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Questions to Ask When Purchasing Wine Cellar Racks

Local carpenters and/or contractors can design, build and install your wine racks. The advantage of using a local vendor is that one party will be responsible from "soup to nuts", and there may be a prior working relationship which increases the comfort level and odds for success. The disadvantage can be that the local vendor does not have as much experience knowledge about building wine cellars or wine racks, and cannot provide a cost-effective price.

Wine cellar specialty stores that specialize in wine racks—like IWA Wine Accessories— can design and manufacture your wine racks. The advantage of using a specialist is that you'll receive a design for wine cellar wine racks, as well as matching components like tabletops, doors, floors, artwork, lighting etc. per your requirements, at the most cost-effective price. The disadvantage of using a specialist is that you'll need to assemble and install the wine rack components yourself, or hire a carpenter to do the job for you.

General merchandise stores sometimes sell limited selections of wine rack components and kits. The advantage of purchasing through a general store may be the price—especially if the store has inventory of certain kits that they are trying to blow out. The disadvantage of purchasing through a general store is lack of expertise, limited selection, and potentially low quality of mass-produced items and/or poor-quality woods.

IWA: Wine Cellar Specialists
We specialize in wine racks, wine cooling units, and wine accessories. Beginning with Le Cache Wine Cabinets, then CellarPro Cooling Systems and Sonoma Wine Accessories, we've been in business since 1991.

IWA Wine Accessories is best-equipped to design and manufacture your wine cellar wine racks at a cost-effective price. We'll be happy to design your wine cellar wine racks at no charge and with no strings attached. If you want us to include matching components like refrigeration, tabletops, doors, floors, artwork, and lighting, just let us know. In some cases, we even can offer installation services. Our wine racks kits and custom wine racks suit every budget.

Our goal is your complete satisfaction!

Know your goals
In creating the ideal environment for storing and aging wine, there can be different objectives when it comes to designing and building a wine cellar:

  • Is the wine cellar purely for storing wine, or will it be used for entertaining and / or displaying your wine collection?
  • How many bottles do you want to store?
  • What kind of wine do you collect?
  • Where is the wine cellar located?
  • How critical is the amount of noise generated from the wine refrigeration system?
  • Do you want to be able to view the wine cellar from outside?
  • What is your budget?

If you know your objectives, it's easier to evaluate different types of wine racks.

IWA: Products that meet your goals
Every type, style, option, and variation of wine rack can be designed and produced by our wine racks manufacturer. If it's not displayed on our site, we can build it custom to meet your specifications.

We will be glad to design for you a wine rack system based on your preferences and objectives. We do not charge an upfront fee for this service.

The best place to start is our wine racks design form. Based on the information that you provide, we'll create a set of CAD drawings, along with a quote! The drawings and quote are yours to keep and use as you wish—there are no strings attached.

Our design service is an iterative process—we expect that you'll want to make changes until the drawings reflect the wine cellar that you desire.

Cost will include the following components:

Construction—wine cellars need proper insulation and moisture barriers to create an airtight environment inside the cellar. Framing for the cooling unit and structural support in the floor must be included in the construction of the wine cellar. Cost: Variable depending on the size of the wine cellar

Wine Cooling Unit—constant temperatures ranging from 55-60 degrees and humidity ranging from 50-70% are ideal conditions for wine storage and aging. Wine cooling units are designed to maintain ideal conditions, and are offered primarily in through-the-wall, split, or ducted systems. Cost (including installation): $1,000 - $10,000

Wine Racks—choices range from kits to complete custom solutions, and vary in cost based on the number of bottles, amount of customization, type of wine racks, type of wood and choice of upgrades and options. Metal racks also are a low-cost option, especially for bulk racking. For individual bottle storage, metal wine racks are sub-optimal because they can tear bottle labels and, over time, may lose their form and crumple under the weight of the wine bottles. Cost: $3.00 - $20 per bottle

