Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

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NoahR
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Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#1 Post by NoahR » November 3rd, 2019, 7:17 am

Berserkers,

Getting ready to do a big home renovation and will finally have room for a real cellar. It’s an L-shaped room and I need to store a lot of bottles, so there are some challenges. Need to balance high storage volume with it actually looking nice and increasing the value of the house.

Will likely do a combination of double deep racking and some display racks. I have only a few dozen case OWC’s to accommodate but a fair number of mags, 3L and champers bottles to deal with.

Any thoughts on best traditional racking companies that have a good balance of affordability and aesthetics as well as good options? I have Vigilant and Apex on my radar. Any tricks and tips appreciated. I am good on insulation etc.

Thanks!
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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#2 Post by Stephen Pepe » November 3rd, 2019, 9:09 am

Hi. I have found a mix of single bottle racks, case racks and bins works best for me. About one third each.
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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#3 Post by Sherri S h a p i r o » November 3rd, 2019, 9:20 am

I had custom-built traditional wooden racks in my cellar in NJ, including double-deep single slots, diamond bins and full case racks. They were very sturdy and practical. I found the mix of different racks met my needs well.

My home in Florida is contemporary, and since I don't have a basement, I designed a glass-enclosed cellar integrated into the main living room and went with the vintage view double and triple racks there. I love the aesthetics, but getting the bottles in and out is difficult and a bit perilous! Totally impractical but eye-catching and gorgeous!

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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#4 Post by GregT » November 3rd, 2019, 10:27 am

I would forego the display racks. They serve little useful purpose. Go with a combo of bins and individual racks. And on the bottom, you might want to leave enough space to put some boxes on wheels. That way if you have a few cases that you pick up for an event or something, or you have some really oddly shaped bottles or three liter bottles or whatever, you can slide them around and access them easily.
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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#5 Post by CJ Beazley » November 3rd, 2019, 10:58 am

Utilize double deep as much as possible (to maximize space) and also either racks for mags or other storage method for mags.
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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#6 Post by Jeffrey Neal » November 3rd, 2019, 8:08 pm

I got mine from Apex (via Costco). They were great help on design and gave me multiple options for rack configurations. If you give them the room dimensions they will design layouts for you. Double deep racks are great and get a lot of bottles in a small space. Display racks are nice if you have a ton of space, otherwise they take a lot of room for just a few bottles. We put some bulk bins in our cellar, but I probably would not do it again. It always seems the bottle I want is on the bottom.

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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#7 Post by AAgrawal » November 3rd, 2019, 8:10 pm

I have a similar situation and shaped room. Double deep on the long wall with regular sized racking that can fit "normal" champagne bottles, single deep on the short side of the L with room for larger champagne bottles and magnums, and some room on the floor for Weinboxes to add a bit of capacity. It's fairly efficient, and it still looks pretty nice.

I stuck with individual bottle racking instead of X-bins because of earthquake risk in california. Each bottle is held in place with O-rings.
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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#8 Post by alan weinberg » November 3rd, 2019, 8:12 pm

7FB5104E-EF1C-4D47-9E99-2943FDE34B29.jpeg
display racks waste space. Double deep bins below and bins above. Whoops—picture went sideways.

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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#9 Post by alan weinberg » November 3rd, 2019, 8:19 pm

B3E4DE34-3E10-4478-A075-D00A40EECEA6.jpeg
better picture. Corners hold magnums. Double deep on left, single deep on right above bins to give some counter space.

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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#10 Post by scamhi » November 4th, 2019, 5:54 am

I don't see too many or any empty slots, Alan
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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#11 Post by alan weinberg » November 4th, 2019, 6:08 am

scamhi wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 5:54 am
I don't see too many or any empty slots, Alan
completely empty today—spent the weekend (with help) moving the wine out, almost 350 cases, as we are moving. New cellar is bigger and being built. Every muscle and joint hurts today.

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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#12 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » November 4th, 2019, 6:17 am

Any comment on pricing or quality of apex vs wine racks America?

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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#13 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » November 4th, 2019, 6:18 am

Absolutely agree on skipping the display racks. I understand you want to make it pleasing to the eye for resale purposes, but a few keen choices on the racking, the floor treatment, the door and walls can make it a beautiful room without wasting precious space on display. We had diamond bins in the old cellar and generally hated them. In the new cellar we opted for basic rectangular open bin storage that can hold either cases in boxes, or loose bottles (like in Alan's picture), so they are flexible. You never know if you might start buying more in 6 pack or case quantity. The bins are in addition to the double deep wooden racks, where most of the wine is stored. Bins are for cases, wine we have a lot of and reach for regularly, and large bottles.
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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#14 Post by Scot H. » November 4th, 2019, 7:48 am

If I started over with a clean sheet, I would do large square bins (double-deep) with wood dividers (see photo of Laurent Ponsot). The versatility of bins cannot be overstated as you can fit anything in one and the wood dividers seem to be a smart way to store bottles in bins.

