Why six is the Magic number

Why six is the Magic number

Back in the 19th century, the biggest customers of Bordeaux and French wine were the British. The British did not use the metric system but used to buy in volumes called imperial gallons. It was therefore decided that one barrel of 50 gallons (which is roughly 225 liters) would be calculated as 300 bottles of 75cl (instead of 70cl or 1L for example) for ease of conversation.

With 6x75cl equalling one gallon, it was therefore easy to calculate the price per case and the model stuck for both 6x75cl and 12x75cl cases.

Buying wine in full cases of six has many benefits, and we believe that six, not seven, is the magic number.


Patients is required, but we get over-excited:

When collecting fine wine, patients is required. Due to the wineries' cash flow, they release their wines before they are ready to be drunk. Generally, the wines of top estates need another 2-3 years cellaring from release, sometimes up to 10-years depending on the wine and vintage.

As wine lovers, we are inquisitive and want to try what we have bought. We tend to get over-excited about opening special bottles before they are ready to be drunk. Storing your wine in an external warehouse away from your home like we do (more on storage here), the urge to open the wine before it is ready diminishes. You are therefore about to plan your drinking dates more efficiently and hopefully enjoy each bottle to its fullest potential.


Buy more than you drink:

To help stop the urge of opening wines meant for long-term aging, you also need to be buying more wine than you think you drink. On top of those special bottles, you need to keep a well-stocked collection of delicious ‘house wine’ bought by the case to drink at those moments towards the end of dinner when you’re feeling tempted and a bit merry to go and pop the cork of some exceptional wines that you might not appreciate in your current state.

We like to think of it as an upside-down triangle where you buy more than you drink on a continuous basis and drink what trickles downwards. We represent this in the chart below.


Tasting the wine through its life span:

The gamble of when a bottle is opened is part of the fun of buying and collecting fine wine. We talk about this more in this article here. Being able to taste the evolution of a wine at release, two years, five years, ten years, and again at twenty years is incredibly enjoying able choosing the right moment of the peak of how we like a wine makes for a fun and enthralling game. If we hit the jackpot on a bottle we’ve had in our cellar for 10 years, then having a backup bottle to show off to our friends is also quite a fun thing to have! Of course, this is only possible if we have bought a case of six bottles to start with!


Chart showing how much (broadly speaking) of your collection you should buy, drink or cellar:

Buying full cases means a better price:

Buying wine on release is the best way to secure your allocations of the wine, but also the best price. As the wine hits the market, supply starts to diminish and prices start to increase as the wine becomes scarce. Merchants tend to sell these in full cases.

Buying wine in full cases means that a wine merchant can offer the customer a better price per bottle as economies of scale are reached, and there are generally fewer labor costs in walking around the warehouse picking the orders. Being a ‘case merchant’ is one of the reasons that we can offer a competitive price to our customers.


Re-selling wine for investment:

If you are buying wine that you are planning to re-sell for investment. Then full cases is the standard format to buy in. Larger merchants will usually not be too interested in single bottles.

23 November 2020