Layout my wine cellar

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JDavisRoby
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Layout my wine cellar

#1 Post by JDavisRoby » November 30th, 2019, 11:37 am

Hope to order racks for my cellar under construction in the next week. Getting quotes from Wine Racks of America and Vigilant. I am struggling a bit with what type of racks (diamonds, shelves, large format, etc) to buy and how to lay them out. For those that have a walk-in I’d like some advice on how to lay things out. Couple of useful notes:

- Collect some bottles with larger diameters aka Syrah, Pinot Noir and Turley.
- Don’t collect a significant amount of champagne (have less than a case) currently and not sure I ever will
- Don’t buy many collectibles by the case - most large quantity is daily drinkers
- I’m thinking magnum storage in the 20ish range is sufficient
- Would like one set of shelves for case, decanter, etc storage
- My thought is having one set of diamond bins for daily drinkers would be good

Here is shape and dimensions after walls are insulated (closed cell foam) and covered:
CD53E3A3-753F-4E7D-AC9E-04F5B39D43C1.jpeg
05C0E1A0-0E2B-45A2-B102-C58DFAAFF338.png
Any suggestions welcome.
Last edited by JDavisRoby on November 30th, 2019, 12:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#2 Post by GregT » November 30th, 2019, 11:54 am

I don't get the question. Normally you'd put the bigger things on the bottom, as well as whole cases. Those are almost the exact same dimensions I had except my door was on wall 2 and the cooler on wall 4. Then I lost a few inches to insulation on all walls since I used extruded poly, and I built shelves along walls 1 and 3. NOT double deep. Figure about 13 inches off each side for the bottles and then you have room to turn around in there. If you do like everybody else and just do wood studs with fiberglass, you'll have a couple extra inches. Not enough to matter though.

Organization all depends on what you drink. I laid out my cellar by region, so I could find Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Toro, south Spain, Bordeaux left and right, N. Rhone, S. Rhone, Austria, Hungary, WA, N. Italy, S. Italy, CA, Rieslings, sweet wines and sherries, other whites, and reds from elsewhere. But that's just because those are the wines I had. By posts, seems like a lot of people on this board have much more wine from CA as well as Burgundy. I have about three bottles of the latter and while I have a fair bit of wine from CA, we're on no mailing lists so it's mostly Cabs, Syrahs, and interesting things that I pick up from time to time but don't collect. We bought exactly one mag in over 30 years and that can sit quite nicely on the floor.

You would obviously organize differently, depending on what you drink. The only thing I would suggest is that you put the wines you don't want to drink right away off in the corner at the bottom and make your go-to stuff somewhere around eye level. Good luck.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#3 Post by John S » November 30th, 2019, 12:21 pm

If it were me I'd just do the entire wall across from the door in single bottle (champagne sized) double deep racking. That way you get lots of storage (i.e. the double deep part) and with it all champagne sized you don't have to worry about will this 750ml bottle fit here. I also organize by region but that is always changing. I am not generally a fan of bins. Maybe one vertical row of double deep mags racking, or two, if you need xtra. I like to keep my cellar simple, functional, and more focused on storage than looks. YMMV.

Oh, one great tip is to leave the racking height about 10-12" under the ceiling if you have enough height. That then have wood put across the top and you can stash all kinds of wood boxes and/or large format bottles up there. Comes in super handy and with a 8' ceiling the top is pretty hard to get to for single bottles anyhow.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#4 Post by JDavisRoby » November 30th, 2019, 12:22 pm

Greg,

I’m looking for any advice on what type of racking to buy (ie how many diamonds, how many large format, etc) and how to place what where. I edited my OP to hopefully better clarify.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#5 Post by AAgrawal » November 30th, 2019, 12:31 pm

I found this really helpful:
https://wineracksamerica.com/bottle-size-charts/

I actually went with "Champagne" size racking almost everywhere, and that will fit anything from normal bordeaux bottles to large Rhone/Burgundy and "normal" champagne bottles. I would say that fits ~50% of actual champagne bottles, so I wouldn't get that if you actually wanted it to store champagne bottles. I then got a small corner of magnums (one column, about 10 bottles for me) and an area of "large champagne" racking, which fits Taittinger Comtes, Krug, etc. There isn't much space savings if you go for regular bordeaux racking rather than champagne racking, and that will ONLY fit bordeaux-sized bottles (not burgundy or rhone).

I'm not a fan of diamond racking, both for difficulty removing a bottle and for earthquake risk here in california.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#6 Post by Chuck Miller » November 30th, 2019, 12:33 pm

I would think about double deep racking the entire length of wall 1, and NO racking/storage along wall 3. Your room is fairly narrow, and if you have single deep along both walls, the center will be tight and you’ll be bumping into bottles on one side or the other, with no room to turn around while holding a wood case or the like. Finish the end walls with whatever fits your needs.

Besides giving you a smooth wall to work with, double deep will save you an inch or two v. two sets of single deep due to the neck to punt savings. I’m a big guy, and like a little elbow room. If you are slender it may not be as big of a deal.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#7 Post by Shay h arnoy » November 30th, 2019, 12:51 pm

I know I am not fancy, but I set an alert for wine racks on craigslist. Got them for pennies and spent the savings on more bottles! They are not absolutely perfect but they are super sturdy and functional and look really good (especially when full!).

