Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wood Wine Crate & Box Profiles: Chateau Petrus

Chateau Petrus:

Country: France

Region: Bordeaux

Sub-region: Pomerol

Classification: Premier Grand Cru, unofficial First Growth
Production: 3,000 - 4,000 cases made every year.

Grape: Over 90% Merlot

Crate design: The Petrus label has beautifully detailed artwork, and is highly recognizable. The deeply engraved design is of two keys behind the Petrus scroll.

Rarity: Extremely rare. Petrus is one of the most expensive wines in the world with a very small production. Petrus is in high demand, and the majority of investors and private collectors who purchase full cases will almost always store the wine in the crate.

Crate designation: Exclusive Class ($150.00)

Our opinion: We generally have 1-2 Petrus crates in stock at any time. Out of approx. 1,000 crates we acquire, 1-2 of these crates are from Chateau Petrus. Petrus crates are usually branded on all four sides, but the major artwork is only on the front side.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bordeaux vs. Burgundy


Burgundian wineries are slightly different than wineries in Bordeaux as they grow their wines in single vineyards. Single vineyards are individual parcels of land inside of the winery's property. Each parcel produces a different type of wine that may contain different grapes, varietals or mixtures than the others, but will still carry the name of the winery on it's label.

Speaking of labels, it's very common for wine crates from Burgundy to brand their logo on the long side of the crate instead of the short side. In some cases, all four sides of Burgundy crates are branded. Most Burgundy crates are also slightly larger than Bordeaux crates. The average size of a Burgundy crate is: 20 1/2" L X 13" W X 7" H, which is approx. 1" longer than a Bordeaux crate. Below is a picture of a Domaine Bouchard Pere & Fils crate. Definitely one of my favorites..

Going back to single vineyards, A perfect example of this winemaking method is Domaine Romanee Conti or DRC for short.

DRC is widely considered the best of Burgundy, and produces some of the most expensive wines in the world. In less than 50 acres, DRC holds 6 major single vineyards:

  • Richebourg
  • Grand Echezeaux
  • Romanee St. Vivant
  • Echezeaux
  • Montrachet
  • La Tache
The specialty of DRC is Pinot Noir.

Wine crates and boxes from DRC are incredibly rare, because the vast majority of collectors hold onto them if they're lucky enough to acquire a full case. DRC as a wine investment tends to be a good bet. The full collection of a DRC wine case with the original crate increases the yield of the investment down the road.

The design of a DRC crate is beautiful and distinctive. Below is a picture of one:

Burgundy as a region is complex and very old. It is said that Burgundy is the final destination of the true wine enthusiast. Even though I personally prefer Burgundy wines from all others, I still think there are a great many Bordeaux wineries that produce spectacular wines.

Before we get into Bordeaux, below are a few points on how to distinguish a wine bottle or crate from Burgundy or Bordeaux:

  • Domaine refers to Burgundy whereas Chateau refers generally to Bordeaux
  • Burgundy crates/bottles will show the winery and the single vineyard. Bordeaux crates/bottles will show the winery and sub-region such as St. Emilion, Medoc etc.
  • Your much more likely to see a Bordeaux crate than a Burgundy. Crates from Burgundy are fairly uncommon.
  • Burgundy focuses much more on wines that should be "put down" to drink in many years down the road. Many Bordeaux wineries craft wines to be put down as well, but Burgundy is much more known for this. 

Bordeaux generally produces the same wine from one vineyard. A unique aspect of Bordeaux is that many produce Second Labels which are the "run-off juices" of the First Label. This means that the Second Label will most likely have the same grapes, mixture etc. of the first, but it will be the second best juice. Some examples of famous Second Labels are: La Dame Montrose (First Label: Chateau Montrose), La Mission Haut-Brion (First Label: Haut-Brion) and Pavillon Rouge Margaux (First Label: Chateau Margaux).

