How to Start a Wine Cellar: Wine Racks for Reality Budgets

wine rack smallYou don’t have to live over a limestone cave, or have the budget of an eighteenth-century aristocrat, to cellar wine.

Of course, higher-end options exist including wine fridges and custom-built wine cellars.

However, you can start as simply as you like, with one wine rack purchased at a home furniture store, and add more as your collection grows.

Here are tips on which wines to stock in your cellar.

$200 – $5,000 WINE RACKS

Set up racks in a cool, dark area of the house, such as the basement, cold storage room or closet that have the best conditions for wine storage. Basements are often the best places, since concrete heats up and cools down slowly, which are close to the ideal conditions to cellar wine.

But be warned: by the end of each season, accumulated heat or cold in the concrete can still make the conditions less than ideal for long-term wine storage.

Low-cost racks can be bought prefabricated or in do-it-yourself assembly kits. Materials are usually stainless steel, wire grids and wood.

Stainless steel and wire grids, though cheaper, are least desirable since the metal conducts temperature at wider extremes than the bottle, and can cause hot or cold streaks where it touches the bottle.

Softwoods such as pine and Douglas fir, though more prone to warping, are good, low-cost options – mainly because they’re easier to work with, and lighter to ship than hardwoods.

However, the best racks are those made from more expensive rainforest woods, such as Californian redwood. They absorb moisture with little warping, they’re not aromatic and so don’t affect the smell of the wine through the cork, and they don’t need varnish or finish.

Where to Buy Wine Racks

Ikea and Costco both sell low-cost pre-fabricated wooden racks.

Specialty wine accessory stores and custom cellar builders also sell these racks along with other subterranean accoutrements.

WineCellarGiorgioGeorgio is clearly happy with his racks ;)

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