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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#8 Post by JDavisRoby » November 30th, 2019, 1:00 pm

Chuck Miller wrote:
November 30th, 2019, 12:33 pm
I would think about double deep racking the entire length of wall 1, and NO racking/storage along wall 3. Your room is fairly narrow, and if you have single deep along both walls, the center will be tight and you’ll be bumping into bottles on one side or the other, with no room to turn around while holding a wood case or the like. Finish the end walls with whatever fits your needs.

Besides giving you a smooth wall to work with, double deep will save you an inch or two v. two sets of single deep due to the neck to punt savings. I’m a big guy, and like a little elbow room. If you are slender it may not be as big of a deal.
I hadn’t really thought of doing the double deep racking but you make a great point. I am slender guy, and wonder if having a double deep on one side and a single deep on the other would be too tight? That leave about 30” between the racks.

What is the recommended minimum “aisle” spacing between racks?
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#9 Post by JDavisRoby » November 30th, 2019, 1:03 pm

Shay h arnoy wrote:
November 30th, 2019, 12:51 pm
I know I am not fancy, but I set an alert for wine racks on craigslist. Got them for pennies and spent the savings on more bottles! They are not absolutely perfect but they are super sturdy and functional and look really good (especially when full!).
I actually bought my first rack on Craigslist. Been watching it for months but haven’t seen anything else. Also, I want this max storage capacity and I’m worried piecing it together won’t allow that.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#10 Post by Chuck Miller » November 30th, 2019, 2:07 pm

JDavisRoby wrote:
November 30th, 2019, 1:00 pm
Chuck Miller wrote:
November 30th, 2019, 12:33 pm
I would think about double deep racking the entire length of wall 1, and NO racking/storage along wall 3. Your room is fairly narrow, and if you have single deep along both walls, the center will be tight and you’ll be bumping into bottles on one side or the other, with no room to turn around while holding a wood case or the like. Finish the end walls with whatever fits your needs.

Besides giving you a smooth wall to work with, double deep will save you an inch or two v. two sets of single deep due to the neck to punt savings. I’m a big guy, and like a little elbow room. If you are slender it may not be as big of a deal.
I hadn’t really thought of doing the double deep racking but you make a great point. I am slender guy, and wonder if having a double deep on one side and a single deep on the other would be too tight? That leave about 30” between the racks.

What is the recommended minimum “aisle” spacing between racks?
There is no way you can do double deep on one side and single in the other with only 54” to work with, and still have room to move. You might think so just looking at the racking dimensions of let’s say 22” deep on the double deep and and a little under 12” for single deep, but wine bottles are typically 12.5 to 13” tall, and will stick out past the edge of the racking. So first, your math is wrong, you’d only have 20” between racks, and in reality, more like 17”.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#11 Post by Jason T » November 30th, 2019, 2:07 pm

I love my racks from Wine Racks of America. They hold a decent variety of champagne bottles. Admittedly some are too big, and for those I just set them on top.

Death to diamond bins. I don’t have any, but the previous times this thread has come up, everyone who had them says they wish they didn’t have the diamond bins.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#12 Post by John S » November 30th, 2019, 2:17 pm

Your max capacity (with good functionality) is to simply rack all of wall 1 with double deep racking. Leave the other walls open. You will have approx 30" of space between rack and opposite wall which is OK to work with (I try for 36" but 30" is fine) so you can get that double deep racking in. If you try to rack walls 2 and 4 you'll get less wine (unless you make things really tight) and for my tastes it will not look as nice/functional.

I see now the room height is 80" so that is a bit too low to add a high shelf IMHO.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#13 Post by GregT » November 30th, 2019, 2:24 pm

JDavisRoby wrote:
November 30th, 2019, 12:22 pm
Greg,

I’m looking for any advice on what type of racking to buy (ie how many diamonds, how many large format, etc) and how to place what where. I edited my OP to hopefully better clarify.
Aha. Diamonds are nice in theory but a pain in reality. They are an efficient way to store bottles if you build them to the right measurements and you fill them. But they're a serious pain if you want a bottom bottle and you have a full bin of different wine. In terms of space utilization, individual racks are the least efficient. They're also the most user-friendly.

One way you can save a bit of space that will allow you the equivalent of a few extra racks is to build shelves that hold several bottles rather than only one at a time. If you look at the pic, the standards (up and down) are 3/4 inch. Eliminating one or more by building a shelf for more than one bottle saves you 3/4 inch per bottle. You lose a little going up because the bottles don't hang through, but for me it was worth it.

Figure at least 13" per bottle on each side. As long as you have about 24 inches to turn around in, you're good. But you're going to be coming in through a door carrying a box, so for convenience, you probably want that to be wider than 24". I can turn around easily in 24 inches, but think about it. You're standing back so you can look at a shelf - you don't want your face right up into the shelf. And I hate double racking. John is right that the most efficient will probably be to do the one complete wall with double racking, but then you have double racking.

If you want to play, get yourself some cardboard and set it up with a 24 inch gap for yourself to stand in. If you want to cheat a little bit, go to Lowes and take out two large pieces of styrofoam. Have your wife or friend hold them 24 inches apart and see you comfortable you are moving around and racking bottles. It's not comfortable at all. I would go single deep on each side and leave a nice comfortable aisle. You can put a single or double rack at each of the small ends.