Bordeaux as a region is broken down into sub-regions. If Bordeaux is a state, than the sub-regions could be considered it's cities. The major wine making sub-regions of Bordeaux are:

Left Bank:
  • St. Emilion
  • St. Estephe
  • Pauillac
  • St. Julien
  • Margaux
  • Medoc
*Left bank wine crate & Second Label:

Right Bank:
  • Pomerol
  • St. Emilion
  • Cotes De Bourg
*Right bank wine crate:

  • Pessac Leognan
  • Sauternes
*Graves wine crate: The king of Sauternes:

There are others, but for simplicity I went with the ones that produce wine crates for their wines.

There is much more wine production in Bordeaux than there is in Burgundy. This is why you'll see more crates from Bordeaux. Most wine enthusiasts tend to purchase Bordeaux over Burgundy for a few reasons:

  • Bordeaux is fairly simple wheras Burgundy can be quite complex
  • Burgundy mostly produces wines for the future. Many Bordeaux's can be consumed immediately.
  • Burgundy wines tend to be much less available and alot more expensive
  • Bordeaux is much more publicized than Burgundy.
From a wine crate perspective one has to take a look at the facts:

Burgundy Pros:
  • More rare than Bordeaux
  • Mostly have long side brandings with larger designs than Bordeaux
  • Generally have very unique and high detail designs on multiple sides
  • Slightly larger than Bordeaux crates
Burgundy Cons:
  • More rare means less available and more expensive
  • Not as generally recognizable than wineries from Bordeaux
  • Much smaller selection
  • Burgundy crates can vary a bit from winery to winery, so not all Burgundy bottles can fit in a Burgundy crate.
Bordeaux Pros:
  • Most Bordeaux crates are identical in size making them easy to work with
  • There is a much large selection of unique Bordeaux wine crates than Burgundy
  • More affordable because there are more available
  • The vast majority of Bordeaux bottles can fit in any Bordeaux crate
Bordeaux Cons:
  • Bordeaux crates typically only have one branding on the short front side
  • Although every wine crate is unique, Wine crates from Bordeaux are not as rare as Burgundy. You may find that your friend has a wine crate from the same Bordeaux winery you do.
Who wins? At the end of the day it's a matter of preference. Personally I am extremely fond of Burgundy all-around. However, Ill be hard pressed to turn down a finely crafted Bordeaux wine at any time of year.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Which Wine Crate is Right For You?

I've noticed throughout the years that different people like different wines, but they also have specific tastes for wine crates as well.
Some people like Bordeaux and others prefer Italy. Below is a general case study of the types of people who prefer crates from certain countries:


Bordeaux crates are usually a good match for someone who is a perfectionist, and likes the finer things in life. Bordeaux has been making wines for thousands of years, and it’s known for capturing the hearts of many.


Crates from Burgundy are generally best for true wine enthusiasts. It’s said that you start your wine journey in Napa Valley and end up in Burgundy. This isn’t always true as there are a great many connoisseurs that swear by Napa Valley wines. Nevertheless, Burgundy as a region arguably makes the best wines in the world.


If you’re a fan of the beach, summer and a more relaxed atmosphere you’ll most likely appreciate a crate from Spain. Spanish whites such as Cava are the perfect summer wine. Crates from Spain are simple with nice detail and logo designs.


Big, hearty Barolo and complex wines from Tuscany are brilliantly complimented with a crate from Italy.  The issue with Italian wines: Once you fall in love with Italy you usually stay there. Italy is the only country that has been making wines longer than Bordeaux.

United States (Napa, Oregon, Washington etc.)

Wine crates from the United States are modern showpieces with rich artwork and incredibly unique designs. Wineries in the US aren’t held to the strict standards of Bordeaux. Anything goes here!

I consider myself somewhat of a traditionalist when it comes to wine, but I must say that crates from Napa are gorgeous..

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Why Wine Crates Aren't Free

Wine crates are tough to get. They have beautiful artwork, a unique charm and they're very rare.

