Saturday, August 27, 2011

4 Unique Wine Panel Projects

Below are four different styles of wooden wine panel projects. Each one is unique, and this is an excellent guide for your interior decorator, contractor or architect. We generally recommend working with a professional when installing wine panels.


Grapes the Wine Company rare wines vault

This is a fairly uncomplicated type of wine panel project, as it requires minimal cutting and no major design plan needed

Space requirments: The All-Collector's strategy is ideal for walls, ceilings or floors that are perfectly square and clear.

Tools needed: Notched trowl and canned liquid nails

(Recommended): Chopsaw and ruler

Level of difficulty: (Scale of 1-5 with 5 being hardest): 2

How to do it:

Measure out the space and determine the square footage. Each Collector's panel is approx. 12" X 6", so 2 panels covers one square foot. We can trim them down for you if they are slightly larger, or you can do this yourself with a chopsaw. Call us and let us know what the square footage is. We can then work together and plan out which panels to work with based on your preferences.

Once the panels arrive, decide how your going to lay them out on the space. Take the notched trowl and add the liquid nails to it. Apply the liquid nails evenly accross the back of the first panel. Attach the first panel to the wall. Repeat this process until all of the panels are on the wall.

Additional information: In a perfect world, all of the panels will fit perfectly on the space. This isn't always the case. If you come to the end of the space and there isn't enough room for the last panel, simply take your ruler and measure out the last panel vs. how much room is left on the space. The chopsaw can trim that remaining portion from the panel to make it fit perfectly. Always use the maximum protection when using a chopsaw. We always prefer when a client works with a professional contractor when installing wine panels. It's a very quick and easy job for a professional.

Varnish, stain or polyurethane: Wine panels can be easily finished. We prepare all of our panels for a first coat of finish before they arrive to your project. We don't finish them, as we've found that clients often prefer to finish them on the job. There are many different stains that can be used to compliment the overall decor. Choose one that fits you best.

Polyurethane or varnish can be applied to to give them a glass-like finish. You can either apply the stain or varnish when all of the panels are attached, or individually finish them before they go up. The best way is to apply the finish to them individually, but it's also the most time consuming. Applying the finish after the project is done is the fastest way to complete the project.

Another advantage to individually varnishing each panel is that it seals them, and protects the panels from moisture.


Ritz Carlton Penthouse, Dallas TX

A wine panel montage is definitely the most difficult project. We highly recommend an interior designer, contractor and possibly an architect.

Space requirments: A montage can be done in any space. If your planning to do a montage as a floor project, we recommend using a planer to make sure the panels are exactly the same thickness.

Tools needed: Blueprint or plan of action, notched trowl, canned liquid nails, chop or tablesaw.

(Recommended): Planer and ruler

Level of difficulty: (Scale of 1-5 with 5 being hardest): 5

How to do it: Every montage project is completely unique. This is something that needs a professional or two.

Additional information: If you want to do this yourself, you should ideally have some experinece with blueprints and woodworking. This type of project has all kinds of panels mixed together. There will be many different types and sizes. It will be easy to get lost without a plan.

Varnish, stain or polyurethane: Same as above

3D Effect:

Peconic Bay Winery staircase leading to wine vault

This type of project is similar in difficulty to All-Collector's, but it is somewhat more involved.

Space requirments: Wall or ceiling.

Tools needed: Blueprint or plan of action, notched trowl, canned liquid nails, chop or tablesaw.

(Recommended): Planer and ruler

Level of difficulty: (Scale of 1-5 with 5 being hardest): 3

How to do it: The difference between 3D and All-Collector's is that the 3D adds thicker panels to the design. Many panels from Napa Valley such as Dominus and Bond are approx. 3/4" thick. Most Bordeaux panels are approx. 3/8" thick.

This is a highly artistic and visual strategy. There is no one way to make this work. A plan is helpful for maximum results. You would want to place the thicker panels in areas that would add to the 3D effect. Too many thick panels in one place may flaw the design from a visual perspective. There also may be some panels that need thicknesses reduced with a planer.

The best way to begin would be to add tape to the back of each panel, and temporarily affix the panels to the wall one at a time. This will give a great idea as to how the project will come out. You can always move the panels around based on preference.

Additional information: As a DIY project it is doable, but we always recommend a professional. This type of project is fairly uncomplicated for a woodworker or contractor. It wouldn't hurt to hire an interior designer at least for a consult.

Varnish, stain or polyurethane: Same as the previous projects.