BTW - where is your cooling vent? That will have to factor into your racking design.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#14 Post by lleichtman » November 30th, 2019, 4:31 pm

I use double deep racking because we store a lot of Ayoub bottles which are huge and champagne. I would do that anyway simply because your tastes may change of you might buy something like Ayoub which come in large sized bottles.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#15 Post by lleichtman » November 30th, 2019, 4:36 pm

GregT wrote:
November 30th, 2019, 2:24 pm
JDavisRoby wrote:
November 30th, 2019, 12:22 pm
Greg,

I’m looking for any advice on what type of racking to buy (ie how many diamonds, how many large format, etc) and how to place what where. I edited my OP to hopefully better clarify.
Aha. Diamonds are nice in theory but a pain in reality. They are an efficient way to store bottles if you build them to the right measurements and you fill them. But they're a serious pain if you want a bottom bottle and you have a full bin of different wine. In terms of space utilization, individual racks are the least efficient. They're also the most user-friendly.

One way you can save a bit of space that will allow you the equivalent of a few extra racks is to build shelves that hold several bottles rather than only one at a time. If you look at the pic, the standards (up and down) are 3/4 inch. Eliminating one or more by building a shelf for more than one bottle saves you 3/4 inch per bottle. You lose a little going up because the bottles don't hang through, but for me it was worth it.

Figure at least 13" per bottle on each side. As long as you have about 24 inches to turn around in, you're good. But you're going to be coming in through a door carrying a box, so for convenience, you probably want that to be wider than 24". I can turn around easily in 24 inches, but think about it. You're standing back so you can look at a shelf - you don't want your face right up into the shelf. And I hate double racking. John is right that the most efficient will probably be to do the one complete wall with double racking, but then you have double racking.


If you want to play, get yourself some cardboard and set it up with a 24 inch gap for yourself to stand in. If you want to cheat a little bit, go to Lowes and take out two large pieces of styrofoam. Have your wife or friend hold them 24 inches apart and see you comfortable you are moving around and racking bottles. It's not comfortable at all. I would go single deep on each side and leave a nice comfortable aisle. You can put a single or double rack at each of the small ends.

BTW - where is your cooling vent? That will have to factor into your racking design.
Agreed. We started with diamonds but exactly the problem you described happened as we never had enough of one wine to fill a diamond and always seemed like the wine we wanted was on the bottom of the diamond. It was not cheap to pull all of those out and replace them with seperate racking.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#16 Post by Randy Bowman » November 30th, 2019, 8:50 pm

Most of our commercial racking is from Vigilant. Their options are ideal for home and commercial racking. Not knowing how you buy, store/show and drink your wines I would not be able to give you realistic advice. If you look through their installations and products, you can probably figure out what is most efficient for you and work from there or throw your trust and money into them to both design and build your racking. Most of our racking is now 17 years old and sturdy, even after the earthquake in 2014. You can make your own cubes and shelves but if you want individual racking, you can't can't build it as cheaply as you can buy it. I own a 10 X 12 individual bottle rack I built out of pine, (now in the store room), that cost a little more than the same rack I bought from Vigilant and took me two days to build and install. There are other rack builders to check out online too which may now be cheaper than Vigilant.

Start here:

https://vigilantinc.com/wine-cellars/
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#17 Post by Jeffrey Neal » December 1st, 2019, 10:11 am

I agree that double deep all the way down the long wall is best for max capacity. As far as organization goes, rather than grouping by varietal or region or anything else, I went with putting bottles wherever there is an empty slot and tracking it with CellarTracker. It makes better use of the space and does not require moving things around.

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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#18 Post by Jim McCully » December 2nd, 2019, 12:59 am

I just built a 12’x12’ to replace my 7’x18’. For the earlier I went utilitarian and got chrome racks at Costco. I fixed them to the long walls since we’re in a quake zone but left them on their casters. I trimmed them with clear Doug fir at the front and ends and let the walls seal the back. I double rowed (and double stacked as required). Each 4’ rack with five shelves had a type or region. I had 4 on one side and 3 on the other to allow a work table in the front. The floor absorbed case purchases and the top shelf was large formats, featured cases, and bric brac.
Total cost for the racks to hold over 2500 bottles was about $750. Over 17 years i had to replace the cooling unit once.
I’m using the same approach with a different layout in the new square. I like the clean look of steel and wood and the price per bottle is hard to beat.
The organization is simple to manage since you can visually sweep the width of the shelf and move your attention easily above and below. I keep all the labels pointing up and spoon the bottles front to back, if multiples (as most are) I have one in front to view and usually double stack the back row with the others. As I pull I refill the front slot.

My major fail always was inventory control. I have CT and at times have been pretty good at logging in purchases but am terrible at logging out. I’ve lost control with this forced move and now have my racks in place but almost 2 thousand bottles in stacked boxes to be reorganized.....daunting.

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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#19 Post by JDavisRoby » December 2nd, 2019, 10:03 am

Thank you for the great feedback (and including I stink at math, Chuck, Ha!). I was hesitant on the diamonds for the reasons mentioned, so that is definitely out.

