Obviously, we like to taste wine and visit wineries. It’s a great hobby! We meet a lot of nice people and visit some picturesque wineries. It does, however, have one small problem: it is easy to buy a lot of wine. For us, at least, this small problem had become a large one. We had wine EVERYWHERE and something had to change. Since we weren’t willing to change our wine tasting habits, we had to change our somewhat haphazard approach to wine storage.
Even before we reached our current crisis, some of our wine was under fine control. A few years ago, my loving wife bought me a Vinotemp 142 bottle wine fridge for my birthday. Big, beautiful and easy to organize. Problem solved, right? Well, not exactly.
I dutifully logged each bottle into Cellar Tracker as I placed it on a shelf in the Vinotemp so that I could find exactly the bottle I wanted years later. I couldn’t wait to display my collection behind that smoked glass. A few hours later I was forced to face a harsh reality. It turns out that our wine collection (accumulation? hoard? inventory?) was a bit beyond the capacity of the Vinotemp.
As an aside, if you haven’t checked out Cellar Tracker and you own more than a few dozen bottles of wine you really should take a look. With a mobile app that reads the same database, I can check my inventory while sitting in a tasting room to make better informed buying decisions. It doesn’t cut down on my buying but it sure helps me to have a broad range of varietals instead of dozens of the exact same wine.
After a number of years spent stashing cases of wine in every spare corner of the house, it was time for a change. Upon consideration, a lot of visualizing and hours comparing reviews and online photos, we settled on this wine rack. It looked like it would blend in with our furniture, was within our limited construction skills to assemble, and had outstanding online reviews.
We crossed our fingers and ordered. To limit our risk, we bought the wine rack through Amazon. The Amazon return policy is very consumer-friendly and we have been stuck with something we didn’t love. Although not cheap, at around $500, it was moderately priced for its capacity (126 bottles) and upscale appearance. We chose the burgundy stain with satin finish to blend with our other furniture.
A few days after our order, we received the typical “your product has shipped” email from Amazon. What was not typical was the shipping time: 6-8 WEEKS! Oh well, we had hoped to have it for the 4th of July, but August is a nice month, too. Imagine our surprise when we returned from a weekend trip to discover a huge box leaning against our porch. Instead of 6-8 weeks for shipping, it arrived in 2 days!
|Small box for a big rack. The hole was a bit worrying.|
So now we were excited! We borrowed a nail gun from our good friend, Bill (any excuse to use a nail gun is a good excuse!) and bought some fresh wood glue. Then my darling and patient wife and I cleared the foyer and commenced construction. A few unusual things were noted. First, the instructions were clear and written in grammatical English. Second, everything that should have been pre-drilled was pre-drilled, the notches were cut in the right place and all the pieces were present and accounted for. Not our typical construction experience! Thank you Wine Racks America!
|Ready for Service|
After a few hours of gluing, screwing, nailing and (occasionally) cursing, our wine rack was assembled. All things considered, it was a lot less traumatic to assemble than I had feared. The assembled rack felt solid and ready to handle the massive load of bottles.
It took all of our discipline to wait the suggested 24 hours for the glue to completely dry before we wrestled the rack into position. A bit of creativity with some seismic bracing (we DID see the movie San Andreas, after all) and we were the proud owners of a sparkling new wine rack, just begging for some bottles to make it look loved.
Now for the fun part! A number of hours later, we had a full complement of 126 wine bottles lovingly installed into their places, with each bottle registered in Cellar Tracker for easy retrieval. This process, although tedious, paid huge dividends. Not only did we empty many cardboard cases of wine strewn about the house, we rediscovered some wine that had been essentially lost for up to a decade! We celebrated our accomplishment with one of these lost wines, a 2003 Eckert Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. I’m sure it tasted great when we bought it, but a dozen years later? Amazing!
Full disclosure: this wine rack adventure did not totally solve our storage problem. We still have a few cardboard cases tucked away, waiting for their turn in the rack or the fridge. But with all the rediscovered wine in our database, it should be easier to walk away from those oh-so-tempting case sales at the wineries, at least for a little while.
Do you have a wine storage adventure? Let us know in the comment section below!
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?