The Outlay Effect:

Davanti Enoteca Wine Bar, Chicago, IL

The Outlay Effect is a little bit harder than it looks. The concept is to install the first set of panels to cover the wall, and then mix other panels on top of the first set.

Space requirments: Wall or ceiling.

Tools needed: Blueprint or plan of action, nail gun or notched trowl with canned liquid nails;

(Recommended): Chop or tablesaw

Level of difficulty: (Scale of 1-5 with 5 being hardest): 4

How to do it: Davanti Enoteca is a fine Italian restaurant with several restaurants all over the US. The management team of Davanti invented The Outlayed Effect.

How they approached the project can be found in the "Look: Chicago" magazine. The starting process is similar to All-Collector's, but the issues begin once your ready to apply the next set of panels above the first. The best results of this strategy come when your able to place the second set of panels above the first, without covering up the first set's logos. The next step is even more complicated, because now you place a third set of panels above the first and second set!

Additional information: I would recommend working with a professional on a project such as this. It's possible to do this yourself, but this type of project is bound to have unforseen complications.

Varnish, stain or polyurethane: Same as the previous projects.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Wood Wine Crate & Box Profiles: Chateau Margaux

Chateau Margaux:

*Chateau Margaux and Second Label; Pavillon Blanc

Country: France

Region: Bordeaux

Sub-region: Margaux

Classification: First Growth

Production: 10,000 - 12,000 cases per year

Grape: 75% Cabernet Sauvignon,  20% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot

Crate design: The Margaux design is based on the majestic and famous Chateau built by Marquis De Colonilla in the early 1800's.

Rarity: Very rare. Approx. 12,000 cases of Margaux are produced per vintage. Most of these cases are held in France, and the remaining amount are fought over in the futures market or at auction. Margaux is widely considered as possibly the finest in all of the First Growths.

Crate designation: Exclusive Class First Growth ($100.00)

Our opinion: Chateau Margaux is definitely the most consistent of the First Growth wineries as far as production goes. You can be fairly confident that any bottle from any vintage year is going to be out of this world.

The Margaux label is also very consistent. The same picture of the famous Margaux Chateau is on both the First Growth crate as well as the Second Label: Pavillon Rouge.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wood Wine Crate & Box Profiles: Chateau Mouton Rothschild

Chateau Mouton Rothschild:

Country: France

Region: Bordeaux

Sub-region: Pauillac

Classification: First Growth

Production: 15,000 - 18,000 cases per year

Grape: Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, with a mix of Merlot and Petit Verdot

Crate design: The Mouton Rothschild label has remained the same for nearly 100 years, but every year the same design is changed slightly by a famous artist. The design is a highly detailed and world reknowned cote of arms.

Rarity: Very rare. Approx. 17,000 cases of Mouton Rothschild are produced per vintage. Almost half of those cases remain in France. The remaining 7 - 8 thousand are shipped to every other country. Many of the cases that reach the US have already been purchased in future or at auction.

Crate designation: Exclusive Class First Growth ($100.00)

Our opinion: One of my personal favorites. I love how the Mouton Rothschild label changes every year. It really adds alot of character to their crates.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wood Wine Crate & Box Profiles: Domaine Romanee Conti

Domaine Romanee Conti:

Country: France

Region: Burgundy

Sub-region: Cote D'or

Classification: Arguably the best winery in the world

Production: 6 single vineyards producing a total of approx. 8,000 cases a year.

Grape: Over 95% pure Pinot Noir in 5 of the 6 single vineyards. Montrachet produces Chardonnay

Crate design: Domaine Romanee Conti (DRC) has one of the most recognized labels among wine enthusiasts, collectors and investors. The crate's picture has a picture of the very old chateau, vineyard and cross.

Rarity: Extremely rare. Domaine Romanee Conti is one of the most expensive wines in the world with a tiny production. Investors generally purchase DRC futures way in advance of release. It is considered a "blue chip" investment in wine.

Crate designation: Exclusive Class ($150.00)

Our opinion: We generally have 1-2 DRC crates in stock at any time. Out of approx. 10,000 crates we acquire, 1-2 of these crates are from Domaine Romanee. Domaine Romanee Conti crates are usually branded on all four sides, but the major artwork is only on the front side. The single vineyard is displayed on the majority of DRC crates. Below is a list of the single vineyards of Domaine Romanee Conti:


Grand Echezeaux

La Tache


Romanee St. Vivant



Assorted - Assorted is not a single vineyard, but the Domaine Romanee Conti vineyard produces several cases with 2 bottles of each single vineyard wine in a crate. They are one of the few wineries that does this.