A friend locally suggested I consider an option that would store bottles horizontally along the entry wall and then the double deep on the opposite wall. Any opinions on the various horizontal wall storage options?
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#20 Post by John S » December 2nd, 2019, 11:09 am

FWIW I think any horizontal racking is not going to be very cost effective for the bottles stored. Plus if you do double deep on wall 1, you'll want that 30" open to wall 3 to work in. You won't want to be bumping up against those horizontal bottles all the time. 30" is enough space but really not that much to work in. That is where I put boxes to load in later or when problems arise on capacity. I'm thinking you'll get somewhere between 1,000-1,250 bottles in there with double deep racking on wall 1.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#21 Post by wspohn » December 2nd, 2019, 12:43 pm

I didn't do wire racks or diamond shaped racks, I did rectangular bins made of plywood veneered with hardwood. I had calculated the size I wanted as being 12" wide and 13.5" high, which accommodates a dozen Burgundy or up to 16 Bordeaux bottles. The bins against eah long wall are single depth and there are two double depth bins which fill from either side in the middle of the room.

The racks are 6 1/2 feet high and I had extensions on the ends so that if I wanted to lay bottles along the tops they couldn't roll off. So far I have been using the tops of the racks for trophy bottles, my single malt collection (standing upright) and some magnum storage.

How much you can get in with this design will depend on room size. Mine is just under 14' x 15' and will take in excess of 4500 bottles without having to stack anything on the floor. I took away a bit of space from storage by putting a long library table for sorting and unpacking wine and a bookshelf on top for my wine library.

Mine is a 'working' cellar. While it looks nice and is neat, the purpose is to house bottles so I can find them, not to be an entertainment or gathering area for guests.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#22 Post by John Morris » December 2nd, 2019, 1:33 pm

lleichtman wrote:
November 30th, 2019, 4:31 pm
I use double deep racking because we store a lot of Ayoub bottles which are huge and champagne. I would do that anyway simply because your tastes may change of you might buy something like Ayoub which come in large sized bottles.
The world is so full of wine. I would just rule out oversized bottles at the outset. [snort.gif]
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#23 Post by JulianD » December 2nd, 2019, 3:00 pm

Jeffrey Neal wrote:
December 1st, 2019, 10:11 am
rather than grouping by varietal or region or anything else, I went with putting bottles wherever there is an empty slot and tracking it with CellarTracker.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#24 Post by K John Joseph » December 2nd, 2019, 3:01 pm

John Morris wrote:
December 2nd, 2019, 1:33 pm
lleichtman wrote:
November 30th, 2019, 4:31 pm
I use double deep racking because we store a lot of Ayoub bottles which are huge and champagne. I would do that anyway simply because your tastes may change of you might buy something like Ayoub which come in large sized bottles.
The world is so full of wine. I would just rule out oversized bottles at the outset. [snort.gif]
But then you'd have no Comtes!
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#25 Post by Jeffrey Neal » December 2nd, 2019, 6:23 pm

Jim McCully wrote:
December 2nd, 2019, 12:59 am
.

My major fail always was inventory control. I have CT and at times have been pretty good at logging in purchases but am terrible at logging out. I’ve lost control with this forced move and now have my racks in place but almost 2 thousand bottles in stacked boxes to be reorganized.....daunting.
I found it helps to barcode the bottles when I log them in, then scan with the phone when I remove them

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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#26 Post by wspohn » December 3rd, 2019, 8:15 am

I always log new wine in before it gets put away in a bin.
I always enter and withdrawals on a sheet I keep on the bookshelf in the cellar before the wine leaves the cellar.

It works pretty well. My biggest problem is when I am browsing for a tasting I often pull a bottle or several tentatively and put them on the table. Once I decide what I am serving, it takes me awhile to put them back again as I need to find where they go. Maybe I need to take an ipad into the cellar.....
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#27 Post by Jeff Vaughan » December 3rd, 2019, 9:30 am

Your layout is very similar to mine, except mine may be 6 to 12" wider. I went with single bottles racks down each side, with one three foot area with racks below and a shelf at about 42". The shelf is now filled with boxes. If I had it to do over again, I would install two deep individual bottle racks one one side, and one side with individual racks above 3 or 4 feet and basic shelving/cubes that could hold boxes, magnums, etc. on the bottom.

Your tastes and buying preferences could shift so I would build in flexibility.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#28 Post by wspohn » December 3rd, 2019, 10:35 am

I have never seen the use for single bottle racks. It must be aesthetic considerations as it reduces the number of bottles you can accommodate significantly. In fact I've had a couple of friends set up what they perceived to be 'show' cellars that later had to be overhauled and the single bottle sections deleted for bins to take the extra cases of wine stacked on the floor that they had sworn they would never, never accumulate.

The 'show' cellars I have seen that never needed revision included one Asian client who had the cellar built, placed one order with a local store for a huge amount of wine (based on Parker scores being at least X) and then almost never drank a bottle out of it - he really wasn't a wine fan, he just thought he needed to have a wine cellar because all his buddies had one. IIRC, he also kept the temperature neat house ambient as he didn't like his friends getting chilled when they went in to ooh and aah over the cellar.

That guy would never need to change his layout, but real wine aficionados will do themselves a favour and be realistic about future chances for expansion and plan from the beginning.

Maybe it is because I had a cellar with inadequate space for many years (Bordeaux boxes stacked six high in multiple rows because there was no more bin space and finding a specific bottle was an enormous effort accompanied by a significant uncertainty that I would be able to locate a given bottle.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#29 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » December 3rd, 2019, 10:54 am

How would you all set up a cellar if space wasn’t really a consideration? I have two rooms that are 12 x 8 x 8 and 25 x 25 x 8 so I can probably put bottles in whatever configuration without hitting any sort of space limitation.

