With a wide range of materials, sizes and styles available, wine racks are a great way for any wine aficionado to effectively store bottles in their home. Whether you only require storage for a few key bottles, or for kitting out an entire cellar, there are many options to choose from.
We spoke with Wine Racks, UK-based experts in wine storage, to determine the key points to consider when choosing a wine rack which is right for you.
Where you store your wine is critical, particularly if you plan to build up a collection over a long period of time. Perhaps the biggest challenge for many is deciding where exactly this place may be, and often, those starting out will make the mistake of assuming this area to be the kitchen. However, unless you have a temperature-controlled kitchen, this is a no-no, since sunlight can quickly alter the temperature of your wine and spoil it.
The ideal conditions for storing wine is lying down, within a cool, dimly-lit, humidity-controlled area, which is not susceptible to vibrations and where the temperature does not fluctuate.
As such, if you are blessed with enough space, it’s wise to store wine in a cooler area, ideally below ground. The basement is perfect for this and can be made even better by having a cellar conditioner, which are different from normal air conditioners.
If the space is above ground level, it is important to have the room insulated so that the cellar conditioner can work efficiently. Wine fridges should not be put into a cellar as they produce heat. You can seek advice from other wine enthusiasts or read some online reviews in order to determine which cellar conditioners are worth the long-term investment.
There is simply no point in building up a fantastic wine collection unless they are being stored within the right environment!
The type of wine rack you invest in will, of course, depend upon the types of wines you prefer to drink and those which you have in your collection. Different wines have different bottle sizes and styles, meaning that standard wine racks (3.5 inches for regular 750ml Bordeaux bottles) will not always be able to fit them.
For instance, if you are someone who has lots of magnum bottles and other larger bottle formats, like champagnes, then you might require a wine rack which has a larger opening than the standard size. Likewise, split or half bottles might form part of your collection and the same problem ensues.
In such cases, custom-built wine racks can be made to accommodate your wine storage choices and can offer a variety of bottle size and shape options.
Selecting the right material for your wine rack is essential, as it not only affects how your wine will be kept, but also how it blends with its surroundings and the overall price tag.
The most common choice is wood, in particular oak, or pine, which hold up well in climate-controlled areas without cracking or attracting mildew. For a more cost-effective material, solid pine wine racks are a popular choice providing an attractive and versatile way to store wine. With these wine racks, the thickness of the material is essential to provide a sturdy and durable wine rack.
Choosing a wooden wine rack looks great in modern and traditional-style interiors, but it must be noted that this material might not always prove practical, particularly in damp-prone areas which is where all-metal wine racks have a distinct advantage.
Cheaper woods like poplar, fir and cedar should absolutely be avoided, as they can taint the smell of the wine. We also advise against using a finishing paint for the same reason. However, coloured stain and Danish oil can be used.
An alternative choice is the metal wine rack, which looks fantastic in contemporary interiors and allows for easy transportation. However, this material is not without its limitations, as they are more difficult to achieve an exact fit.
Bottle holders should be smooth because sharp edges can cause label tearing when bottles are removed, which can decrease the wine’s value or look less presentable when serving to guests.
Your wine racking should be correctly installed to ensure stability. There is nothing worse than smashing a valuable bottle within your collection, so be sure to thoroughly examine the quality of the wine rack and the details used to construct it, so as to prevent the unthinkable from happening.
You should carry out some research and figure out the type of questions you want to ask before making a purchase. Consider how many bottles you want to store and whether you require storage for standard, half, magnum or large champagne bottles. If wines are to be kept in their original wooden cases, case racks are a great storage alternative.
Above all, always be sure to use a specialist company which understands the ins-and-outs of wine storage and the associated product specifications – unfortunately, your local builder or wood-worker simply won’t cut it!