Tuesday, April 2, 2013

5 Misconceptions About Wine Crates

1. Any type of bottle fits in a wine crate

Unfortunately this is not the case. There are several different bottle sizes including: Standard single bottle (750 ML), magnum sized bottles (1500 ML) and half-bottles (375 ML). Except for Bordeaux (which usually has the same-sized bottle style), most wineries change the way their bottles’ look from time to time. Some bottles have a wider base, longer neck etc. This may affect which type of crate they’ll fit into.

2.  Can’t I go to a liquor store to get wine crates?

Only the most expensive wines are packaged in a wooden wine crate. Most wine or liquor stores that purchase a full case of wine usually keep the crate. They use the crate for decorative displays or to store they’re wines. If you get lucky and a liquor store has one it’s usually damaged or unusable.

3. Every winery makes wine crates

Not true. Wine crates are expensive to make. Only the top 5% of all wineries package they’re wines in crates. The bottles would need to have a high enough cost to justify the need for additional expense and protection.

4. Wineries that package their wines in crates make a lot of them:

Most wine crates are French, and premier French wineries produce approx.  9,000 – 20,000 cases per year (1 case = 1 crate of 12 bottles). This means that the best French wineries produce 20,000 wine crates at most. You would think a lot of these are shipped to the US. Surprisingly, half stays in France. This leaves the other half to be distributed outside of France.
Approx. 20% of all French wine production comes into the United States. The major wine buyers purchase most of that before the wines are even released, so they’re the ones getting all the wine crates.

5. Who’s getting all the wine crates?

Private wine collectors and companies that hold high-end wines as an investment. A lot of French wines are meant to be “put down” for 10 – 15 years until they mature. Once they mature the value usually goes up a great deal.

There's also a new market opening up to fine wine: China. 

China may eclipse the US in French wine buying before the end of the decade. 

Soon, they're the ones who'll be getting all the wine crates.


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