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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#30 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 3rd, 2019, 11:10 am

wspohn wrote:
December 3rd, 2019, 10:35 am
I have never seen the use for single bottle racks. It must be aesthetic considerations as it reduces the number of bottles you can accommodate significantly. In fact I've had a couple of friends set up what they perceived to be 'show' cellars that later had to be overhauled and the single bottle sections deleted for bins to take the extra cases of wine stacked on the floor that they had sworn they would never, never accumulate.
It doesn't have much to do with aesthetics for us - our cellar is quite utilitarian - it has to do with ease of access more than anything. And a little about the fun of browsing. It is much, much easier to nip downstairs and quickly pull a particular bottle I want out of the racks, or browse the white burgundy racked section (pulling out several bottles to consider which to drink, maybe check how colors are looking) than it is to go after bottles that are in stacked cases, or even in boxes/cases on shelves. When I want to retrieve wine from bulk storage, unless it's a daily drinker which is loose in bins, I might have to move a lot of boxes to get at what I want, or reach up to a high shelf for something pretty heavy. Even with the loose bins, I have to be careful that anything I remove doesn't cause a cascade. So we use the rectangular bins and the open stack-it-on-the-floor space for wine in need of significant time, or wine that we have a lot of and keep the "extra" (more than 12) in boxes, and put the more ready to drink wines and wines that we have 12 of or less in the racks. Of course, we are lucky to have a good sized space, so we can have plenty of both kinds of storage. Both very useful.

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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#31 Post by wspohn » December 3rd, 2019, 11:16 am

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
December 3rd, 2019, 10:54 am
How would you all set up a cellar if space wasn’t really a consideration? I have two rooms that are 12 x 8 x 8 and 25 x 25 x 8 so I can probably put bottles in whatever configuration without hitting any sort of space limitation.
Wow! Lucky guy. You could put whites, bubblies and your wine library in the small room and reds in the larger one (or vice versa if you are a white keener).

Depending on how much wien you anticipate having you could do what a friend did - have racks against the walls with bays and racks that came out from a wall maybe 5-6 feet, setting aside sections.Very open, the shelving all furniture grade and the cost of the racking probably exceeded what many have in wine. Very open and with a large table with seats in the centre. Would need a suitably large sized cooler (or two smaller ones) to keep at temp. Some nice brickwork arches and stuff as well, and a dedicated computer just for keeping the cellar program (or accessing CT, I forget what he used).
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#32 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » December 3rd, 2019, 11:19 am

I have a separate bar so the cellar won’t be an area for entertaining; I just want it relatively easy to find bottles and a practical setup for storage. I think the small room could be good for cases and owc, more long term storage.

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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#33 Post by Bryan Carr » December 3rd, 2019, 12:01 pm

We've finally got a room in our new place we've dedicated to a cellar and are finalizing our buildout as well. Ours isn't for entertaining (it's 55 degrees, who wants to hang out down there?!?) but we've built in a little elbow room as well and while it feels nice when you're in there picking something out to have with dinner, I think the real utility of a little extra room is when we're in there racking larger quantities of new wine. We try and organize by region/type and not having to constantly move and reconfigure the boxes we're unloading just to get stuff into the racks is really nice. It's definitely limiting our maximum capacity, but loading the cellar back up after adding some new racking was a breeze, and we both like tooling around in there so it allows for one of us to pick or rack while the other sips on something and "supervises" ;) If you're mostly going to be in there solo and/or aren't reconfiguring or trying to rack a bunch of stuff at once though, by all means pack it in!
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#34 Post by wspohn » December 3rd, 2019, 12:06 pm

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
December 3rd, 2019, 11:19 am
I have a separate bar so the cellar won’t be an area for entertaining; I just want it relatively easy to find bottles and a practical setup for storage. I think the small room could be good for cases and owc, more long term storage.
I'd agree. All you need is rack labelling to be able to find anything quickly, and the use of a program like CT to keep track of the locations. I use a three symbol location system. The first numeral is the rack number (I have six racks (to are double deep so get different numbers depending on which side we are talking about) the second is a letter for the row, with A being the top row and F being bottom, and the final locator is another number indicating which cube the wine is in. Thus a wine in 2f6 is in the sixth cube along from the door in the second rack and the bottom row (stick on labels at the end of the racks helps)

Maximum storage density requires long rows and the spacing in my cellar is 31" between racks, though you can vary that to suit - I just decided that I needed bins deep enough to have the whole bottle inside and then divided up my available space evenly to suit. An inch or two either way should still give enough room to move around, bend over to search and fill bins and find stuff easily.

Don't forget to install adequate lighting and use cool LEDs instead of incandescents to avoid adding heat, and insulate the heck out of the ceiling, which many people seem to neglect - the heat transfer there is large (I had the whole interior of the cellar spray foam insulated before the drywall went in).

And if you are using wooden racking, be sure to screw them to the floor through the bottom before you fill them to prevent accidents from large clumsy people or earthquakes.