Wine Cellar Door—Exterior-grade insulated door must provide an airtight seal and high thermal insulation. Cost: $600 - $3000

Wine Cellar Floor—From tile to concrete to cork wood, just about any floor surface will work as long as it matches your décor and aesthetic design. Softer surfaces (like cork wood) will be more forgiving if/when you drop a bottle, and sealed surfaces (like tile) are easiest to clean and repel stains. Cost: $3 - $15 psf

Accessories—Lighting, wood panelling and artwork are examples of accessories that add finishing touches and create unique wine cellars, but add cost to the project. Cost: Variable

IWA: Wide variety of prices and options
We offer the widest selection of premium wine rack kits and custom wine racking. We specialize in redwood and mahogany wine racks across the following four categories:

  • Adjustable height wine rack kits can be designed to fit almost any height, for a custom look at mass produced prices. Cost: $4.00 - $6.00 per bottle
  • Standard height wine rack kits are designed to be 6 feet tall, with bulk storage space at the top. Cost: $3.50 - $5.00 per bottle
  • Full depth custom wine racks can be built to fit the unique size, configuration and aesthetic in your wine cellar . Cost: $3.50 - $5.00 per bottle
  • Standard depth custom wine racks offer the same customization and quality with lower prices than full depth custom wine racks. Cost: $6.00 - $20.00 per bottle

If you don't understand the differences between these categories, don't worry—it can be confusing! Call (800) 527-4072 or contact us online and our wine rack specialists will be glad to assist you.

Quality of offerings varies
There are several big manufacturers of wine racks in the U.S., and many resellers of their products. Most manufacturers offer redwood wine racks as their primary choice, but some manufacturers offer other woods, like mahogany, because the sources for redwood are scarce. Different manufacturers offer differences in style and features. Bevelled ends and eased edges, for example, are not standard features among all manufacturers.

Designs also differ among manufacturers. Everyone offers standard height (72") wine rack kits, but not everyone offers adjustable height wine rack kits to fit any ceiling height. Listen closely to your dealer's recommendations and ask lots of questions to make sure that you're getting advice that is honest and objective.

IWA: Honest, objective advice
Our wine racks are produced by the largest manufacturer of redwood wine racks in the U.S., and their volume translates to cost savings that we pass along to our customers.

We'll help you not only with your wine racks, but also in determining your wine cellar's thermal load, the required refrigeration system, and any additional components like the door, floor, artwork and lighting if you wish.

If we don't believe in the product, we won't sell it. For example, we shy away from metal wine racks because they frequently damage bottles and labels and can buckle under the weight of a full rack of bottles. Whether we sell a product or not, you can always trust us to provide honest feedback or, in some cases, if we don't know the answer to your question, we'll do our best to find the answer and respond to you.

Wine rack kits are affordable, but not as variable
Wine rack kits are offered with a variety of configurations and options, so in many cases, it's possible to attain a custom look while paying a mass-produced price. Decide if you want your wine racks to go all the way to the ceiling, or is it Ok if they stop at six feet. Then, think about which configurations, options, and wood species you want in your wine cellar. Wine rack kits offer many, but not all, of the configurations, options, stains and wood species offered by custom wine racks. If you have flexibility, you'll probably save money.

IWA: Complete selection of custom and kit wine racks
Once you've narrowed down your preferences, send this information and the wine cellar dimensions to us by submitting our wine rack design form, and we'll create a cost efficient quote based on your preferences, together with CAD top-level drawings and elevations that you can use to "see" your cellar come to life!

The most popular types of wine racks:

Individual bottle storage: each bottle is cradled in its own cell, either single or double deep. Difference size cells are designed to accommodate various types of bottles, such as Bordeaux, Burgundy/Champagne, Magnums and splits.

Diamond Bin Storage: Bulk storage with flair and maximum flexibility, diamond bins accommodate any size bottle. Since bottom bottles are difficult to access, it is best suited for long-term storage. Bottles must be handled with care because they are resting on each other.

