Perfect Claret Jugs for Fine Wine

Until the 17th century, wine was served straight from the bottle; then it gradually became customary to pour it into a special serving bottle or jug before carrying it to the table. In addition to being more decorous, the new procedure had a practical advantage: if the wine was poured slowly and gently into the serving jug, all of the sediment was left behind in the bottle. This process was known as 'canting' , and as early as 1710 the vessel that received the wine was being referred to in advertisements as a 'decanter'.

Originally it was fortified wine such as port, Madeira and sherry that was served in a decanter, a practice extended only much later to whisky and other spirits. Another popular drink was claret, which had a different meaning in the 18th century. Today it refers to dark red wines, but formerly it was a general term for the light red wines of Bordeaux, which Englishmen had been drinking with their meals since the Middle Ages (when this area was ruled by England).

JAC Chalice Crystal & Silver Claret Jug


Caring for Wood

The treatment care is dependent on the type of timber used and the finish. This basic guide will help your custom piece last more than a lifetime.

Common Wood Types


When new and unfinished, oak furniture will naturally appear quite light with a slightly yellowed hue. All woods however can have significant colour variation from one piece to another, as with any natural product. Any sample products should be taken as indicative of the wood and finish, however it is not possible to guarantee an exact colour match.

Over time, sunlight will cause the wood to darken and mellow throughout its life. Oils in the skin will accelerate this process with any areas that are regularly touched, such as handles, table edges or chair backs, gaining a noticeably darker tint to the rest of the furniture.

Solid oak furniture may also be subject to rough grain protruding from previously smooth surfaces. This is usually caused in humid conditions or areas where spillage has occurred, the water having been absorbed into the wood causing the grain to swell.


Compared to oak, walnut is quite dark when first cut, especially the American black walnut varieties. Sunlight will cause walnut to lighten overtime, often bleaching into a light brown, with perhaps a slightly red tint to it.

In all other respects, walnut behaves much in the same way as oak (see above).


Ash behaves in all respects nearly identically to oak, the main difference is ash has a slightly narrower grain. Again, as with oak, ash will darken over time.


Cherry is a wood that starts very pale, and can look very similar to both ash and oak when young. Over time, sunlight will cause cherry to darken and redden.

Avoid placing objects on cherry for a long period of time in a fixed position as this will mean the area which has been covered will remain lighter than the rest of the wood.


Sourced from North America, grey elm has a rich grain that makes it a fascinating and beautiful timber, especially when used for inlays. Elm is hard wearing with lacquered finishes naturally darkening over time.

Stained Wood

Stained versions of the woods described above, usually in ash or oak, adding a little more protection from spillages. Staining also adds a greater level of colour control between timber batches.

General Care

Finish: unless otherwise specified, our wood is usually finished in a durable clear matt lacquer. This provides an easy to care for durable finish that doesn't compromise the natural beauty of the wood grain.

Care: solid woods may expand and shrink with differences in temperature and humidity. Take care not to place your furniture next to radiators or anywhere subject to excessive changes in temperature or moisture content. We recommend that all kitchenware and beverages should be placed on mats and any spillages should be wiped away immediately.

Cleaning: to clean, wipe with a damp cloth before buffing with a dry cloth. In the event of more stubborn marks, a solution of mild detergent should be used on the cloth. Silicone based polishes should not be used on the wood as they will build up and leave a sticky residue on the surface.

Heat: never place hot items such as dishes directly onto the table without using a heat resistant mat or trivet as direct heat will draw out the moisture in the wood leaving a ring mark ingrained into the wood.

Oiled Wood Care

Finish: applied by hand. the pre-oilded finish enhances the open grained appearance of the wood giving it a slightly more rustic,matt finish. We use an Eco friendly Linseed based oil.

Care: despite having already been pre-oiled, we recommend that you apply an additional two coats of oil within 48 hours of taking delivery of the table. We would also recommend that you oil the table surface on a six month to yearly basis depending on its usage. Take care not to over-oil the table. We will give more advise during the wood selection process. 

Please note that unless specified by a client, we manufacture entirely out of solid wood and it should always be remembered that the wood should not be exposed directly to excessive heat or moisture. For instance, do not place immediately adjacent to radiators and in the event of any spillages, wipe up all liquids as soon as possible before the liquid has the opportunity to soak into the wood. Again we will advise which woods to use dependent on site visit.

Cleaning: to clean, simply wipe down with a soft, barely damp cloth to remove any dust. In the case of stubborn marks, a solution of mild detergent such as washing up liquid should be used on the cloth. Avoid the use of scourers or bleaches. In the event of severe spillages and stains the surface can be re-finished. However it is recommended that you consult our customer services department.


All the woods we use is responsibly sourced natural timbers.

Finishes such as oils or lacquers also adhere to strict European Union guidelines and regulations, minimising their environmental impact.

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Why do I need to decant wine?

Should you decant it or just serve it up straight out of the bottle?

Decanters not only look elegant but placing a wine in a decanter 'wakes up' the wine so that it reveals its full personality. Decanting either separates oxygenation of a young or tannic wine in order to release its aromas, or enables the liquid from the sediment for a vintage wine.  Decanting also presents the wine or whisky in a glass or crystal receptacle which highlights the natural colours. 

Berry Bros. & Rudd set out to find the most frequently asked questions about wine, before enlisting the expertise of their own team to answer them. Here their Wine Education Specialist, Anne McHale MW, explains why certain wine styles benefit from being decanted and the best way to go about it.

See more videos from BBR by visiting their YouTube Page.

Did you know that during the 18th century, when England was at war with France during the Napoleonic Wars, England imported young port wine from their Portuguese allies. When the wine was shipped, brandy was added to help keep it in good condition. This led to Britain's adoption of Port as their wine of choice.

The Claret Jug is the popular name of The Golf Champion Trophy, the winner's trophy in The Open Championship, one of the four major championships in the sport of golf. The awarding of The Claret Jug dates from 1872, when a new trophy was needed after Young Tom Morris had won the original Championship Belt outright in 1870 by winning the Championship three years in a row. 

See our recommended range of decanters from The Silver Company.

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