Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
I saw a wine auction where a case of wine was touted as being "banded." What does that mean? Is it important?
—Bob, New York
Some wines are sold in wood cases secured by a strap or band around the box. If a wine lot at auction is listed as “banded,” that indicates the box hasn’t been opened. In the auction world, that can certainly add to a wine’s value.
Paul Walker, a director of sales for WineBid, told me the most famous of the “banded cases” are the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti wood boxes, which are bound by a metal band.
“There are quite a few Bordeaux producers who also use plastic or other material around their packaging for the wines," he says, "and domestic producers as well: One of my favorites is Next of Kyn [from Sine Qua Non's Manfred Krankl], which uses a giant rubber band, which helps fasten together the large box containing a magnum and three 750ml bottles.”
Even though a banded case can fetch a little bit more money at auction, documented pristine provenance is usually the most important factor (beyond authentication of the wine's identity) when it comes to assessing a wine's value at auction.