Image

Plus I would do some individual-bottle racks that are large enough for champagne and PYCM bottles. One attractive option is to do metal racks. I.e., commercial wine racks. Google Wine Racks by Marcus to see what I'm talking about. So instead of individual racking, you do metal racks that are one bottle high. You will see these in restaurants.

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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#15 Post by dsimmons » November 4th, 2019, 10:34 am

As one who has mostly single bottle racking I would strongly support those who advocate large open bins. My single bottle racking ins a pain in the a%# because only about half of my bottles fit into the racking cleanly.
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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#16 Post by Andrew W. » November 4th, 2019, 11:20 am

I used wine racks America for a 2k bottle cellar and was very happy with the design, service (a rack got 'lost' in transit, and quantity for the price. Be warned, putting it all together is no small task.
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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#17 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » November 4th, 2019, 11:29 am

dsimmons wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 10:34 am
As one who has mostly single bottle racking I would strongly support those who advocate large open bins. My single bottle racking ins a pain in the a%# because only about half of my bottles fit into the racking cleanly.
Yes, that is a problem. We had ours custom made (really easy for a wood shop with the proper equipment, so can be less expensive than you might think, though of course not cheap) and could therefore dictate the exact size. We made sure our standard racks were big enough for our largest still bottles, had a different size for the champagne section, standard magnum size, and finally a specific magnum rack even larger than than standard champagne magnum rack just for Krug and Special Club magnums, which are huge.

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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#18 Post by AndrewH » November 4th, 2019, 11:47 am

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 6:17 am
Any comment on pricing or quality of apex vs wine racks America?
It was a while ago, but I recall Apex being more expensive that WRA. But doesn't Apex come more fully assembled? Which is a serious consideration - not sure if Noah can afford to be banging fingers with a hammer.

As for increasing home value - good luck with that. Just hope it doesn't decrease value too much relative to cost.

On single slot vs. bins - I think a big factor is whether your collection tends to be one or two bottles of each wine vs. case lots of each. Single bins offer flexibility, but also a hassle to organize and get out the bottles at the bottom (which matters less if they're the same as on top).
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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#19 Post by Neal.Mollen » November 4th, 2019, 12:11 pm

From what I've been told a cellar is unlikely to increase the value of the home, and it could well eliminate some prospective buyers who don't want the expense/work necessary to tear it all out.

One thing I would do over if I could would be to increase the percentage of rack space for halves and champagne/fat-ass burg bottles. What I purchased was made for standard bdx-style 705 bottles. It's still the majority of available space but squeezing in the necessary racks for halves and bigger bottles has been a chore.
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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#20 Post by alan weinberg » November 4th, 2019, 12:20 pm

Neal.Mollen wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 12:11 pm
From what I've been told a cellar is unlikely to increase the value of the home, and it could well eliminate some prospective buyers who don't want the expense/work necessary to tear it all out.
agree. Kidding oneself that home value is increased by a cellar. I just sold my home—the buyer will be ripping out the wine cellar to make a closet. But I’m having one built in the new home!

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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#21 Post by Jeffrey Neal » November 4th, 2019, 12:54 pm

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 6:17 am
Any comment on pricing or quality of apex vs wine racks America?
I didn’t check WRA, but had no complaints about pricing from Apex. The quality is excellent. The racks do take time to assemble. Mine came in tall panels that needed cross pieces nailed on the front and back. I have a pneumatic brad nailer, so that part went quickly.

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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#22 Post by B. Buzzini » November 4th, 2019, 12:57 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
November 3rd, 2019, 8:19 pm
B3E4DE34-3E10-4478-A075-D00A40EECEA6.jpegbetter picture. Corners hold magnums. Double deep on left, single deep on right above bins to give some counter space.
68 degrees Doc??? [wow.gif]
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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#23 Post by alan weinberg » November 4th, 2019, 1:47 pm

B. Buzzini wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 12:57 pm
alan weinberg wrote:
November 3rd, 2019, 8:19 pm
B3E4DE34-3E10-4478-A075-D00A40EECEA6.jpegbetter picture. Corners hold magnums. Double deep on left, single deep on right above bins to give some counter space.
68 degrees Doc??? [wow.gif]
No. My cellar has been 50. It’s off now, house being tented today. That was humidity—68%, not temp

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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#24 Post by Dale Bowers » November 4th, 2019, 2:46 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 6:08 am
scamhi wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 5:54 am
I don't see too many or any empty slots, Alan
completely empty today—spent the weekend (with help) moving the wine out, almost 350 cases, as we are moving. New cellar is bigger and being built. Every muscle and joint hurts today.
Shouldn't this be in the weight fitting thread? [training.gif]
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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#25 Post by NoahR » November 4th, 2019, 3:47 pm

So I confirmed with Vigilant that their standard racking fits Burg bottles. Not really excited about the DIY assembly but not sure if I have better choices. They have nice design software online.

