Wine Cellar Buying Guide: Wine Cellars & Racking Options

Wine Cellars and Wine Racking Options

Wine Cellar with Aluminum and Wood RackingThe type of wine racks used in a wine cellar will determine both the bottle capacity and racking capacity of your chosen unit. Wine racks are an extremely important feature of your wine cellar as they affect not only wine storage, but also the look and feel of your unit. In order to choose the racking system that best meets your needs, it is important to assess what types of wines you drink and age most often, as different types come in different bottle sizes. The most common bottle sizes for common wine varieties include:

  • Cabernet/Bordeaux Bottles: 3" Diameter
  • Burgundy/Pinot Noir Bottles: 3 1/2" Diameter
  • Champagne Bottles: 3 1/2" Diameter
  • Magnum Bottles: 4 1/4" Diameter
  • Half Bottles:  2 1/2" Diameter
  • Split Bottles:  2" Diameter


Universal RackingWine Cellars & Universal Racking
Universal racking systems accommodate all of the abovementioned bottle sizes which make them an excellent option for people with a diverse collection. Universal racking systems ensure that the opening of the wine rack is large enough to handle larger bottles. This system is great for versatility but because each opening is slightly larger than in a standard racking system, overall capacity may be decreased by roughly 30%. Universal racking can be an upgraded feature with some wine cellar manufacturers. Others, such as Le Cache offer it as standard.


Wine Cellars & Traditional or Standard Racking
Traditional, also know as standard, wine racks maximize capacity and are best suited for collectors whose main body of collection is cabernet style bottles. Wine cellars with traditional racking oftentimes do have slots either at the top or on one side that will accommodate larger bottles, but oftentimes these bottles must be stacked and capacity is at a minimum.

 Sliding Shelves

Wine Cellars & Sliding Shelf Racking
Wine cellars with pull out or sliding racking shelves are convenient and allow you to easily access your wine bottles and read labels. While extremely handy, slide out shelves will decrease your racking capacity by 35%.


Wine Cellars & Aluminum vs. Wood Racking
Racking in wine cellars is usually made up of aluminum or wood. Woods often used include cherry and redwood. Not only is wood more aesthetically pleasing, but it adds an additional level of protection to your bottles since metal racks tend to scratch bottles and tear labels. If inundated with too much weight, aluminum racks can bend out of shape. However, aluminum racking systems are a bit easier on the budget as well as allow you more bottle capacity and storage space than wood racks.


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