Case Storage: Wood and cardboard case wine racks are hold wine bottles in their original cases. Some case storage comes with sliding shelves for easy access. Always specify wood vs. cardboard cases, because wood cases are wider/shorter and cardboard cases are narrower/taller.

Tabletops: With individual bottle or bin storage below, tabletops provide excellent spaces for opening bottles and pouring wine. They can be made from woods and/or stone surfaces to match your cellar design. Tabletops also provide space to store and display accessories like stemware, decanters and bottle openers.

IWA: Wine rack design service
We describe, and include pictures, of the most popular wine rack options and configurations on our website, so that you can become familiar with the different choices and options. When you're ready, submit our wine rack design form and we'll create CAD drawings for you, along with a quote for the parts to build the wine racks featured in the drawings.

Wood choice is based on humidity
Wine cellars are designed to maintain humidity in the range of 50-70%, so it is important to select a wood species for the wine cellar that is resistant to mold. Redwood is the ideal choice for most wine racks and wine cellars. In addition, mahogany and black walnut are wood species that are resistant to mold. Pine is a cheaper wood, but its strength and resistance to mold is not as good hardwoods.

IWA: Broad selection of wood species
Because our manufacturer is the largest producer of redwood wine racks, we receive the best volume pricing for redwood and we pass along these savings to you. We have a major presence in mahogany, oak and pine woods, and offer a complete choice of woods species from ebony to cocobolo.

If stain is used, opt for water-based
Stains can enhance the visual impact of the wine racks, and make sense depending on the wood species. Some woods have a lot of color variation, so stains will even out the variations. Wood with heavy grains may look nicer with stain to "hide" the grain. On the other hand, stains can obscure the natural beauty of wood grains. If stains are used, opt for water-based stains for the long-term safety of your wines. Clear lacquers also can be applied to wine racks, which will protect the wood and add a slight "gloss" to enhance the color of the wood. Staining can add 15-30% in cost vs. unstained wood.

IWA: Always water-based stains
For the safety of your wine, your health and the environment, we use water-based stains exclusively to finish our wine racks.
Download our Stain and Wood Sample Guide for more information.

There is a direct correlation between price and performance

Through-the-wall cooling systems are the most cost-effective and easiest to install. They are shipped fully-charged and ready-to-use in a self-enclosed case. The downside of through-the-wall cooling units is that they take up space inside the cellar, and noise from the cooling unit can be heard inside (and outside) the wine cellar. Many cooling unit manufacturers design their systems so that they can't be serviced in the field, and instead must be shipped back to the manufacturer for repair or replacement. Cost: $1,000 - $3,500

Split cooling systems have the compressor, condenser coils and condenser fan (together, the condensing unit) in a remote location, and the evaporator coils and evaporator fan inside the cellar. The advantage of split systems is that the noise from the condensing unit can be separated from the wine cellar, but the disadvantage is that split cooling systems require professional installation. Cost: $5,000 and up

Ducted cooling systems, where the entire cooling unit is located remotely and cold air is ducted into the wine cellar, are the most expensive options. The main advantages of these units are that the wine cellars won't be subject to noise from the cooling unit, and commercial systems can be serviced by most HVAC professionals. Space in the wine cellar can be maximized for wine storage, because the cooling unit doesn't take any space inside the cellar. On the other hand, these units require professional installation, which is expensive, and vents must be designed and constructed into the building structure, so that retrofits may be prohibitively expensive. Cost: $3,000 - $6,000 plus installation.

IWA: We use CellarPro, the market leader in cooling systems
We specialize in cooling units from CellarPro, the market leader in wine cooling systems. CellarPro offers outstanding performance, adjustable humidity and digital temperature control, and the best warranty in the industry. CellarPro through-the-wall cooling units are ready for immediate installation and use.

For more information, visit CellarPro.com

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