Anyone use Vigilant? Thoughts?

So for big bins, I, unlike a certain Sarah who had the forethought to buy most of her wine in Base 12 ;), have tons of ones and twos and threes and a relatively smaller number of cases and OWC 3- and 6-packs. Worried about the difficulty of finding things with big bins, even if more versatile overall. How do bins help?
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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#26 Post by William Jones » November 4th, 2019, 3:55 pm

I built more Magnum sized bins( all double deep) than I needed, but found many Champagne bottles too big for regular bins fit just fine in the Mag slots.
Also had the carpenter cut pieces of veneer that slide along the side rails of each bin. With those in place you can convert a Mag slot into a regular 750 space as needed.

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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#27 Post by GregT » November 4th, 2019, 4:37 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 12:20 pm
Neal.Mollen wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 12:11 pm
From what I've been told a cellar is unlikely to increase the value of the home, and it could well eliminate some prospective buyers who don't want the expense/work necessary to tear it all out.
agree. Kidding oneself that home value is increased by a cellar. I just sold my home—the buyer will be ripping out the wine cellar to make a closet. But I’m having one built in the new home!
Yeah. The buyers of my home ripped out the cellar to build a nicer space for their nanny.

I guess nanny rooms are the new wine cellars.
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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#28 Post by Jeremy C » November 4th, 2019, 4:43 pm

GregT wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 4:37 pm
alan weinberg wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 12:20 pm
Neal.Mollen wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 12:11 pm
From what I've been told a cellar is unlikely to increase the value of the home, and it could well eliminate some prospective buyers who don't want the expense/work necessary to tear it all out.
agree. Kidding oneself that home value is increased by a cellar. I just sold my home—the buyer will be ripping out the wine cellar to make a closet. But I’m having one built in the new home!
Yeah. The buyers of my home ripped out the cellar to build a nicer space for their nanny.

I guess nanny rooms are the new wine cellars.
I fully expect that my cellar will be converted into a nanny/housekeeper space when I’m gone. In fact, I had the space plumbed for a potential future conversion.
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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#29 Post by maureen nelson » November 4th, 2019, 6:24 pm

Noah, i bought my racking from IWA and my contractor put it together. I used apex for my first cellar and I prefer the current racking. I got rid of diamond bins as they are lousy for burgundy and riesling and loire wine and that’s at least 80% of my cellar. Why don’t you come over and look at it and see what you think?

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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#30 Post by NoahR » November 4th, 2019, 7:07 pm

maureen nelson wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 6:24 pm
Noah, i bought my racking from IWA and my contractor put it together. I used apex for my first cellar and I prefer the current racking. I got rid of diamond bins as they are lousy for burgundy and riesling and loire wine and that’s at least 80% of my cellar. Why don’t you come over and look at it and see what you think?
Would love to!
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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#31 Post by Jeff D a v i e s » November 4th, 2019, 7:18 pm

I used Wine Cellar Innovations. Did open bins for OWC and bottles at the bottom with double deep on the top. They did a nice job

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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#32 Post by Randy Bowman » November 4th, 2019, 7:53 pm

NoahR wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 3:47 pm
So I confirmed with Vigilant that their standard racking fits Burg bottles. Not really excited about the DIY assembly but not sure if I have better choices. They have nice design software online.

Anyone use Vigilant? Thoughts?

So for big bins, I, unlike a certain Sarah who had the forethought to buy most of her wine in Base 12 ;), have tons of ones and twos and threes and a relatively smaller number of cases and OWC 3- and 6-packs. Worried about the difficulty of finding things with big bins, even if more versatile overall. How do bins help?
We use Vigilant at the store. Excellent racking and they will even do the design work if you send them the dimensions and ideas. The individual racks are great for display and access in our "show room" and in cellars with limited space. We also have some bins in the display area which very work well. My storage in the back is built with 2X6 lumber for shelving and uprights and 2x4 framing. (10 foot ceiling). The uprights are 4 feet apart. There is a floor deck on 2x3 lumber, the first shelf is at 4 feet, the next two at 29 inches. Wood boxes and unopened cases get stacked on the floor deck. Each 48" x 29" cubicle holds 6 cases of wine with the boxes on their side, essentially looking like racking with adequate space to add a flush set of doors to protect the wine during earthquakes. The cubicle will hold 9 to 12 cases stacked upright, depending on the size of the bottles but accessibility in a store environment is more important than it would be in a home cellar. I built a magnum rack out of 1x4 and 2x2 lumber. It could be built to any height. I also built some display racks from OWCs set at 20 degree cant on 1x4 legs.
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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#33 Post by Scott Jameson » November 5th, 2019, 4:11 am

