If you’ve ever had the privilege of owning a case of fine wine, let’s say from Bordeaux or Burgundy, the chances are that your wine came in a vintage wine box. In fine wine sales, such a box is referred to as the wine’s “original wooden case”. Perhaps you know them as “wine crates”. These can vary in shape and sizes, depending on the number of bottles inside, the size of those bottles (half bottles, bottles and magnums will all require different formats) as well as the preferences of the region or even the individual producer. If you’re really lucky, you may even see a particularly famous name such as Château Le Pin or Domaine de la Romanée-Conti! In any case, you can usually expect a sturdy wooden box bearing a logo or emblem – or at least the name – of the producer, and a number of other details.
What to do with a vintage wine box
The primary function of the vintage wine box, naturally, is to store high quality vintage wine. The box, when stowed properly, will keep your high value wine secure from shocks and breakages in transit, and by keeping the bottles on their side will ensure that the corks maintain some contact with the wine and don’t dry out. If you’re fortunate enough to have a wine cellar at home, you can leave your wine intact in the vintage wine box with no major impetus to remove the bottles.
When you’re finished with the vintage wine box – either because you couldn’t resist drinking the contents, or you have removed the bottles and found them a new home in your cellar, for example in a Eurocave wine cabinet – you have some options for what to do with it!
Five things to do with an old vintage wine box
- Use it as a flower bed or space for growing herbs or vegetables. Particularly if you live in an apartment or if garden space is at a minimum, you’ll be surprised what you can grow within the confines of a vintage wine box!
- Re-use it to store more wine. Just because your vintage wine box says Château Mouton Rothschild 2005 on the side, it doesn’t mean that you can’t use it to store whatever other wine you may have lying around – think a good value Rioja. Your wine will thank you for it, and you may even impress a guest or two!
- Make a bookshelf, or get a few boxes together and make a set of bookshelves. Whether you build from the floor or atop another surface (a worktop or mantelpiece, perhaps), you’ll be surprised just how versatile the vintage wine box can be and how easily you can make a very stylish “reclaimed” bookshelf. Minimal DIY know-how is needed, though you may want to screw the boxes together for stability.
- Make a cupboard or chest of drawers. This one requires a little more DIY skill, but in a nutshell: You will need several vintage wine boxes. Carefully, you will need to knock out one of the long side panels (traditionally these boxes are opened from the flat piece at the top and all four side panels remain intact). Lying flat, stack the boxes one on top of one another. Screw all pieces together and hey presto!
- Break the vintage wine box down into flat parts and use each side as a bespoke cheese board, chopping board or other presentation board.
If all else fails, you can consider selling your vintage wine box. You may not make a fortune, but take it down to your local garage sale or put it on eBay and make a little bit of cash for your troubles!