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 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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