Premade wine racks may not fit in your space or be exactly the style you are looking for, as premade… or kit racking… comes in specific modules and specific sizes. You can have a wine racking company create custom racks for you. I would not advise to try to build the racks you need yourself. Wine racks have very specific parts to them that the average person would not even think about. The cubicle size must be correct and the rails the bottles sit on must be properly sanded so the rough edges don’t tear the labels on your bottles. The degree of angle in display racking must be no more than 15 degrees so that the corks don’t dry out. Making sturdy, functional and beautiful wine racking is not something that anyone can do. I have heard nightmare stories of people who have hired their woodworker or cabinet maker to make their wine racks, only to discover when they were finished that they had a beautiful product that was not functional. Just as you would not hire a wine racking company to make your kitchen cabinets, you would not hire your cabinetmaker to make your wine racks. There are even some wine racking companies in the marketplace that don’t get it all right. Choose your wine racking company carefully. Racks are essential in any cellar, especially if you want to be able to quickly identify the wine you plan to use. And since there are many styles of wine racks available… and many ways to create a custom design, work closely with your wine cellar specialist to come up with something that works for you.
Keep in mind the style of the rack(s) you want in your cellar, as well as how these racks will function and serve your overall needs. Figure out which walls you want your racking to cover and have all of the racks built at once instead of building some now and going through the process again at a later point. This will cost you less in the long run and you will be sure that they are all a good match. You should also have an idea of how much wine you will store in your cellar, be it now or going forward, and adjust the number of racks you need so that it can accommodate this number of bottles.
The wood you pick is a very important thing when choosing your racking. Some types of wood won’t stand the test of time, and are prone to rotting. Others, such as cedar, give off an odor which could move through the corks and damage your wine. Use the right kind of wood when building your racks. The most often used and recommended woods are mahogany or redwood. These woods are mildew and rot-resistant. They are also beautiful.
Mahogany is a very hard wood and is the one most often chosen, especially if you want to have the racking stained. The wood has a fairly smooth grain and stain applies well to this wood. There are different opinions about staining racking. Some say never to stain as the odor can go through the cork and damage your wine. This is true if you use the wrong type of stain. Never try to stain your racking yourself. First, it will take you forever with all of the small pieces involved. Second, a wine cellar specialist will know what type of stain to use so that the odor will not linger in your cellar. Any stained rack will have a smell when you first open the boxes from the factory. Just like any new furniture would. This will dissipate within just a few days of your install.
Redwood racking is another great choice. There are two types of redwood to choose from. Both, of course, come from the same tree. The All Heart Redwood is from the center or the “heart” of the tree. It is a deep rich reddish color throughout. Because there is not as much of this in each tree, it is the higher cost of the two. Premium Redwood is the other redwood you can choose. This wood is almost whitish in color with reddish streaks running through it. When choosing redwood, the type you choose is usually determined by the look you want to achieve, as well as the price difference.
Any of your racks can also be lacquered. Some people prefer to leave their racking unfinished to have a more rustic look in their cellar. Others like the look of lacquer which gives their racking more of a furniture finish. This is strictly a personal preference.
When looking for experts to help you with your wine racking… whether it be modular kits or custom racking, there are wine cellar specialists out there who can advise you on not just where to put a wine cellar in your home but also how to best store your wine in the cellar. Going with custom-made racks may be the best option for you. Kit racking may be what you need… or a combination of the two. There is a right way to store your wine, but how you get there is up to you.