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

The 7 Types of Wooden Wine Panels

Wine panels are the engraved sides of a wooden wine crate or box. The majority of wine panels have unique designs and logos from the winery that made them.

There are 6 types of wine panels broken up into four catagories:

Classic Panels:

1. Chateau and Estate:

This panel type comes from the long side of some 12 bottle wine crates Bordeaux crates. Most Bordeaux 12 bottle crates are 19 1/2" L X 13" W X 7" H. The Chateau & Estate panels come from the 19 1/2" side. The average dimensions of Chateau & Estate panels is 19" L X 6 1/2" H. The average thickness of Chateau and Estate panels is 1/4" - 3/8".

Chateau and Estate panels are engraved with just winery lettering. They have no designs or artwork. They generally compliment a nice French Provincial style design, or can be filled in with other types of panels to cover a space.

Several different Chateau and Estate panels

2. Winery Branded:

Winery Branded panels are similar to Chateau & Estate, but they are from the 13" side not the 19 1/2" side. They are nearly half the size of Chateau & Estate, and also have just engraved winery lettering with no artwork. The average dimensions of winery branded panels is 12" L X 6 1/2" H. The average thickness is 3/8".

Assorted winery branded panels

3. Border Panels: 

The border panels are from 3 or 6 bottle flat crates, so their dimensions can vary quite a bit. These types of panels are excellent as a trim around the tops and bottoms of a wall because they are long and thin. Dimensions can be anywhere between 10" L X 4" H and 19" L X 6" H. Thicknesses range from 1/4" - 3/4" depending on the winery. The size difference in dimensions is because the shorter sides of a flat crate are smaller than the longer ones. A perfect example is below:

Chatea Pape Clement flat 6 bottle crate

As you can see, the Bernard Magrez side is twice as long as the Pape Clement side. What we do is prepare the crate to a smooth texture, dismantle the piece, and both of these sides become border panels similar to the picture below:

Border panels from Portugal, Italy, Burgundy and California

4. Collector's Panels:

This panel type is our best seller. The majority of Collector's panels come from the from the front (13" side) of a Bordeaux, Italian, Spanish, Portugal or California wine crate. They have beautiful designs and artwork, and each one is unique. The average size of a Collector's panel is: 12" L X 6 1/2" H. The average thickness of Bordeaux panels is 3/8"

A variety of Collector's panels from Bordeaux

5. Large Collector's Panels:

This is a rare type of panel. Most wine crates are only branded on the front short side. Large Collector's panels have the artwork on the long (19" side). The engraved branding on these is much larger than the regular Collector's panels because they are almost twice as long. The average dimensions of a Large Collector's panel is 19" X 6 1/2" H with an average of 3/8" thickness. Some may be larger or slightly smaller.

There are crates such as a 6 bottle magnum or 24 1/2 bottle crates, where the Large Collector's panel is considerably larger or taller in some cases.

Assortment of Large Collector's panels from Bordeaux, Rhone and Burgundy, France

6. First Growth Panels:

The five First Growth's of Bordeaux are: Chateau Margaux, Chateau Latour, Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Chateau Haut-Brion. These are extremely rare wines, and the panels are highly sought after.

7. Exclusive Class

The Exclusive Class are the most rare and highly detailed wine panels in the world. The crown jewel of Exclusive Class is a Domaine Romanee Conti (DRC), which is the most expensive and arguably the best wine in the world. DRC is from Burgundy, so each of the DRC wines come from single vineyards. The vast majority of DRC wines from any single vineyard are sold on the futures market well before they go to retail. This is one reason that the panel is so difficult to acquire. The private investor almost always retains the original crate with their purchase. A picture of a DRC crate is below (DRC crate not panel. The panel is displayed in front):

1988 DRC Richebourg 12 bottle wine crate

Other examples of rare Exclusive Class panels are (These pictures are of the crates not the panel. These crates are from our reserve collection, and they will not be dismantled unless purchased and requested):

Screaming Eagle

Very rare Silver Oak double magnum

Nickel and Nickel 6 bottle crate

Harlan Estate "The Maiden" 3 bottle crate

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The 7 Most Popular Wine Crate Sizes List

The advent of wine crates began mankind's attempt at mass advertising, and they are the first product packaging method made for the consumer. Thousands of years later they are still crafted for this purpose.