There are many DIY blog writers pointing out that they are getting these rare pieces for free or at a very low cost. The issue is that bloggers are highly dedicated and creative professionals devoted to   fresh content and coming up with new ideas. This kind of passion for the craft gives them the perseverance to try new things and search until the objective is complete. It is possible to get just about anything for free or at a very low cost if you have the determination.

So what about the interior decorator, architect, wine collector etc. who are focused on their own crafts and always pressed for time? There must be a wine crate solution for them.

First the challenge....

The key to finding wine crates on the cheap is to locate very high-end wine shops. Travel to them and ask the owner if he/she has any wine crates. There's a very good chance the owner will say no.

The reasons:

Wine crates are only found in shops offering extremely expensive wines. They house bottles of wine that cost anywhere between $100 - $25,000 per bottle. Original wine crates are valuable based just on this.

Many Bordeaux wineries have been in existence for more than a millennia. The logo of the winery that made the wine is engraved on every wine crate. This logo has often been unchanged for hundreds/thousands of years, and will add an eye-catching decorative twist to a wine-inspired décor. The wine store owner knows this, and will accent the store with these designs.

Wine stores that purchase high-end wines often store the wines in the crates they came in. They're perfect to hold bottles, and are great for shelving too.

There are several thousand wineries in the world. The vast majority don't produce wooden wine crates to store and protect their wines.

Fact: only 5% of wineries worldwide actually make wine crates to package their wines. The rest use cardboard boxes.

Things wine store owners say when asked for free wine crates:

  • Wineries stopped making wooden crates and boxes. Everything’s in cardboard now
  • We use the crates for display
  • Let me check in the back….Sorry, we don’t have any
  • We don’t. Check back in a few months 
This can get disheartening. On top of that if you don't live in a major metro area, fine wine shops are nearly impossible to find. Lastly, wine shops sell wine; they don't sell or specialize in wine crates.
If you're able to acquire a wine crate locally, it will probably be in poor condition. Wine shops know that wine boxes and crates make great displays for wine, and they keep the good ones for themselves. Clients get what the shop can't use or doesn't want.

Here at Winepine, we acquire and work with thousands of wine crates every month. Below are the statistics of how they arrive to us:
  • 40% are unusable and need to be re-purposed altogether
  • 40% are in decent condition but need a lot of repair
  • 15% are in good shape but need some repair
  • 5% are in excellent condition and need little repair
Most of our clients are very busy people, and don’t have time to travel for miles to dozens of wine shops hoping to find a crate in good condition. This is why they purchase them from a specialist such as winepine.
Case in point: Let’s say you’re able to get a crate or two.  There’s a strong chance the crate will have stickers, tape, magic marker numbering on them or be structurally damaged.
These imperfections need to be removed to make the crate look it's best. If you wanted to finish the crate, the imperfections must be removed. This takes a great deal of time. Wouldn’t you rather let a professional do the prep work so you can start the project fresh?

The solution:
Visit a wine crate specialist such as Winepine!

Obtaining and preparing your wine crates will no longer be a problem. All of our crates are in excellent or better condition. Each one is inspected multiple times for imperfections. Our clients receive the best every single time. We guarantee this.
We not only provide the best wine crates, but we also prepare them for finish. Each crate is gently sanded by hand two times. We sand with 60 grit to remove splinters, markings etc., and 220 grit for a smooth texture. The crate is ready for a first coat of stain or polyurethane right out of the box. 

Your wine crates will be made complete with lid and bottle dividing inserts, individually wrapped, and delivered to your door via FedEx quickly. The process is easy and headache-free. Once they arrive your ready to start the project!

Visit us at Winepine, and call us to discuss your unique wine-themed project. Our customer service is friendly, highly personalized and quick to find solutions.

