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Aug 6, 2009 04:02 PM

Where to find excelsior (wood wool)?

This question pushes the boundaries of "cook"ware, but I cannot think of a more proper place for it. Some friends, both 50ish, are getting married later this month; second marriage for each. As they have long passed the young just-getting-started phase of their lives, they do not need a blender or dinner plates; instead, for a wedding gift, we are giving them some wine that we picked up in Umbria that is not readily available in the United States.

Now, when invited to someone's home for dinner, you can just hand the host or hostess a bottle of wine, all by itself, or in a small wine presentation bag. But, as a wedding gift, a little more formality is called for, we think. We have obtained one of the wooden boxes that some of the finer bottles of wine are shipped in, and that is how we will "wrap" the wedding gift.

However, the insides of our wooden shipping box has a molded bottle-fitting pulp insert (like many egg cartons), which seems a bit tacky. What we would like to find is some "excelsior," or wood wool, shavings in which we can bed the wine bottles. But we have no idea where one would go to get excelsior. What kind of store would stock it?

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  1. The place that comes to mind for me is a large craft store like Michael's. If not a craft store, maybe some place like Crate & Barrel or Pier 1 has some extra lying around from one of their displays? I wish you luck in your quest.

    1. Excelsor is what evapator cooler pads were made of. You could check Home Depot and such to if they still have those.

      1. Walmart in the kraft section -should have a choice between dark green and natural wood.

        1. If I'm not mistaken, Container Store sells it in the gift wrap section.

          ....and, I just checked, and I'm not mistaken, and it's even on sale as I write this post, at $2.99 for an 8 oz box.

          Hope this link works:

          I'm seconding the suggestion to try Michael's if you don't have a Container Store near you or don't want to have it shipped.

          Also - maybe... a wine store? If none of the other suggestions works? How about buying a nice bottle of wine for yourselves to consume, have it nicely packaged in a box with excelsior, switch out the bottles, enjoy the purchased wine at home, and give the gift wine nicely nestled in the excelsior-lined box?

          2 Replies
          1. re: falconress

            falcomress, that is very helpful. (Thank you to others who responded to this thread, also.)

            Until I followed your link, I was unaware of the existence of Container Store. The Bridgeport Village store is well within driving range. I had tried Pier 1, as guilty had suggested, and was told by the unpacker there that she had not seen anything come in packed in excelsior for years; it's all bubble-wrap now.

            As for the wine store, that is where I got the wooden presentation box. I asked our wine guy who gave us the wooden box about excelsior (my spouse's work associates are endlessly amused that we have a "wine guy" the way everybody has "our physician" or "our accountant" -- they had never heard of a regular family "wine guy" before), and he said that he, too, had not seen any in years. Typical packing of wine these days is either corrugated cartons or formed wood pulp (like egg cartons) within cartons or boxes.

            Thanks to all for the suggestions.

            1. re: Politeness

              Glad I could help! The Container Store's website also lets you check whether your local store has the item in stock, and you can also place the order online and have it ready for pickup at the store, so you can be sure the trip won't be for naught.

              That store is full of useful little gadgets and aids for kitchen and home organization you never knew you needed. If this is your first visit, I'm afraid it may be the start of a new addiction :). Have fun!

          2. A final suggestion if all else fails. Buy a piece of wood, open toolbox, take out plane, proceed to make all the wood shavings you need. If it's only for a bottle or two, it should only take 5 or 10 minutes.