Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny

Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

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

Dear Bob,

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.

—Dr. Vinny

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 365,000+ ratings.