Wine cases have been used for hundreds of years, and make the transport and storage of wine much easier and more reliable compared to loose bottles. Traditionally, a wooden crate was used to create a case for the wine, though today many bottles are cased in cardboard.
A case of wine usually contains 12 bottles, though some expensive and more upscale wineries will sell a case of only six.
Additionally, individual wine crates are sometimes made to hold only one bottle, though this is rare and usually only done for very prestigious bottles of wine.
How Many Bottles In A Case Of Wine? What You Need to Know
1. History of Wine Cases
Humans have been making wine for thousands of years, and at first, it was mainly stored in clay jugs and pots.
However, as time went on the glass bottle showed itself to be the superior vessel, as it is non-porous and can store wine for a very long time.
Glass bottles are also extremely fragile, and awkwardly shaped for stacking or storage. These factors led to the creation of the wooden wine crate. A wooden wine crate traditionally holds 12 standard-sized bottles of wine and serves multiple purposes.
Wooden wine crates make it possible for hundreds of bottles to be stacked on top of and next to each other, allowing for easy storage and inventory control. The boxes are also filled with cushioning to help protect the wine bottles from damage during transport.
The wooden wine crate is also a branding and marketing opportunity for wine producers, and many choose to paint, engrave, or even wood burn their logos and names onto the sides of each box. Many are made of premium wood, especially higher-end options.
Today, wine cases are often constructed from cardboard, and have foldable cardboard inserts inside to keep the bottles separated. While these are a more economical and environmentally friendly solution, they do lack a certain elegance that the wooden crate provides.
2. Purchasing a Case of Wine
Buying wine by the case is a great way to take advantage of winery discounts, and is the second most sold unit of wine, with individual bottles being the first.
Many producers and wineries allow customers to build a mixed case of their different bottles.
Building a mixed case of wine takes a bit of planning, but the savings are significant and it is the most convenient option for many wine enthusiasts.
When selecting bottles for a mixed case, it is important to keep in mind how, and by whom, the wine will be enjoyed.
Many wine enthusiasts choose to start with two or three high-end bottles for storage, gifts, and special occasions. They then balance the case out with a handful of affordable, easy-drinking wines that are perfect for bringing to parties.
It is also recommended to fill the case with a mix of both red and white wines, ensuring a proper bottle for every occasion.
Sparkling wines and rosé should also be added for variety’s sake, as they can be “secret weapons” when it comes to pairing with different cuisines.
James Beard award-winning author Madeline Puckette’s site Wine Folly does a great job at breaking down complex wine concepts into simple-to-understand graphics and guides. They released a fantastic guide on building a wine case and diving deep into different price points.
3. Different Wine Case Sizes
While a 12-bottle case is the most common type of wine case, they are also often found in six-bottle varieties. This is usually the case with higher-end, premium wine selections. Extremely valuable or prestigious bottles will sometimes have an individual case.
In a 12-bottle wooden case, the bottles are usually laid on their sides and stacked two high and six wide. With cardboard cases, each bottle sits straight up and down.
The most common style of six-bottle wooden cases also stacks two high, with the bottles laid sideways.
While less common, there are also “six bottle flat crates” that are generally used by wine producers in Italy and California. Three bottle cases are also used by California wineries and are traditionally used for gift boxes.
Different sizes of wine bottles also require their own crates. Magnum wine bottles are double the size of a standard 750 ml bottle, and their cases hold six bottles each.
Half bottles also have their own wine crates, which hold 24 miniature bottles each.