Wine Rack Buying Guide
Wine Racks 101
Choosing a wine rack can be as much about home decor as it is about wine storage. Wine racks not only show off your wine collection but also serve as room accent pieces in their own right. There are many different types of wine racks, each offering slightly different storage options. Picking the right one depends on a variety of factors, including how much wine you want to store, the type of storage environment you prefer, the amount space you have and your decor needs. For wine collectors, two good options are wine coolers and larger freestanding wine racks, sometimes called wine towers. If you're a casual wine drinker, consider a countertop wine rack, wine cabinet, wine console table, floating wine rack or wine serving cart.
Types of Wine Storage
A freestanding wine rack should safely hold your wine bottles and blend with your decor. Most wine racks are made from wood or metal. Wood wine racks come in a variety of wood types that complement traditional or rustic decor themes. Metal wine racks fit well in modern decor settings and can be art pieces unto themselves. Metal racks are usually smaller and lighter than wood racks, which makes them preferable when space is limited. Some wine racks offer additional storage such a shelving for glassware and drawers for corkscrews and wine accessories.
Countertop Wine Racks
A countertop wine rack is a great way to display your wine while keeping it close at hand. These small, modular wine racks are ideal for kitchen counters, but they can also be used just about anywhere else in your home. If you want to store your wine out of sight but don't have a dedicated wine cellar, you can place a countertop wine rack in a closet or under the stairs. When buying a countertop wine rack, think about where it’s going. A stylish rack can fit in nicely with your existing decor, while sturdier designs may be better suited for use behind the scenes. Some countertop wine racks work well for storing items other than wine. For example, a rack on your kitchen counter could be used to hold kitchen accessories like dish towels and placemats.
Wine cabinets often come with drawers and additional shelving to store everything you need in one place. Some wine cabinets feature glass doors that show off your collection while keeping it enclosed. Shorter models typically have countertops that are handy for pouring and serving wine. You can easily turn a wine cabinet with a countertop into a versatile home bar. If this is your plan, be sure to choose a model with adequate additional storage to accommodate glassware and accessories.
Wine Console Tables
Combine an accent table with a wine rack and you get a wine console table. As stylish as they are functional, wine console tables make great accent pieces while also providing a practical place to showcase, store and serve your wine. Though similar in some respects to wine cabinets, a wine console table always has a countertop and, if the table has a door, the door is usually solid instead of glass. A solid door hides clutter and can be particularly useful for storing wine as it keeps out harmful UV light.
Wine carts are mobile wine console tables, giving you a portable home bar to hold wine and wine accessories. Wine carts are ideal for parties in larger homes where guests spread out from the fixed home bar. Rather than running back and forth to keep wine glasses refreshed, you can bring the wine bar directly to them. Wine carts often come with storage space for glassware and other wine essentials, like corkscrews. Wine carts can also be used for additional table space if your party ends up with a few extra guests.
Wine shelves, or floating wine racks, are wall-mounted wine racks that provide accessible wine storage without taking up much room. Many wine shelves store wine vertically, making them appropriate for wines with synthetic corks and screw tops that can safely be stored upright. Other wine shelves come with convenient storage for wine glasses. Think about where your wine shelf is going and your home’s decor before settling on a wine shelf as they can make for unique accent pieces.
Wine coolers, also known as wine chillers, are refrigerators specially designed to control the temperature and humidity of the wine stored inside. Just like wine racks, wine coolers come in many different varieties, including freestanding, countertop and units built into your kitchen cabinetry. Some coolers feature multiple temperature zones, so different types of wine can be stored at their optimal temperatures. Wine coolers are great for regular wine drinks and wine collectors alike, since they can be programmed to chill wine to the perfect serving temperature or to create the ideal environment for long-term storage.
Wine Storage Tips:
- A wine bottle stopped with natural cork should be stored on its side to keep the cork moist: if a cork dries out, oxygen can leak in and ruin the wine
- Store red wine at a consistent temperature, ideally between 10°C and 15°C
- UV light can prematurely age wine, so keep wine racks in darker areas and consider enclosed wine racks that shield the bottles from light
- There is debate about whether vibrations affect the taste of wine; to be safe, keep wine racks away from appliances like refrigerators and microwaves that can vibrate things nearby
- Wood wine racks can develop splinters with use, so check each shelf before putting in a wine bottle to avoid tearing the label
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Wine Rack Buying Tips:
- Look for sturdy hardwoods like oak or maple if you plan on storing a lot of wine bottles on a wood wine rack. Hardwoods hold their shape better over longer periods of time
- There is a difference between bottle capacity and racked bottle capacity: bottle capacity refers to the number of slots in a wine rack, whereas racked bottle capacity refers to how many bottles the rack can hold in total
- Wine bottles come in different shapes and sizes, so choose shelving that will fit the sizes of bottles that you will likely store in the wine rack
- Measure the area where you are planning to put your wine rack to ensure it will fit
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