Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Top 11 Best Wine Crates

Not all wine crates are the same. Some are more valuable than the others, and this is based on a few factors:

  • Who designed the wine crate, and how highly detailed it is

  • What class the winery is in (First Growth, Second Growth, Grand Cru etc.)

  • When the winery was established (Many wineries are over 1,000 years old)

  • How rare it is (Some wineries only produce a dozen or so crates per vintage)

  • Where the winery is located (The most expensive are generally from France or California)

Below are the top 10 best in the world:

1. Domaine Romanee Conti (DRC)

This is the most expensive wine in the world. Made in Burgundy, the winery is ancient. The logo is highly detailed, and there's always a bidding war by private investors for each case almost every vintage. This means that the crate is almost always kept by the buyer, usually as an investment for years to come.

2. Chateau Petrus

Petrus is the most well known label to the general public. A bottle from Chateau Petrus isn't as expensive as a DRC but it's close. The label is exquisite and very unique. Petrus is an extremely rare and difficult wine and wine crate to acquire for the same reasons a DRC is.

3. Chateau Latour

Dealing with the First Growths on this list is tricky because they're all rare. Chateau Latour happens to have the lowest wine production, so it's a more difficult crate to acquire. It also happens to be the second most highly detailed crate (After Chateau Mouton Rothschild).

4. Chateau Mouton Rothschild

The amazing thing about Mouton Rothschild is that the label is redesigned every few years by a different French artist. The crates are always very distinctive based on the vintage, yet the overall design remains essentially the same. Some vintages also have slightly larger bottles made as well.

5. Chateau Lafite Rothschild

Lafite Rotshschild is the most expensive of the First Growth wineries, and arguably the most acclaimed among wine enthusiasts. The logo is unique, but not as highly detailed as some of the others. 

6. Chateau Margaux

The Margaux region is considered the best of Bordeaux by many enthusiasts, and Chateau Margaux is arguably considered the finest of the First Growths. The engraved design logo is of the ancient and highly recognized chateau mansion, and many other wineries fashioned their own chateau mansions like it.

7. Chateau Haut-Brion

This is the only First Growth winery that is owned by an American corporation. The other four are still owned by families in France dating back many generations. Chateau Haut-Brion is ancient, and dates back well before the French Revolution. It happened to be Thomas Jefferson's favorite wine.

8. Screaming Eagle

The first wine crate from Napa Valley on the list, Screaming Eagle is nearly impossible to acquire because it's very difficult to purchase the actual wine on the open market. Many of the bottles are already pre-purchased by private collectors and buyers who are on the waiting list directly from the winery. The logo on the lid is large and highly detailed. Most Screaming Eagle crates hold either 1 or 3 bottles. There aren't any 6 or 12 bottle sizes.

9. Cakebread

Cakebread isn't a particularly renowned winery but the wine crate is incredible. All four sides and lid are engraved with an exceptional design of the vineyard. The lid is slide-top style, and all the sides are 3/4" thick. Cakebread is the number one choice for wine-themed tables and unique woodworking projects for wine cellars.

10. Robert Mondavi Continuum

The second most requested piece among those that create wine-themed woodworking projects, the lid of a Continuum crate has the highest detailed design logo in all of the winemaking world. The crate itself is oversized to hold their uniquely shaped bottles, and the picture is lush and eye-catching. Continuum is only made in 6 bottle flat style.

11. Nickel & Nickel

Another extremely high detailed wine crate, the Nickel & Nickel piece is engraved with a large and thick picture of the chateau mansion on the front and back side of the lid. The left and right hand sides of the crate have carved handles, and the lettering font of the winery which is gorgeous and like no other. The lid is a flip-top style which is also rare. Most Napa 6 bottle crates are slide-top, or sit atop the crate unattached.

We usually have some of the First Growths in stock, but the Napa's have a waiting list. Feel free to contact us for more details at

Friday, April 5, 2013

Wine Crate Design Pictures (Cote of Arms)

There are many ancient designs on original wine crates and boxes. All have a unique meaning, and some date back thousands of years. Below are some of the more highly detailed Cote of Arms artwork pieces:

Chateau Latour:

Chateau Mouton Rothschild

Chateau Petrus:

Comte Georges De Vogue:

Clos Labory

Chateau D'aiguilhe


Domaine De Marcoux

Le Dame De Montrose


Les Vins IDS

Domaine De La Barroche

Chateau Bourgneuf

Clos Des Papes 

Emigre from Australia

For more, visit

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.