choosing. I started browsing the web looking for a classy way to display the bottles. After an afternoon of research and emailing several different companies, I eventually decided to go with Wine Pine based on the variety and quality of designs posted on their webpage and Pinterest board.


My girlfriend, who is an excellent graphic designer, created a beautiful logo that incorporated the bride and groom’s names with an image of their wedding venue modified to look like a Chateau. I sent the images over to Patrick at Wine Pine and just one day later, he sent back images of proofs of the designs engraved onto sample wood pieces. I had a bunch of stupid questions about the details of how the design would look and Patrick was super patient and helpful answering everything. We also were on a bit of a tight time crunch to get the crate in time for the wedding, and Patrick was able to create our crate and ship it out on a rushed schedule to get it to us in time (5 business days from my green light to go ahead with the project and the Fedex delivery in California).


I was floored with the final product; it is drop dead gorgeous. The crate itself is as professional as I could possibly imagine. It feels super solid; the joints are reinforced with nails, and the top slides on and off perfectly smooth. The images that we sent over are 100% flawlessly transferred to the side and top of the crate. Our designs were quite complex and the details are transferred to the crate beautifully. The crate also came filed with a straw-like filling that can protect and enhance the appearance of the bottles inside.


I am so happy with the final product and I can’t wait to deliver it to the bride and groom tomorrow. It is going to make such a unique wedding gift for our friends. Thank you Patrick and Wine Pine!

To have a custom crate built for you, visit this page: http://www.winepine.com/store/custom-wine-boxes-and-cases/individuals/

Friday, August 22, 2014

Our First Large Order

The year was 2005, and it was early July. The weekend was coming close, and the pre-July 4th fireworks were just starting to ramp up at night. That wonderful smell of BBQ seemed to be everywhere in our suburban town of Westchester NY, and the mood was "Summer Breeze" by Seals and Croft.

Not all was good with my wife and I though, because we were struggling financially in jobs we weren't happy with for salaries we couldn't quite make work. Renting an apartment in an upscale town in Westchester is more than expensive, and we were paying quite a bit for a lifestyle of quiet pleasantries and security.

It was at this time that we created Winepine, and we were selling wine crates at a very slow pace, one at a time. This kind of unique wine cellar décor idea using original wine crates could either work or be flop, but I was determined to make Winepine successful. The problem was that I was putting in 8+ hours a day, plus another 4+ hours at home trying to increase sales for Winepine. My wife was beginning to question whether Winepine was a valid use of my time, and I was starting to get concerned myself. It was a stressful time to say the least, and the odds seemed stacked wildly out of my favor.

We lived in a fairly small apartment and didn't have the resources to purchase a storage area for the wine crates we brought in. That meant that all the wine crates had to be stored in our living space. At one point there were so many in our apartment that we actually had to make tunnels from the bathroom through our living room to the bedroom! Our landlord Jack was far from happy with this, and on several occasions I saw him looking up from the parking lot to our second floor apartment in both amazement and horror. There was easily 200 wine crates stored in our living room alone and it was getting out of hand.

Something needed to be done quickly because at the pace we were going we'd be out on the street next month. Selling one or two wine crates a day wouldn't cut it. Craigslist, word of mouth and personal ads weren't getting us anywhere. We needed to find a way to sell in bulk. I barely had two nickels to rub together, so we had to figure out a way to advertise our wine boxes and crates without breaking the bank.

Right around this time we had built a one page website for Winepine. We had found a website designer named Dave from Washington that was able to work on a shoe string budget, and deliver us a presence online. It was very exciting to finally have a functioning website, and we became much more optimistic for the future.

Along comes a phone call that would change everything...

Eric was a businessman interested in decorating his very large wine cellar. He asked me if I had wine crates to sell, and I most certainly did. He was looking to negotiate the price, and ended up making an offer that I accepted for 300 crates + shipping. This was a beautiful thing. With this order we'll be able to clear out the apartment while still making enough money to rent a storage space for future crates! It was a miracle and a dream come true.

Now the new dilemma: How in the world were we going to ship 300 crates? We had never done anything like this before. Every other crate we had sold was being shipped out through the post office, and we were actually wrapping them with this kraft paper that we bought by the roll at Staples. We were using arts and crafts tape, and it was more like we were wrapping gifts instead of shipping wine crates. We didn't have, and couldn't afford real cardboard boxes or commercial box tape. It was a very basic operation, and if my wife wasn't good at wrapping I don't know what I would've done.

This was a new adventure, and a kind of scary one at that. I thought long and hard about this. I'd spend hours looking out the kitchen window trying to figure out what we can do about this problem. It then popped out at me; Why not contact our UPS delivery guy Robert, and see if he had any ideas? Both my wife and I ordered from Amazon regularly, and we gotten to know Robert pretty well. He'd call us sometimes to make sure we were home when we had any deliveries. He was extremely courteous.

When I called him he had said that he does in fact drive a small truck part-time (Not UPS related), moonlighting for private deliveries when they come up. He quoted a reasonable price, and we agreed to move forward in two weeks. It was going to be a 4 AM Saturday pick-up and I thought to myself Wow. Robert is a big time early bird.

Fast forward two weeks to the night before the pick-up. My wife and I barely pulled it off to the last crate. It's 9 PM on a Friday, and we pulled the last staple from the last wine crate.  It was a long 12 hour day working 2 jobs and it was time to get some rest.

After sleeping for what felt like 5 minutes, the alarm goes off like a blaze of glory. We knew that waking up at 3 AM was going to be tough, but time was of the absolute essence. We knew that there was a lot of work to do and Robert was never late. He will arrive at 4AM on the dot. No time to waste..

My wife and I had to start carrying 300 wine crates, three at a time down our apartment stairs in the middle of the night. It took dozens of trips up and down the stairs to bring out the entire shipment to the truck. Fortunately no one else in the apartment building was woken up or disturbed, and Robert was more than helpful. We surprisingly filled the truck in under an hour.

A wonderful relief came over me when Robert put the last crate into the truck, closed the door and swung down the big truck lock. We shook hands and he got into the cab and was off. We did it. My wife and I hugged, as we overcame one of the biggest business challenges we had ever faced on our own. It was a great feeling. We watched the sunrise from the porch, and then walked over the deli to grab a cup of coffee.

I remember this event vividly, so it's easy for me to tell the story 10 years later. I learned a great deal  from this experience: If you believe in something and your instincts tell you it's right, you should keep going no matter what. Even if those close to you don't share the same enthusiasm, you should never quit. You can do it, and you'll somehow get through the adversities if you just keep pressing on.

Patrick -
168 Irving Ave
Portchester, NY 10573
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