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 -
www.winepine.com
168 Irving Ave
Portchester, NY 10573
914-565-0134
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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 -
www.winepine.com
168 Irving Ave
Portchester, NY 10573
914-565-0134
 
 
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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 d├ęcor 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 -
www.winepine.com
168 Irving Ave
Portchester, NY 10573
914-565-0134
 
 
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Thursday, August 7, 2014

3 Perfect Places to Hold Your Very Own Wine Tasting Party


3 perfect places to hold your very own wine-tasting party

 

Among the socially elite and those with a taste for the finer things in life, there is little that brings a group of friends together quite as well as a night spent indulging in the vast variety of experiences found in the art of vinting.  When people come together to truly experience this thing so simple yet so luxurious,  a wine tasting of exotic and rare wines is often a favored event, paired with the ever-complex flavors of the world’s most wonderful cheeses.  Cheese, like wines, contains its own particular bouquet of flavors, and it is considered part of the wine tasting experience to pair them perfectly together.

 



 

But where would one hold a wine-tasting event?  The possibilities are as wide and varied as the tastes of the wines themselves, and one can even combine the theme of the wines selected with the venue one chooses to host it in.  Imagine for a moment you have a selection of delicious summer wines, light on the palette and sparkled with all the floral tastes of summer.  Each of these delightful bottles are arranged on well-appointed tables surrounded by the sparkling curves of good Waterford crystal, all arranged in the shade of parasols extended above your garden.  The fresh summer wind and smell of fresh cut grass will only serve to compliment the delightful array of flavors found within each of these bottles.  Even the shades will serve to compliment this, the bright pinks of blushes, the rose reds, even the clear sparkling whites that arrange your table will turn this outdoor wine-tasting event into a dash of elegance to be remembered.

 



 

In the winter, such a place can be difficult to find.  In many climates the winter months are cold, dark, and unpredictable, and so a different kind of warmth is called for.  Such warmth can be found within the walls of a sunroom, where the tall glass panes let the warmth of the winter sun in while holding out the cold of the winter wind.  Within these walls among the dark green plants that are vibrant even in these colder months, you can offset them with the deep ruby tone of some of the most popular dessert wines.  Each of these wines is best served on its own, and after a meal that compliments the thicker sweeter nature of these vintages.

 



 

Another excellent place to have a wine-tasting is in the presence of experts, many larger towns contain micro-vintners and places to accommodate those with finer tastes.  In these places you have the benefit of a large variety of wines, and often they serve 'flights' of wine that are served in smaller glasses, perfect for tasting a wide variety.  These places create the perfect atmosphere, with delightful food and the ability to sample large selections of wine without needing to buy an entire bottle on what may be a truly disappointing vintage.  Wine-tasting can be an expensive hobby, and this last option will definitely allow you to make the most of your experience.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Superstorm Workday Part 1


It was October 23rd 2012, and that was a long night. The power was out, and all you could hear is the howling of the wind mixed with the pattering of rain drops hitting the walls. At a few points during the night, the house started to shake a little, and this sent a little shiver up my spine. It was 2:00 AM, and I couldn’t sleep.

We had a large custom wine crate order for Anika, who was the marketing director for Etnies shoes. the order needed to go out next week, and we were only halfway through it. We had most of the cuts for the sides and frame done, but still had to sand, prepare and put the crate pieces together. I was wondering how on earth we could get this done on time.

Late or potentially troubled orders often give me insomnia. Perhaps it’s my nature to want to control just about every situation in my work, and when things happen that are out of my control I get antsy. This was definitely one of those times. One thing I do to try and get to sleep is tell myself how comfortable my bed is. That usually works, but the weather outside was affecting that sweet peacefulness which often ensues during my “Comfortable bed” thinking. Fortunately it was very dark all around me, so I was able to relax a little better and pass into the night.

As I awoke to that dull and stormy sky, a slight feeling of dread passed over me. The wind and rain were still going, and the storm seemed to be just as active as it was last night. Maybe even more so. There was still no power. I knew this was supposed to be a super storm, but I was hoping that the news was overblowing it. In the back of my head though I knew they weren’t. When you see the local weatherman trying to hide that true look of fear, you know it’s for real.

So I quickly got dressed and approached the kitchen to again be reminded that the power was off. No fresh brewed coffee today. I’m going to have to suffer through instant. I’m a bit of a coffee snob, and like the gourmet stuff. The stove still had gas, so I boiled a pot of water, and shot a dash of instant into the coffee cup. Once the brew was done, I poured the water into the cup. As I watched the water overtake those Folgers crystals, I briefly started thinking about Anika’s order. I knew we had no power in the workshop. My house is about 15 minutes away from the shop, and if Portchester got hit as badly as Rye did, it would be a miracle if we could power up the saws and sanders. I took a big swig of the coffee cup, winced a little at the sour taste, and walked over to my desk to grab my keys and wallet. I needed to know for sure if the power was out before contacting the crew to keep going on this critical order...
 
Part 2 coming soon...
Patrick
Winepine
168 Irving Ave
Portchester, NY 10573
914-565-0134
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Where Wine Meets Decor

We're coming up on the 10th year of Winepine, so I thought it would be a good idea to put together a picture montage of our favorite pictures. Included below are client projects, some of the types of wine crates and wine boxes we offer, and several custom-made crates and boxes we personalized for clients:


Padres wine bar with wine panels surrounded by a hardwood frame and marble countertop
 
 
A wine panel tray, with three finished semi-gloss panels and an alder wood frame
 

Wedding reception dance floor covered with 600 different wooden wine panels!
 

Bathroom vanity sink with original wine crates as drawers
 

Wine store that used wooden wine crate panels to showcase and match specific wines
 

Cork-framed wine panel artwork. Took two years (and a lot of wine bottles) for our client to make! Every cork is from a different vineyard.
 

Nearly complete kitchen wainscot with wine crate panels
 

Small wet bar covered in all kinds of finished wine panels
 

One of our first major projects. The wall of the rare wines room in Grapes the Wine Co.
 

A beautifully finished high-gloss Petrus wine box
 

Twenty-Five 12 bottle wine crates from different vineyards
 

Davanti Enoteca Restaurant Bar Wall featured in Look! magazine
 

Wine-themed stairs complete with Grand Cru panels and wine corks
 

Eat, Drink and Be Married personalized wine crate
 

Assorted Original 6 bottle wine boxes from various countries
 

Custom wine boxes made for Aloft Hotel's "Live in the Vineyard"
 

Three Domaine Romanee Conti 12 bottle wine crates. The most revered vineyard in the world.
 

1975 Dom Perignon Single Bottle Wine Crate
 

Double-Decker Doggy Bed
 

Custom Two Bottle Crate made for Santa Cruz Mountains
 

Gorgeous wine store using wine crates exclusively for display and storage
 
 
In celebration of our 10th year, we're introducing new lines (and expanding our current lines). We're also working on an e-mail list so we can give our clients exclusive deals, and a first look at our latest stock of crates as they come in.
 
Visit www.winepine.com to take a look at some of our additions, and feel free to e-mail me if you'd like to be added to our exclusive offer e-mail list.
 
 
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