I also suggest that you have square strips of closed cell foam insulation cut to position under those long thin necked bottles like Alsatian/German, as the will want to tip and deposit themselves on your floor, otherwise. I had a large sack of those cut and haven't yet used all of them (some Burgundy bottles, or those stupidly - sorry, 'stylishly' tapered California Cab bottles also stack so they can teeter if you don't use the insulation blocks to stack them one in, one out, alternating.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#35 Post by Kirk.Grant » December 3rd, 2019, 1:53 pm

JDavisRoby wrote:
November 30th, 2019, 11:37 am
Hope to order racks for my cellar under construction in the next week. Getting quotes from Wine Racks of America and Vigilant. I am struggling a bit with what type of racks (diamonds, shelves, large format, etc) to buy and how to lay them out. For those that have a walk-in I’d like some advice on how to lay things out. Couple of useful notes:

- Collect some bottles with larger diameters aka Syrah, Pinot Noir and Turley.
- Don’t collect a significant amount of champagne (have less than a case) currently and not sure I ever will
- Don’t buy many collectibles by the case - most large quantity is daily drinkers
- I’m thinking magnum storage in the 20ish range is sufficient
- Would like one set of shelves for case, decanter, etc storage
- My thought is having one set of diamond bins for daily drinkers would be good

Here is shape and dimensions after walls are insulated (closed cell foam) and covered:

CD53E3A3-753F-4E7D-AC9E-04F5B39D43C1.jpeg
05C0E1A0-0E2B-45A2-B102-C58DFAAFF338.png
Any suggestions welcome.
There are so many questions I have and most of them revolve around what your goals are with storing wine. Do you want to buy & age Barolo, Bordeaux, and Burgundy for 20+ years or is this mostly storage for your daily drinkers? You mention you don't have a significant amount of Champagne...but what is your exposure to Champagne? In my experience it's more likely that you'll shift and realize that you like Champagne the more different & new wines that you try. Not a matter of if, but when. I didn't really care about Champagne for the first 15-16 years. Today it's in my top 5 regions in my cellar. How many bottles are you hoping to have for storage? If you're drinking mostly "daily drinkers" then it would seem that there is no need to store more than 2-4 cases of daily drinkers in the cellar at a time if you're planning to open them within the first year of drinking.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#36 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » December 3rd, 2019, 3:03 pm

Champagne is frustrating in a lot of ways for storage. Right now mine is mostly sitting in the Le cache or in the cellar in domaine cases stacked to the ceiling. Finding racking to fit the different bottles isn’t easy.

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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#37 Post by JDavisRoby » December 6th, 2019, 6:31 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
December 3rd, 2019, 11:10 am
wspohn wrote:
December 3rd, 2019, 10:35 am
I have never seen the use for single bottle racks. It must be aesthetic considerations as it reduces the number of bottles you can accommodate significantly. In fact I've had a couple of friends set up what they perceived to be 'show' cellars that later had to be overhauled and the single bottle sections deleted for bins to take the extra cases of wine stacked on the floor that they had sworn they would never, never accumulate.
It doesn't have much to do with aesthetics for us - our cellar is quite utilitarian - it has to do with ease of access more than anything. And a little about the fun of browsing. It is much, much easier to nip downstairs and quickly pull a particular bottle I want out of the racks, or browse the white burgundy racked section (pulling out several bottles to consider which to drink, maybe check how colors are looking) than it is to go after bottles that are in stacked cases, or even in boxes/cases on shelves. When I want to retrieve wine from bulk storage, unless it's a daily drinker which is loose in bins, I might have to move a lot of boxes to get at what I want, or reach up to a high shelf for something pretty heavy. Even with the loose bins, I have to be careful that anything I remove doesn't cause a cascade. So we use the rectangular bins and the open stack-it-on-the-floor space for wine in need of significant time, or wine that we have a lot of and keep the "extra" (more than 12) in boxes, and put the more ready to drink wines and wines that we have 12 of or less in the racks. Of course, we are lucky to have a good sized space, so we can have plenty of both kinds of storage. Both very useful.
Your comments about being able to pull bottles to help decide what to drink and check color is the main reason I’m struggling with idea of doing double deep. I buy most wines in 3’s and 6’s so the double deep racking won’t be primarily the same wine in the same bin.

I’ve asked for Wine Racks Of America’s opinion on the most capacity with no diamonds and one shelf for case storage.

One question for those that have racks that meet in a corner. Doing the curved corner racks is a big space waster in a space like mine. How did you deal with the gap created by the two racks coming together on an inside corner without using a curved corner? It seems like an empty spot that items could fall in and be tough to retrieve.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#38 Post by Nathan V. » December 6th, 2019, 7:24 am

John S wrote:
November 30th, 2019, 12:21 pm
If it were me I'd just do the entire wall across from the door in single bottle (champagne sized) double deep racking. That way you get lots of storage (i.e. the double deep part) and with it all champagne sized you don't have to worry about will this 750ml bottle fit here. I also organize by region but that is always changing. I am not generally a fan of bins. Maybe one vertical row of double deep mags racking, or two, if you need xtra. I like to keep my cellar simple, functional, and more focused on storage than looks. YMMV.

Oh, one great tip is to leave the racking height about 10-12" under the ceiling if you have enough height. That then have wood put across the top and you can stash all kinds of wood boxes and/or large format bottles up there. Comes in super handy and with a 8' ceiling the top is pretty hard to get to for single bottles anyhow.
I followed a lot of John's advice in building my own cellar so I agree with a lot of it. Leaving space on top of the racks for whole case storage has been especially (and surprisingly) useful.