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

8 Easy DIY Wine Crate Projects

Wine crates are classy, eye-catching and highly durable. Below are several easy interior decorating projects to do with wine crates:

Wine crate garden planter:

Spruce up your garden with wine crates! Wine crates make excellent planters and are easy to weather proof.

Below is a great blog to show you how:

Simple wine crate wallshelf:

Easy 1-2-3 job to add a wine-themed twist to your wall décor. All you need is a drill, 4 nails, a level and a friend to make it easier. A stud finder or anchors may not hurt either, but unless very heavy things will be in the crate it may not be necessary.
Have the friend hold the base of the crate against the wall you want to place the crate. Use the level to make sure the crate is level. Drill the four nails on each corner of the crate. Your done!
Below is a picture of how it can look in a kitchen:

Wine crate floral arrangements:

It’s very common to see these pieces at a wedding with a wine theme.  Below is from Design Sponge displaying the how-to on this lovely craft:

Wine crate bunk bed for cats:

Most cats like to be on top of the situation, so this bunk bed made of wine crates is perfect for your fancy felines.

Wine cellar decoration:

Wine crates compliment wine cellars perfectly, and can fill in some of the space gaps you may have. The best part is they are made to store wine as well! Check out the winepine client project for more pictures..

Under the bed storage:

At 7” tall, wine crates fit perfectly under most beds. They are large, highly durable and excellent to store a variety of items in.

Stand alone wine crate storage shelves:

This one requires a little more time and skill but it’s definitely worth it. It only requires some crates and metal brackets. The Pretty Neat Organizer tells all:

Wine Crate Book Shelves:
Wine crates fit records, CD's and books very well. Below is a step-by-step guide on making a custom wine crate bookshelf.

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

The 5 First Growth Wine Crates

First Growth Wine Crates:

The classification of First Growth was created by Napoleon III in 1855. Napoleon III was the nephew of the famous French ruler Napoleon I.

There are 5 official First Growth wineries, and one unofficial and controversial First Growth (Chateau Petrus)

Chateau Mouton Rothschild wine Crate (12 Bottle Size):

Every year, Mouton Rothschild presents one famous French artist with the opportunity to slightly re-design the reknowned Mouton label. This practice has been a tradition since 1924. The French artist asked to perform the re-design consider this a grand honor.

List of artists that re-designed the Mouton Rothschild label:

Lafite Rothschild wine crate (6 Bottle size):

The Rothschild family vineyards span worldwide, and Lafite Rothschild is the "First of the First Growth's"
Mouton and Lafite Rothschild are both owned by the Rothschild family but even though each is a First Gowth, Lafite Rothschild is considered somewhat more of the "greater brand"

Chateau Margaux wine crate (12 bottle size):

Margaux is considered by many as the best Bordeaux winemaker in the world. The history of the vineyard dates back to the late 11th century, and the logo is a picture of the Marquis De Colonia estate built in the early 1800's. The estate still stands today.

Chateau Latour wine crate (12 bottle size):

Chateau Latour stands on a major historical site known as Orleans during the Hundred Year War with Britain in the 12th century. The Latour tower was part of a protective wall, and it is said that Joan of Arc defeated the entire British army from this tower. The Latour design was made in honor of her as the "Lionness of Orleans"

Chateau Haut-Brion wine crate (12 bottle size):

Chateau Haut-Brion crates are crafted differently than the other 4 First Growths'. The crates are thicker yet shorter, but are nearly the same in length. The inside of the crate has inserts similar to a honeycomb style and are quite unique.

Chateau Petrus wine crate (6 bottle size):

The unofficial First Growth; Chateau Petrus produces the most expensive wines in Bordeaux. There are wine enthusiasts who believe that Chateau Petrus is the best in the world. There are others that believe the wine is overrated, and it's simply a status symbol to drink. In any event, every wine enthusiast in the world is very familiar with the Petrus label.

First Growth crates are very rare and difficult to obtain. Approx. 1 out of 100 crates we acquire are from a First Growth winery.

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