Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

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Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

Postby Andy Velebil     » Fri May 18, 2012 7:27 am

In the not to distant past I was at a dinner with friends, one of whom works for an auction house. Given we were drinking some pretty incredible and expensive bottles, when the bottles were drained this person pulled out a large black marker and scribbled out the labels and capsule. I asked why and this person stated it's so no one can ever remove the label and reuse it or reuse the bottle, to prevent counterfeiting.

I thought this was a great idea and since then I've been doing the same. Mind you not for all bottles, is it really necessary for a $8 bottle of wine? But any older bottle, rare bottle, or any bottle of value. I keep a large black marker in the kitchen and when the bottles empty I completely scribble all over all labels and capsule (if it survived being removed). Only then do I toss it in the trash. If I can do my part to help prevent someone from taking the bottle out of the trash and reusing it for illegitimate purposes then I'm all for it.

Have any of you given any thought to doing the same? Or does anyone else also do this?
Andy Velebil Good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used. William Shakespeare http://www.fortheloveofport.com
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Re: Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

Postby Carl D     » Fri May 18, 2012 7:51 am

Andy Velebil wrote:Have any of you given any thought to doing the same? Or does anyone else also do this?


Have given it thought - but having opened so few bottles of significant value, it hasn't made much difference. So far, any exotic bottles we've opened, we've simply kept the bottle as a memento.

I think defacing the label is a great practice though. In fact, for very rare bottles, I'd go the additional step of breaking the bottle before discarding it.
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Re: Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

Postby Eric Menchen     » Fri May 18, 2012 12:18 pm

All my bottles go into a recycling bin in my garage before being picked up by the city. Could someone intercept them before they are melted? I suppose so, but I hadn't thought that a great possibility. While scribbling out the label has some value, I would think the bottle itself might be the harder thing to counterfeit.
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Re: Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

Postby Kurt Wieneke » Fri May 18, 2012 8:50 pm

Roy,
Interesting, I had not heard of this. Sometimes I will keep a special or meaningful empty bottle (with label) for my own 'wall of fame'.
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Re: Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

Postby Mahmoud Ali » Sat May 19, 2012 8:33 am

I've never thought of anybody in Edmonton rummaging through the bottle depot (we get 10c per bottle) for older bottles and labels.

The best thing you can do is soak the labels off and keep them in an album or, in my case, between the pages of heavier wine books and small boxes. And with the label gone it makes it difficult to identify the older bottles in the trash. If the labels don't come off properly they are likely to be ruined by the hot water, razor blade, knife, etc., and no use to anybody.

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Re: Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

Postby Richard Henderson » Sun May 20, 2012 9:10 pm

Most end up in glass recycling but occasionally I get those wine lamp wicks and lamp oil and turn them into oil lamps whcih I light for dinner parties.
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Re: Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

Postby Roel B » Mon May 21, 2012 3:01 am

Andy Velebil wrote:In the not to distant past I was at a dinner with friends, one of whom works for an auction house. Given we were drinking some pretty incredible and expensive bottles, when the bottles were drained this person pulled out a large black marker and scribbled out the labels and capsule. I asked why and this person stated it's so no one can ever remove the label and reuse it or reuse the bottle, to prevent counterfeiting.
...
Have any of you given any thought to doing the same? Or does anyone else also do this?


No... But I think it's quite impossible that one of the bottles I recycle come into contact with a person who could reuse it.

They all go into one of the glass bottle containers at the local supermarket, and most probably break on impact. These containers are large (+- 60 cubic feet), closed (and some underground) containers with bottle openings for each color at the top. When full, they are collected and emptied at a glass recycling plant. I imagine that this is not a subtle, gentle process, so even if the bottle didn't break when falling into the container, the chance of my bottle surviving it to the recycling plant in one piece are minimal. And even if it would, most of the sorting in such a plant is probably done in an automated manner. There might be a slim chance that an employee there could in theory pick out such bottles. But what are the chances that someone who works the conveyer belt in a glass recycling plant knows what is and what isn't an expensive bottle of wine? Pretty slim I guess. All in all it would be way easier to just print a counterfeit label.

Things change of course when your bottles are collected curb-side or placed in small, open bins where everyone has access. In that case this actually is a pretty sensible thing to do..

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Re: Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

Postby Andy Velebil     » Mon May 21, 2012 5:21 am

Richard Henderson wrote:Most end up in glass recycling but occasionally I get those wine lamp wicks and lamp oil and turn them into oil lamps whcih I light for dinner parties.

That's a good idea!
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Re: Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

Postby Peter W. Meek     » Mon May 21, 2012 5:56 am

As Carl said, I don't have all that many "significant" empties (a few 1960's VPs from the major houses). I keep them (along with a few attractive non-port bottles) on a shelf. If I ever needed the space and decided to recycle these, I think I would deface the labels (a heavy gouge with a knife-tip should do it) before letting them go.
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Re: Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

Postby Al B.     » Mon May 21, 2012 1:52 pm

I tend to soak off the labels of the bottles I drink. Older bottles (1970s and earlier) tend to have adhesive that dissolves in hot water, later are more difficult to get off and usually get badly damaged in the effort.