In your space, I would do the large wall across from the door in double deep standard racks. The standard racks I have hold almost everything I buy, even most grower Champagne.

Then I would put single deep magnums on the left and single deep champagne on the right.

If you like big house grand marques Champagne (except Cristal), they won't fit in anything except magnums.

I think diamond and bin racks are useless unless you have a lot of old school Bordeaux bottles.

I put my cooling unit over the door.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#39 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 6th, 2019, 7:56 am

JDavisRoby wrote:
December 6th, 2019, 6:31 am

Your comments about being able to pull bottles to help decide what to drink and check color is the main reason I’m struggling with idea of doing double deep. I buy most wines in 3’s and 6’s so the double deep racking won’t be primarily the same wine in the same bin.

I’ve asked for Wine Racks Of America’s opinion on the most capacity with no diamonds and one shelf for case storage.

One question for those that have racks that meet in a corner. Doing the curved corner racks is a big space waster in a space like mine. How did you deal with the gap created by the two racks coming together on an inside corner without using a curved corner? It seems like an empty spot that items could fall in and be tough to retrieve.
I can see how that might make things different. We don't have any racks where two different wines are in the same slot, one behind the other, but we have enough space that we can afford the luxury of making double-deep into single-deep where we only have one of a wine. One added amusement of the double/single thing is that we're always very excited when we "get a free slot" - that is, when we decide to drink a single wine taking up a double slot, and so now have 2 free spaces. We sometimes even use "getting a slot" as the reason to drink one wine over another when we're on the fence.

Of course, it's not really all that difficult to pull out the front bottle and reach the back one. I think if you are buying 3's and 6's, it would still make sense, less so if you buy singles a lot. Maybe buy 4's and 6's. :)

As far as organization goes, I'd give a lot of consideration to what kind of mapping will make you happy, because changing it after the fact is a bit-h. I know plenty of people are just fine with bottles in any old place, with a code (row/column) in CT to allow them to find everything. That would drive me insane. I LOVE being able to stand in front of the champagne section, for instance, and browse. Plus, it would make me nutty, if I have 6 bottles of something, to have them spread out all over the cellar. On the other hand, my way take more maintenance, which I'm sure would bother a lot of folks. Again, there's nothing wrong with the other way, but for me it would be a nightmare. I'd figure out which you are beforehand.

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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#40 Post by wspohn » December 6th, 2019, 8:58 am

Double deep doesn't mean like a wine cooler where you have to pull out bottles to reveal the back rows. It means that you have a double thick rack accessible from both sides (the racks on the walls are single depth only). No idea why it insists on putting the image on its side.... That's a wall of Rhones on the left and a wall of Bordeaux on the right (or it would be if the picture posted properly)
IMG_0256.JPG

The only decoration is this stained glass light I couldn't pass up.
IMG_0257.JPG
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#41 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 6th, 2019, 9:08 am

wspohn wrote:
December 6th, 2019, 8:58 am
Double deep doesn't mean like a wine cooler where you have to pull out bottles to reveal the back rows. It means that you have a double thick rack accessible from both sides (the racks on the walls are single depth only). No idea why it insists on putting the image on its side.... That's a wall of Rhones on the left and a wall of Bordeaux on the right (or it would be if the picture posted properly)


The only decoration is this stained glass light I couldn't pass up.
I guess there are different uses of the term "double deep," and I can see both making sense. In building ours and speaking with several cellar designers, we were on the same page with the way I used it - the front bottle in each individual slot needs to be pulled out to access the one in the back. The ones in your picture look like what I would call open rectangular bins.

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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#42 Post by wspohn » December 6th, 2019, 9:27 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
December 6th, 2019, 9:08 am
I guess there are different uses of the term "double deep," and I can see both making sense. In building ours and speaking with several cellar designers, we were on the same page with the way I used it - the front bottle in each individual slot needs to be pulled out to access the one in the back. The ones in your picture look like what I would call open rectangular bins.
Yup - just as if they were two single deep attached to each other. The double deep in the sense you were using it only comes into play if you have a shortage of space to put in my sort. Having to pull the front wines to check the rear ones would drive me crazy!
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#43 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 6th, 2019, 10:16 am

wspohn wrote:
December 6th, 2019, 9:27 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
December 6th, 2019, 9:08 am
I guess there are different uses of the term "double deep," and I can see both making sense. In building ours and speaking with several cellar designers, we were on the same page with the way I used it - the front bottle in each individual slot needs to be pulled out to access the one in the back. The ones in your picture look like what I would call open rectangular bins.
Yup - just as if they were two single deep attached to each other. The double deep in the sense you were using it only comes into play if you have a shortage of space to put in my sort. Having to pull the front wines to check the rear ones would drive me crazy!
Not sure I agree that space constraints are the driving force. I know a ton of people with huge cellars and double deep (in my terms) racking. Our space is quite large, and we have double deep everywhere that isn't open bin, including back to back double-deep (like yours, but double on either side) for the center aisles. With our cellar volume, to do back to back single deep would have necessitated a large number of walking aisles, which would have been a waste of space for us. With ours, we fit 4 columns of bottles with only two aisles, one on either side. To do your arrangement, the same 4 columns would take an extra walking aisle down the center to give full access. Okay sure - you're totally right that if you have truly endless space, seeing each capsule would be great. But even in a large space like ours, you'd need to dedicate more space to walking, which to me is less efficient.