Almost 20 years ago, I put in racks from Rose Hill Wine Cellars. They're redwood, individual bottle racks that are stackable, double-able, and have some of the problems that have been stated - hard to fit Burgundy or Champagne bottles. Looking at what Rose Hill offers today, I see they now have some additional options for these types of bottles.

I went with Rose Hill because they were the best price at the time. The exchange rate between the US & Canadian $ worked in my favor. One thing I found was it didn't make sense to order only one kit, because the shipping, customs clearance, etc. was high. The shipping for 8 kits was very reasonable.

They assembled very easily, but I highly recommend using (buying, renting, or borrowing) a brad nailer for the construction. It's much faster and easier on the wood than nailing by hand.

Here's a link https://www.rosehillwinecellars.com/mod ... -rack-kits

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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#34 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » November 5th, 2019, 4:45 am

NoahR wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 3:47 pm

So for big bins, I, unlike a certain Sarah who had the forethought to buy most of her wine in Base 12 ;), have tons of ones and twos and threes and a relatively smaller number of cases and OWC 3- and 6-packs. Worried about the difficulty of finding things with big bins, even if more versatile overall. How do bins help?
To be clear, a large part of my cellar is small quantity - I didn't always purchase in case quantities, and I certainly can't always afford it - so a very large portion of the cellar is racking, double-deep, with slot sizes customized by bottle type to a certain extent. The bins, which rectangular like normal shelves and are along most of one wall, floor to almost ceiling, hold: some cases (mostly champagne 6 packs which need more time, or are the "extra" after putting 6 into racks), OWCs, large bottles (3L and bigger), magnums in wooden boxes that we want to keep, Riesling magnums (not worth trying to customize rack slots for these), bocksbeutels from Franken (fit nicely several deep), a few other odd shapes (sekt magnums, for instance), and what I will call "overflow."

What is overflow? Those are wines we have bought in quantity, that are pretty much ready to drink and we pull regularly, and which would be too much of a pain to shelve. Our cellar is organized regionally, then by producer, wine, and vintage which makes finding a wine incredibly easy, but can be a pain to maintain. A little shifting around for a new vintage isn't hard. Putting in a whole new column for 3 cases of Vallana Gattinara is a lot more difficult. So we have a few bins that hold the quantity wines, which CT notes as being in back storage (not that we'd forget). We also have a speed rack up front that we use for randomly acquired ones or twos which we don't want to bother filing correctly.

Whether or not bins are helpful will depend on your cellar needs. We never have any trouble finding things in the bins, because none of them hold assorted loose bottles. Okay, maybe in the Franken section, but there aren't that many and the labels face out. I tend to think any new cellar should have some bins, since many collectors will have at least some of the bin needs I listed above, but totally up to you. If you are pretty sure you'll never accumulate champagne 6 packs or OWCs or large bottles, and if you don't have a racking regime like we do (it would drive me absolutely crazy not to have all of a given wine in the same place, or in two places at most, like 6 in racks and the rest in the bins), then maybe you don't need them. I value the versatility.

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Re: Cellar Construction advice: racking choices

#35 Post by David Glasser » November 5th, 2019, 8:05 am

NoahR wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 3:47 pm
So I confirmed with Vigilant that their standard racking fits Burg bottles. Not really excited about the DIY assembly but not sure if I have better choices. They have nice design software online.

Anyone use Vigilant? Thoughts?

So for big bins, I, unlike a certain Sarah who had the forethought to buy most of her wine in Base 12 ;), have tons of ones and twos and threes and a relatively smaller number of cases and OWC 3- and 6-packs. Worried about the difficulty of finding things with big bins, even if more versatile overall. How do bins help?
Like you, I don't have ≥6 of very many wines, so I'm not a fan of large bins. They are more space efficient than double-deep individual slots only if you have 6 or more of a lot of wines. If you have mostly 1s through 4s and don't want to mix wines in a single bin because of the hassle of pulling from the bottom, bins are less efficient than double deep racking. And keep in mind that not all bottles stack well (e.g. Champagne and Burgundy-shaped bottles).

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