There are 7 main sizes for wine crates. The list is from most popular to most rare:

12 bottle wine crates:

Most commonly made by: Bordeaux wineries

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

Additional details: 12 bottle crates are made to hold (12) 750 ML wine bottles. They are mostly branded on the front sides (the 13" W part). Many of the logo designs of Bordeaux crates are timeless and highly artistic. Below is the front branded side of a 12 bottle wine crate:

Below is the inside of a 12 bottle wine crate. The dividers inside the crate are called inserts and they are designed to keep the bottles inside the crate secure. Inserts are made with either wood or cardboard. The inserts in the below picture are cardboard:

6 bottle wine crates:

Most commonly made by: Italian, Spanish and Californian wineries

Average dimensions: 13" L X 11" W X 7" H - These sizes often vary

Additional details: 6 bottle crates are made to hold (6) 750 ML wine bottles. They are mostly branded on both the front and back sides (the 13" L parts). Italian wineries tend to have a more "old world look" whereas Californian and Spanish crates tend to be more moden looking. Below are three 6 bottle crates for your review:

ZD Wines 6 bottle crate from Napa Valley, California

Sassicaia 6 bottle crate from Tuscany, Italy

Numanthia El Toro 6 bottle crate from Spain

Single bottle crates:

Most commonly made by: Italian wineries

Average dimensions: Varied based on bottle size

Additional details: There are a variety of different single bottle crates. The most common are:

Single (750 ML): 13" L X 4" W X 4" H

Magnum (1500 ML): 15" L X 5" W X 5" H

Double magnum (3000 ML): 19 1/2" L X 6" W X 6" H

Imperial (6000 ML): 21 1/2" L X 7" W X 7" H - *These are the gigantic bottles you may see in the window of a fine wine store.

These types of crates come in a variety of styles such as slide-top and flip-top lids. They are usually branded on multiple sides, and their sizes often vary based on the winery. Below are a few pictures of single bottle crates:

Magnum crates:

Double magnum (Very rare Screaming Eagle):

Imperial (Very rare Chateau Petrus):

6 bottle flat crates:

Most commonly made by: Italian and Californian wineries

Average dimensions: 20" L X 13" W X 4" H

Additional details: Flat crates are generally made to hold 6 bottles across the crate, not three on top of three like regular 6 bottle crates. Flat crates are almost twice the size length-wise of regular 6 bottle crates, but they are about half as tall.

Most flat crates are often engraved on multiple sides, with very high detail designs on the lid.

Opus One flat 6 bottle crate:

Winter 6 bottle flat crate:

3 bottle crates:

Most commonly made by: Californian wineries

Average dimensions: 14" L X 4" W X 4" H

Additional details: 3 bottle crates are generally made to be gift box/artwork/wine crates wrapped into one. One of my favorite 3 bottle crate is the Hundred Acre by Kayli Morgan:

Hundred Acre 3 bottle crate

Colgin 3 bottle crate:

The Hundred Acre is very thick and heavy. It has dovetailed corners and is engraved on all four sides, as well as on both sides of the lid. The top of the inserts are engraved as well!

The Colgin is engraved on all four sides and both sides of the lid as well.

6 bottle magnum crate:

Most commonly made by: Bordeaux wineries

Average dimensions: 15" L X 14" W X 9" H

Additional details: 6 bottle magnums are in the shape of a square. They are crafted to hold (6) magnum sized bottles. They are usually engraved on one side, but the engraving is especially large in comparison to a regular 12 bottle crate. Most wineries only make a few hundred of these at best per vintage year so they are quite rare.

Chateau La Fleur 6 bottle magnum crate:

Rol Valentin and Chateau Monbousquet 6 bottle magnum crates; one on top of the other:

24 1/2 bottle crates:

Most commonly made by: Bordeaux wineries

Average dimensions: 22" L X 10 1/2" W X 9" H

Additional details: This is the rarest crate type because most wineries don't produce 1/2 bottles every year. When they do it's for only a few dozen cases.

 Half bottles are named as such because they are 375 ML. This is "half" the size of a regular 750 ML bottle which is the most common. This crate type holds a total of 24 half bottles.

24 1/2 bottle crates are very long and tall, but are thinner than any other type of crate because the bottles are shorter. Also, their wooden inserts come in sets of 8 so they are a little more difficult to manage. 24 1/2 bottle logo designs are however very large so this makes up for it a bit.

Chateau D'escurac and Chateau Senejac 24 1/2 bottle crates; one on top of the other 

What do you think? Any questions? Please let me know

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