To my mind, what makes sense in each case probably has to do both with best use of space and a lot to do with the kind of cellar you have. If you have a lot of single bottles, I can see wanting to do single deep, back to back, like you describe.

Cellar composition also speaks to the driving one crazy issue. Like I said above, we never have two different wines in the same slot, so it just doesn't come up. The back bottles are always the same as the front. We never need to touch the back bottles except after removing a front one for consumption. Then we just shift the back up a foot to take its place.

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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#44 Post by Jason T » December 7th, 2019, 9:02 am

The way Sarah describes double deep is the same way I’ve always thought about it. The other version - that’s the first time I’ve heard it described that way.
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#45 Post by wspohn » December 7th, 2019, 9:07 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
December 6th, 2019, 10:16 am
I know a ton of people with huge cellars and double deep (in my terms) racking. Our space is quite large, and we have double deep everywhere that isn't open bin, including back to back double-deep (like yours, but double on either side) for the center aisles. With our cellar volume, to do back to back single deep would have necessitated a large number of walking aisles, which would have been a waste of space for us. With ours, we fit 4 columns of bottles with only two aisles, one on either side. To do your arrangement, the same 4 columns would take an extra walking aisle down the center to give full access. Okay sure - you're totally right that if you have truly endless space, seeing each capsule would be great. But even in a large space like ours, you'd need to dedicate more space to walking, which to me is less efficient.
I guess it is both a space and a comfort consideration with navigating a cellar. Mine isn't a huge cellar (as yours sounds like it is) - I only have room for about 5,000 bottles before I'd have to start stacking cases (which I don't intend to do!).
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#46 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 7th, 2019, 9:51 am

Jason T wrote:
December 7th, 2019, 9:02 am
The way Sarah describes double deep is the same way I’ve always thought about it. The other version - that’s the first time I’ve heard it described that way.
I hadn't heard the other way either, to be honest. The only time I've seen it done has been in wine shops. To me, it seems like way too much space given over to aisles to make sense for a home cellar. If 3 feet is the minimum space you need between racks, that's a lot of potential storage feet you lose every time you add another walkway. But again, the composition of my cellar (which, btw, isn't huge) makes double deep very easy to use. With a lot of singles, it could be a very different story.

There's certainly nothing wrong with the other way - everyone's needs and space are different, there's no wrong way - but I think discussing the distinctions and considerations here might be useful as the OP ponders his design.

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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#47 Post by wspohn » December 7th, 2019, 12:14 pm

Bear in mind that given a necessary spacing between a bin and the next bin - I figure about 30" so you can bend down and find bottles - (assuming several parallel rows of bins) it makes no difference at all whether the bins are double deep with one side blank, or double deep with both sides open. Same amount of wines in the same territory - my way just makes it easier to get at it. If you decide that the first row against the wall should be the other style of double deep, accessible from one side only, that just moves your next row the amount of one single (1/2 double) bin over - usually 12" as in my bins. That would mean in my case that I'd only be able to have a bin (double) against each wall and plus a double down the centre - there wouldn't be room for two doubles as I have because the added width of he doubles on the walls would account for that distance. (We are talking about 14' wide room).

I have a collective 72" of width of bins my way and access to every bottle without pulling any out. If I did double deep (your style) in the same space, I'd have exactly the same total width of bin space, I would just have converted them to bins that I would have to pull the bottles out of to see what was behind. I think I prefer my way......
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Re: Layout my wine cellar

#48 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 7th, 2019, 1:33 pm

wspohn wrote:
December 7th, 2019, 12:14 pm
Bear in mind that given a necessary spacing between a bin and the next bin - I figure about 30" so you can bend down and find bottles - (assuming several parallel rows of bins) it makes no difference at all whether the bins are double deep with one side blank, or double deep with both sides open. Same amount of wines in the same territory - my way just makes it easier to get at it. If you decide that the first row against the wall should be the other style of double deep, accessible from one side only, that just moves your next row the amount of one single (1/2 double) bin over - usually 12" as in my bins. That would mean in my case that I'd only be able to have a bin (double) against each wall and plus a double down the centre - there wouldn't be room for two doubles as I have because the added width of he doubles on the walls would account for that distance. (We are talking about 14' wide room).

I have a collective 72" of width of bins my way and access to every bottle without pulling any out. If I did double deep (your style) in the same space, I'd have exactly the same total width of bin space, I would just have converted them to bins that I would have to pull the bottles out of to see what was behind. I think I prefer my way......
As I said, every space is different, and what works best will vary. I am sure your layout makes the most sense for your space, needs and priorities.

Different example - we have a number of library style racks running in parallel rows. With back-to-back double deep, in a given floor space, we can get 4 columns without the need for an aisle down the center. Converting to single deep back-to-back (what I believe you are describing) and putting in that aisle in our layout would necessitate extra space for the same number of bottles.

I put together this little graphic to help me think about it. The grey area is the same in both examples - 6 Excel columns wide.
This 4 column row is repeated several times, so the edges of this picture aren't open walls, but more racks or shelves with bins. In other words, you can't convert the far left and right columns of racks to singles and move them over further left and right. The arrows show which direction the bottles face. Picture is not to scale, obviously.

A different space with different needs, so different best solution. And, again, we almost never need to remove a front bottle to get at the one behind it, so having access to every bottle isn't necessary.
layout.JPG

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