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05/12/08 - Petite Syrah

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Choosing A Wine Rack For Storage Or Decoration

There are practical and decorative considerations to keep in mind when choosing a wine rack or storage system, not to mention a variety of options available.

When touring wine country, many people find themselves buying a bottle or two of a delicious wine they have discovered at one or more of the wineries. Some like to buy a souvenir bottle at each winery they visit. This can be a smart move, as many wineries deduct their tasting fee from a purchase. Others may wish to take advantage of a special deal offered only at the winery and take home a full case. Also, many wines are made available only at the winery, especially those of limited release.

Whether you are a fledgling wine collector or merely someone who likes to keep a few bottles around the house for special occasions, entertaining, or nightly consumption, at least one rack will be needed to protect the bottles and free up space. Even the serious connoisseur lucky enough to have a wine cellar could use a wine rack in the dining room or den for easy access to those wines that are ready to drink. Also, you may want to have one mainly for displaying some of your splendid collection to your guests.

Most people don't have a custom wine cellar; yet find their collection of wine bottles is growing. They need to establish a simple storage solution by deciding which type of racks will fit their needs. Is it mainly for storage, display or easy access? Keep in mind that your wine collection may grow over the years.

If you are interested in wine racks primarily for storage purposes, you can buy small ones to stack in a closet, place in a cupboard or put on a bookshelf. There are also decorative floor and wall units. On the other hand, if you are looking to buy a wine rack to accent your home decor or to display your favorite wines, there are many styles available. These include hanging units, stand-alone units and ones that are incorporated into pieces of furniture, which have other features such as a minibar or wine glass rack.

A good wine rack should be sturdily built. Another factor to consider when deciding on a system is if it comes unassembled, make sure the instructions are easy enough to understand and that the unit itself is simple to put together. If you like burgundy and/or champagne, choose a model with openings large enough to accommodate these bottles.


Wine needs to be kept on its side to keep the cork from drying out. While not so important for wines you plan to drink soon, it is a serious consideration when you wish to age certain wines to their full maturity and peak drinking time. The rack should be kept in a place away from direct sunlight as well as from any heating source, such as a stove, radiator or heating vent. Also, it should be kept away form vibration, as from a dishwasher, clothes washer, dryer or window with exceptionally loud street traffic.

Extreme heat makes the wine mature too fast so it can deteriorate before it reaches its peak. Wine kept in the refrigerator too long can go flat and lose its flavor because of the cold temperature and vibration of the motor. The temperature of the room where wine is kept should ideally be kept below 70 degrees Fahrenheit and between 70-95% humidity, with very little variation over short periods of time. Air conditioning alone is not too good because excessively dry air can cause wine to evaporate or leech out around the cork, ruining the wine due to oxidation.


Wine racks come in a variety of shapes, styles and materials. Wood is the most popular material. The wood types are easy to assemble, are very durable and can be modular or stackable. Wood wine storage systems can come in pine (the most common), spruce, oak, fir, cedar, redwood and mahogany. These last two hold up very well against decay and mildew due to extreme humidity.

Metal wine racks allow for unique shapes and contemporary designs. If buying a steel model, make sure it is painted with a chip resistant paint. Powder coatings come in different colors and are quiet strong. For a sturdy wine rack, wire should be of a heavy gauge and the weld joints very strong. Stainless steel is more expensive than steel wire, but it resists corrosion better and doesn't need the paint coating.

Other materials used include chrome, Lucite, acrylic, wrought iron and polished brass.

Single racks that hold just one bottle make great gifts. Hanging racks are great for freeing up space. Standing wine racks with tabletops are handy for serving. Some have drawers for holding wine accessories, with the bottles stored below. Some even have glass shelves above or a hanging rack for wine glasses.

Wine cabinets that you plug in come in various types and sizes. They are nice because they are self-contained and temperature controlled. Some look like a fine piece of furniture, which you can coordinate, with the rest of your room. Cooling units may need to be professionally installed. Expensive and elaborate options include the wall wine rack system, which is built in and customized.

A wine rack filled with bottles collected on wine tasting trips is sort of like a photo album, holding memories of your wine country experience and just waiting to be opened and enjoyed anew.

About the Author

Laura Eggers lived in Sonoma County and the San Francisco Bay area for many years, exploring the pleasures of wine country whenever she could. Now based in Southern California, she is enjoying new discoveries in the Santa Barbara wine touring region. Her website offers visitors a an overview of several California and Oregon wine regions, with information on wine tasting rooms open to the public.

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Choosing A Wine Rack For Storage Or Decoration

There are practical and decorative considerations to keep in mind when choosing a wine rack or storage system, not to mention a variety of options ava...

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Petite Syrah Products we recommend

Locking Wine Jail Decorative Rack

The sophisticated twists and turns of a finely crafted wrought iron leaf design create a handsome showcase for your wine collection. This distinctive storage cabinet has a beautiful verdigris finish that gives it the presence and patina of a precious antique. Because it’s equipped with a black lock that secures the front door your wine bottles will always remain undisturbed and protected until you’re ready to serve them. Holds up to 33 bottles and adds a touch of Old World artistry to any decor. Space-saving design measures a compact 36'Hx16'Wx14'D. Lock included.

Price: 99.95 USD

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