To create a custom wine rack, we always start with the intended space. As with any custom item, part of the elegance lies in the clean, crisp harmony of a piece that perfectly fits and complements a room. For wine storage, in particular, it’s important to us that it looks just as bewitching with two bottles as with two hundred. Our latest custom designed piece, The Finer Things Club Wine + Mixology Center includes cabinet storage for the fixings to make a killer cocktail.
We have designed custom wine racks for restaurants, bars, and residences. These three client types have one thing in common: the desire to keep things neat, displayed—and off the floor. A beautiful custom wine rack does just this! A peek into our process below.
We like working with wood and other natural materials because it never looks dated or out of place with the passing of time. And we especially favor working with ethically sourced wood, particularly when it is reclaimed. This helps save our forests from depletion, which not only harms local habitats but also decreases the carbon sink effect of trees, releasing it into the atmosphere.
When sourced ethically, wood is a natural, renewable and biodegradable resource. The same cannot be said for any plastic or laminate products, which are harmful to extract and create, and take hundreds of years to biodegrade (often harming ocean life on their journey). Ethically sourced lumber means that supplies are being monitored, e.g. certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Walnut is a favorite of ours because of its durability and darker patina that shows minimal wear and tear (although we think this builds character). A wine rack constructed of walnut is a wine rack that can be passed down for generations.
TWO SIGNATURE STORAGE TYPES
Our custom wine racks have found two flexible typologies, both of which emphasize proper wine storage (on its side). True cork is a natural material that will expand and contract with humidity in the air, and other factors. When wine is stored upright, sometimes the liquid inside doesn’t moisten the cork sufficiently to keep it from drying out and cracking, which allows air to seep inside, oxidizing your precious vintages.
The Enlightened Man’s Entertainment Center features book, wine and beer storage.
Our first iteration of a custom, multifunctional wine rack was a herringbone style, which we used in the Enlightened Man’s Entertainment Center, a combination wine and bookshelf that also featured growler storage in ground-level cabinets. We translated this model to the custom bar at Bar Pastoral, a Loire-valley inspired cheese and wine escape in Andersonville.
Bar Pastoral’s custom bar and wine storage included the herringbone shelving
When Bar Pastoral’s sister outfit, Appellation and Pastoral Andersonville was being designed, we drew up a different system; one which would be able to hold the dozens of bottles sold at Appellation’s charming indoor market.
Sketches of the retail-oriented wine rack design
Because it was now retail-oriented (and not just for the sommelier to manage), we needed patrons to be able to easily remove a bottle of wine at a whim, without disturbing the others (not possible with the herringbone design). We designed solid wood rectangular prisms to give their racks a beautiful uniformity and command of space, while also being easy to access for customers and staff.
We needed to make adjustments for retail shelving, which was less for display and more for easy interaction with customers
From our Appellation and Pastoral Andersonville are Open post, here is some of the methodology of the wine retail rack and display.
“We wanted to create a simple grid that would showcase its own beautiful wood structure and still keep the focus on the wine.
- This design orients each type of wine in its own vertical stack. The bottles are displayed standing vertically in the center section in two rows – at easy eye level for reading the label.
- A few bottles of each type are stacked in front of each other there so that if a customer grabs the standing bottle, they won’t leave a hole in the line. More bottles are slotted in horizontally – better for long-term storage – above or below the display bottle.
- The wine rack is sized to hold an entire case – 12 bottles – to prevent cluttering up the back-of-house storage area with “just a few extra bottles” that wouldn’t fit on the shelf.”
To adapt it for a residential application, we simply scaled it down and reduced the depth, as you can see below.
A close up of the residential version of our wine shelving at Appellation. The storage allows for wine bottles to rest on their side, keeping the cork moist.
From the sketchbook: we measured different types of wine bottles to make sure we sized our shelving perfectly
KEEPING TRACK OF OUR COLLECTION
If you like Good Reads for your massive book collection, check out CellarTracker, which allows you to know exactly what’s on hand at all times. It’s the moss HQ wine-tracking tool of choice because it allows us to add “research wine to buy” to our to-do lists. There are also community notes, the opportunity for you to review and add your own notes, and many more features—best enjoyed with a bottle.
To wrap up, a custom wine rack can be a stunning centerpiece for any room, and a piece of functional furniture to treasure for generations of wine lovers. Interested in product information for the Finer Things Club Wine + Mixology Center or another custom wine rack project? We’d love to hear from you.