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Choosing the perfect wine rack

How to Choose the Perfect Wine Rack

One of the most satisfying parts of building your own wine collection is deciding how you'll store and display it in your home. But wine storage can easily become overwhelming when you start looking at all of the racking options out there. You can choose from stackable, hanging, countertop, wall-mounted, cabinets, drawers, and even jails. There are so many styles and types available that you may not be sure which one is right for your space.

We've got you covered.

In this guide, we'll share tips on how to choose a wine rack that’s perfect for your space and needs. Let’s get started.

Wine cellar to choose with perfect wine racks filled with wine bottles

What are the Benefits of Using a Wine Rack?

Before we discuss what type of wine rack you should buy, let's discuss why you need a wine rack to begin with.

Wine racks allow you to:

  • Store your wine in one location - Keep all of your collection in the same area instead of scattered throughout your home
  • Store your wine bottles horizontally - Storing horizontally prevents wine bottle corks from drying out and introducing air to the wine, which will cause it to age prematurely
  • Save space - Wine racks can be efficient space-savers which is especially important if you need to store a lot of bottles in a small space
  • Save money - No matter your budget, you can find an affordable wine rack
  • Display your bottles in a pleasing arrangement - Wine racks can turn your wine collection into an aesthetic decor element in your home
  • Access your bottles easily - When you organize your collection on racks, you can see your labels more easily and quickly find what you're after
  • Reduce vibration - A common storage spot is above the refrigerator, but this is a major no-no because of heat and vibration issues from your fridge. With a rack, you have a secure and stable home for your collection that's also free from vibration

6 Questions to Help You Choose Your Ideal Wine Rack

Answer these questions to decide which type of wine rack will best meet your purposes.

1. Why Do You Need a Wine Rack?

While there are a lot of benefits to using racks for wine storage, there are two main goals for buying a wine rack.

For some wine collectors, racks serve a practical purpose. Racks allow you to store dozens or even hundreds of bottles of labels in an organized and easily-accessible way. This gives you the ability to find the right bottle whenever you need it. Otherwise, if your bottles were all in boxes, it would be a huge challenge to find that particular wine that you're looking for.

However, some collectors use racks primarly for display purposes. You can organize your wine in a handsome arrangement, with the help of racks, and it can be an impressive display that you get to show off whenever guests come to your home.

Perhaps you'd like racks for both purposes: function and look. Fortunately, most racks are designed to appeal to both your practical and your aesthetic needs.

It’s good to know what you’d like to gain from the addition of a wine rack so that you’re satisfied with your choice at the end. You’ll have serious buyer’s remorse if you’re trying to create a show-stopper cellar but end up purchasing a practical, no-frills wine rack simply because you didn’t keep your goal in mind.

2. How Many Bottles Will You Need to Store?

Whether you’re buying a rack for practical or design purposes, you do need to know how many bottles you’re looking to store. This will help you determine what type of rack you’re after and how many of those racks you may need to buy.

All wine racks have capacity limitations. But the good news is that, if you’ve fallen in love with a particular rack type or style, you can add more racks to hold even more wine, assuming you have the space to do so.

3. How Large is Your Storage Space?

The next step in determining your ideal wine rack solution is to calculate your space’s dimensions. Some of us have large cellars that can hold hundreds of bottles and multiple racks comfortably. Some of us can only devote a portion of the wall or a space under our stairs. Whatever space you have allotted for your wine collection, there’s a racking solution for you.

The number of bottles in your current collection should dictate where you plan to store your bottles. If you only have a few dozen bottles (or less), you can choose a smaller space for your storage. But if you have a large collection or plan to expand your collection in the future, you need a space that can house your needs. Also, remember that your storage space doesn’t need to be a huge room to accommodate a large number of bottles. That’s the beauty of racking. Racking allows you to take advantage of vertical space so that you can store more bottles than you would be able to otherwise.

Before shopping for racks, measure out the walls in your space so you have a good idea of how large your racks should be to meet your quantity needs. And keep in mind that you can store two or more racks next to each other in case one rack won’t be large enough to fit your needs.

Wine bottles stored horizontally in a wine rack

4. What Type of Wine Rack Do You Need?

N'FINITY Walnut Stackable 4 Foot Wine Rack - Curved CornerVintageView 'Waterfall' Wine Rack Kit (81 Bottles)

There are two main types of wine racks: Freestanding and installed.