Once the label is off my empty bottles get dumped into the recycling.
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Re: Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

Postby Derek T.     » Mon May 21, 2012 3:29 pm

I have approximately 100 special old bottles from tastings in my garage. I keep them so that fraudsters can't re-use them. Or possibly because I suffer from OCD?
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Re: Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

Postby Bradley Bogdan     » Mon May 21, 2012 11:58 pm

This might be better as a separate thread, but I'll toss it out here nonetheless. What is your preferred method for saving the labels (if you're into that kind of thing), and how do you go about it?
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Re: Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

Postby Roel B » Tue May 22, 2012 2:20 am

Bradley Bogdan wrote:This might be better as a separate thread, but I'll toss it out here nonetheless. What is your preferred method for saving the labels (if you're into that kind of thing), and how do you go about it?


Soaking is so 2011 ;-) I just snap a picture of the label with my phone! Shareable on social media and a full archive of whatever you tasted available at any time, always in your pocket.

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Re: Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

Postby Andy Velebil     » Tue May 22, 2012 7:55 pm

Roel B wrote:
Bradley Bogdan wrote:This might be better as a separate thread, but I'll toss it out here nonetheless. What is your preferred method for saving the labels (if you're into that kind of thing), and how do you go about it?


Soaking is so 2011 ;-) I just snap a picture of the label with my phone! Shareable on social media and a full archive of whatever you tasted available at any time, always in your pocket.

Roel.

:lol: maybe, but I still like keeping the bottle whole, or keeping the actual label. Nothing like holding or looking at the real thing. But I understand pictures are far easier to store in a computer than a label or bottle is :scholar:
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Re: Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

Postby Roy Hersh     » Tue May 22, 2012 10:50 pm

To answer Andy's original question: I have about 100 of my favorites from over the years, spread in a few places. I keep the old VP bottles in my office, the Colheitas in my downstairs tasting room/bar area. Probably about 15 empty Madeira bottles too. My wife asked if these had value on E-Bay and of course the answer was, "absolutely not, nobody in their right mind would want them." She shook her head and walked away.

[rotfl.gif]
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Re: Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

Postby Tom Archer » Wed May 23, 2012 2:44 am

My wife asked if these had value on E-Bay and of course the answer was, "absolutely not, nobody in their right mind would want them."


"In China, especially in Guangdong province, empty fine wine bottles are worth US$50 per bottle or more, depending on the label."

Full article here:

http://ftalphaville.ft.com/blog/2012/05 ... ut-to-pop/

~~~

At a dinner party last weekend at Q. Crasto, attended by the head of the IVDP amongst others, a Dow '27 brought by one of the guests turned out to be just such a fake - a re-filled old bottle (the bottle had been bought in Germany)
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Re: Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

Postby Andy Velebil     » Wed May 23, 2012 5:27 am

Tom Archer wrote:
My wife asked if these had value on E-Bay and of course the answer was, "absolutely not, nobody in their right mind would want them."


"In China, especially in Guangdong province, empty fine wine bottles are worth US$50 per bottle or more, depending on the label."

Full article here:

http://ftalphaville.ft.com/blog/2012/05 ... ut-to-pop/

~~~

At a dinner party last weekend at Q. Crasto, attended by the head of the IVDP amongst others, a Dow '27 brought by one of the guests turned out to be just such a fake - a re-filled old bottle (the bottle had been bought in Germany)

I suspect a bit of American humor there Tom.

Wow, that sucks. How did you guys know it was fake?
Andy Velebil Good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used. William Shakespeare http://www.fortheloveofport.com
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Re: Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

Postby Tom Archer » Wed May 23, 2012 5:43 am

Wow, that sucks. How did you guys know it was fake?


I was doing most of the decanting, and when I came to that bottle first noted that the cork was not old. I then realised that the wax capsule had been artificially blackened. At first I thought it had been done with a candle flame, but when nothing came off when I rubbed it, realised that it had been done with a spray can.

The cork was a cheap home winemakers type, and the bottle contained what appeared to be a standard ruby port.
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Re: Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

Postby Peter W. Meek     » Wed May 23, 2012 9:04 am

Bradley Bogdan wrote:This might be better as a separate thread, but I'll toss it out here nonetheless. What is your preferred method for saving the labels (if you're into that kind of thing), and how do you go about it?


WineEnthusiast (an online/catalog company) sells a very sticky transparent heavy plastic for this purpose. You burnish it on to the label with a spoon and then try to peel it off. If all goes well, the label delaminates, leaving half (with the graphics) stuck to the plastic, and half (with the adhesive) remaining on the bottle. I have had about 2/3 success with this method. Maybe I don't burnish hard enough. Chasing the separation edge with a razor blade helps, but is very tedious.

To stay on topic: this certainly "demilitarizes" the label. (I used to buy surplus military electronic equipment; in almost all cases something critical had been cut out or cut in half to make sure it was not usable for its original purpose.)
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Re: Old bottles, what do you do with them after they're empty?

Postby Roy Hersh     » Wed May 23, 2012 3:40 pm

I have no time for removal of wine labels from any kind of wine bottle, no matter how precious. I also don't think that anyone would rummage through my garbage to find great old discarded empty bottles of wine and Port and Madeira and would rather not take any chance of the person doing the refuse collection, getting hurt by sharp shards of glass.

I am not naive enough to think that some losers would try to refill an empty bottle (as in Tom's example), but if caught they should be shot on the spot or turned over to Andy prior to sending them to Guantanamo Bay (think of Harold & Kumar's adventure). It is one thing to try to pull that stupid game on an auction house, which is bad enough; yet another thing completely to show up with a bottle of something old/scarce at a special tasting in the Douro.

:beat: <------ Offender
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