Replacement racking in a Vintage Keeper?

Bottle obesity has reached a critical mass in my Vintage Keeper. There used to be enough room up top to fit sparkling wines and the odd overcompensating burgundy-shaped bottle. Now I’ve got a couple cases of wine sitting outside the cellar (Patricia Green, Art+Wine, Beaucastel, La Chablisienne, Mount Eden, M. & S. Ogier, to name a few) because they don’t fit in the racks!

I’d like to replace the racking with something that can fit all my bottles (no magnums). Aesthetics are not a consideration, the existing racks are powder-coated black wire and that’s fine by me. Since the existing six-bottle rack is basically flushagainst the cellar walls, I guess I’ll have to go to a five-bottle row? That’s going to hurt in terms of capacity, but the current situation is untenable. Does anyone have a suggestion for how to replace the racks? I don’t think I’m interested in a fancy custom solution, since all I need is a grid of wires, really, but I don’t know where to look. Did some Googling but mainly found racking intended for walk-in cellars. Maybe I could just make it myself, cut a grid of redwood or something.

Incidentally, I’ve been very happy with the Vintage Keeper. I replaced two cooling units in the first five years, but the ten years (knock on wood) after that it’s chugged along in my warm garage without complaint. I think I paid $1500 back in 2001 for a 220 bottle capacity, so it goes to show you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a decent cellar.

Buy a new VK? The company is now called Koolr. The new VKs have plastic racks and don’t warp like the metal racking, and is nicer on the labels (not nicking them). You can also fit Burgundy bottles seven across in their 240 model (replacement for the 220 model).

For your existing VK220, you have a couple options, both of which I leverage:

  1. Interlace the Burgundy bottles neck to neck. Six in the back, five or six in the front.
  2. Three Burgundy and Four Bordeaux across each of the front and back rows.

You need to play a little more with the second option, but you can make it fit with the right size bottles. I don’t concern myself too much with co-locating bottles of the same wine (even though I try), as I use CT to track locations.

Hope this helps.

Walter, I’m guessing you’ve got the really old “pigeon hole” wirecracking?
I have the same issue.
I do have the new Koolr units too, and they are indeed a lot better, but do have issues with some bottles.

Hadn’t thought about replacement racking in the old unit but that could be an excellent solution, it would take all the oversized bottles. So will be very interested in what people suggest. Haven’t started and research yet.

I was probably lucky - the cooling unit in that cooler lasted about 16 years and was replaced a couple of years ago at very reasonable cost.

“Pigeonhole”, that’s exactly the term for it! Yes, there literally is no way to fit a bigger bottle without bending the racks. I hadn’t considered going to shelves, but that might be the best. I don’t keep specific spots for each bottle, so a shelf would still be able to hold 6 Bordeaux across, rather than going to larger pigeonholes that would cut my capacity by about 25%. I could even, if I built it myself, make only the shelves that hold sparkling and burgundy-style bottles higher. That would only be about half the shelves, so I think I’d only lose 10% of the capacity. I could even add a shelf for magnums.

The advantage of the pigeonholes is that since the bottle can’t rotate, you don’t need any material except at the front and back of the bottle. If I went to shelves I’d have to put them all the way across. I don’t care about labels, everything I have is for drinking and I doubt anyone I serve the wine to is going to care about a nick or two.

Replacing the whole cellar is really a last resort; I’m not going to throw out a perfectly good cabinet and cooling unit just because the racks aren’t quite right.