Freestanding racks are able to be moved around as you see fit. They are independent of each other and not screwed into the wall, floor, or ceiling. These units are flexible and easy to assemble and put in place. They're also easy to move if you ever get bored of a configuration.

Installed units are typically customized to meet the dimensions of your storage room. They give any room a built-in look that helps to define and elevate the space. Installed racks are usually more expensive than freestanding racks. Because they're often built to order specifically for the space, they don't offer the same level of flexibility as a freestanding rack would. So, when you opt for installed units, you should be ready to stick with the same style for a long time.

There are pros and cons to each type of wine rack.

Freestanding is more flexible and configurable. They’re more affordable, too. However, freestanding units may not be as sturdy as installed ones.

Installed units can appear more elegant and intentional. However, they tend to be more expensive and are often tailor-made specifically for a space, so if you do move in the future, your installed unit probably won’t.

5. What Style of Freestanding Wine Racks Are You Drawn to?

Both freestanding and installed racks come in a variety of styles. Here are the most common styles for both:

  • Stacking - This type of rack holds one or more bottles of wine on a row and each row can be stacked on top of each other. The rack may contain multiple rows. The benefit of choosing this style is storage capacity. Since the bottles are packed close together in a stacking arrangement, you can store a maximum amount of bottles in a small space.

Because freestanding tends to be more flexible, there are a few more style configurations that are available when you choose this option, including:

  • Floor - Floor racks are vertical racks that don't need to be screwed into the wall. These floor racks are sturdy and available in a variety of styles, such as modern and traditional
  • Wine Jails - A jail is a metal cage that both displays and also keeps your wine secure behind a lockable door. This furniture can be used for security purposes but is most often used to meet a design style.
  • Countertop or Table Top - These racks are the simplest storage solutions because they can literally fit on a countertop or tabletop. You don't need to attach these racks to a wall, floor, or ceiling. They're also beneficial because they don't take up floor space (unless you decide to place these units on the floor). To take advantage of counter space, these racks tend to be designed short and wide. This means that you can place them in various small spaces around your home, including the top of a bookcase or under a stairwell. But keep in mind that wines should be stored in a spot that's free of vibration or any elbows that may accidentally bump into them.

Let's look at racks that can be installed in your home:

  • Wall-mounted - These racks are attached specifically to a wall in your space. In addition to holding your bottles, they can serve as an intentional art display or statement piece in your home. Some wall-mounted racks only hold a few bottles, others hold dozens. However, these racks tend to have a smaller capacity due to their weight limitations. Racks can be mounted next to each other to create a repetitive design on your wall that's pleasing to the eye. Be mindful that these racks can carry a higher accident risk than other options on this list because they may dislodge from the wall if not mounted correctly or if too much weight is added.
  • Hanging - This type of rack can be suspended from the ceiling or from cabinets. While they can hold wine, hanging racks are used more so for aesthetic purposes than for practical. Even the most securely mounted hanging wine racks have limited capacity.

6. What is Your Favorite Material for a Wine Rack?

Do you have a material preference? If you're not sure, consider the look and feel of the rest of your home.

If the rest of your home is more traditional, go for wood wine racks. This material confers a time-honored elegance that echoes old-world sophistication.

If you love the modern look, you can't go wrong with a material like aluminum, chrome, or some other brushed metal. It gives off an edgy vibe that feels current and contemporary.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the perfect wine rack comes down to needs, preferences, and budget. Fortunately, there are racks to meet all of those conditions. Start shopping for your wine racking solution here.

Contact us today so we can help you decide on what's the best wine cellar for your home. 

Randy Green

Randy is a true wine storage aficionado and expert in wine cellar design. He gained construction experience as a partner in a general contracting business before niching into and passionately focusing on creating wine storage solutions for clients in 2016. He takes great pride in bringing these designs to life, and is dedicated to ensuring that every wine cellar he creates is not only functional but also a beautiful addition to any home or business. The Wine Cellar HQ team also includes refrigeration sizing experts and licensed HVAC technicians to ensure optimal climate control for your wine cellar, so that your wines can age to perfection.
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