Snooth Blog

Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz

Cellar Adventures Continue!

Posted by Gregory Dal Piaz, Jan 12, 2009.

Well I've got most of the work done! I am in physical pain from my weekend travails. I drove out to the cellar late Friday night and settled in for a night's sleep in the unheated house, some new windows are being put in on the top floor, I know, bad timing!  Not terrible but I don't recommend it. Up early on Saturday morning I began a 16 hour day, moving wine cases and endless loose bottles, cleaning out some working space and planning my attack on this, cellar building 2.0. As you might remember this is what the cellar looked like when we last left it.

So I had to move the pile of boxes that blocked the way out to the adjoining room. Away they went while I formulated a plan in my head. Phase one of today's adventure would be to assemble the magnum racks and somehow switch them out with some of the old bin type racks. The magnum racks were very easy to assemble, each unit taking less than 20 minutes and looking  like this.

4 of these units had to assembled and placed on the back wall under those wooden single magnum boxes in the background though the 2 units to the far right, magnum racks as it were, were going to remain. A puzzle began to unfold. Just how to extract the middle unit here without moving all the bottles several times. Well this was the before picture:

With a little bit of work I managed to remove one section after offloading it onto the center aisle racking for temporary storage. I then slipped in the first magnum rack and moved several magnums from the racks on the right into their future homes.Sorry the picture is a bit blurry. I took most of the photos without flash since the cold cellar temps made the battery lose power fairly quickly. By day 2 I had taken to keeping it in my pocket!

I then was able to move the bottles remaining on the racks to be displaced into the empty magnum racks and, with my meager selection of Chateauneuf, into the final resting spaces The first rows of the new cellar to actually be filled with the correct wines.  Beaucastel finds a home!

Some more wrangling and the old racks were removed. The rest of the wine, the Northern Rhone selections was replaced in the old bins racks once they found a new home in a dark corner. I took a picture but it is just too blurry to use. Their places now taken by my beloved magnum racks!

2 hours later my magnums were cataloged, organized and put in their places! Well most of them, many in wooden boxes had to moved above the Bordeaux case racks.

I then got to building the remaining 2 aisle units that I described in part one of my adventure . While working on theses units I realized that my high density tower, also described in part one, would fit better in the space, leaving uniform aisles on both sides of the rack, if it was spun around 180 degrees. So once the aisle units were built, some 4 plus hours later, I offloaded the high density tower. Thank god I hadn't filled it last time! Once it had been emptied the units were switched around so that the big bulk bins faced towards the wall and the individual bottle rack faced the light for my viewing pleasure! Here are groups of 96, 01, and 04 Barolo sleeping with case quantities from 89, 98, and 99 filling the bins behind, and beyond that the racks hold Giacomo Conterno, Giuseppe Mascarello, Brezza and Oddero.

And on this side are mostly random bottles of old Barolo in individual slots with the floor rack next to it  filled with Vietti, Bartolo Mascarello, Cavallotto, and Giuseppe Rinaldi. The back wall is Tuscany. Check out the mess through the door!

I spent all day Sunday, well from 9:30 til 4:30, putting away bottles, allocating space, moving bottles once, twice, three times, sweeping, kicking stuff out of the way but finally I was almost done. The wines are almost all in their spots! I still have to re-inventory the cellar and make some adjustments, like find 20 cases to pack up and sell, but the vast majority of the work has been done, certainly the hard work! Burgundy on this rack with the Southern Rhone continuing  this French side of the rack.

On the other side of Burgundy more Barolo makes this the Barolo aisle.

And on my way out the door a slightly blurry photo of a cardboard box free cellar! Mission accomplished!

And that was phase 2 of my work down there. I still have the paperwork aspect to complete and I have more than a few bottles that need drinking sooner rather than later. Things like magnums of Comte Armand Pommard 1993 and Olarra Gran Reserva 1970  will  join a gallon bottle of 1971 Borgogno Barolo Riserva and will serve to celebrate Snooth's upcoming first annual meet and greet party this February! So it's not all glamorous after all. There is the work of consuming wine involved with all this. In fact the photos present a lovely hued impression of my cellar but the truth is also less glamorous. Under normal lighting it looks a lot more like this.

And I'm just fine with that! I actually might do things a little differently given the chance to redo this work. I might splurge for Mahogany instead of Pine and I would think of making one of the aisle units a table top instead of a display top so that I had someplace to rest cases will working with them. There might be a few other little points, like maybe renting a nailgun to help speed up the assembly but all in all my cellar is a success and the racks from Grotto Cellars did the trick. And now I think I'll go have a drink, or two, and dream of my cellar.

Gregory Dal Piaz is the Community Manager at Snooth , an avid Wine Geek with a passion for things Italian, and a long suffering Mets fan.

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Reply by oceank8, Jan 12, 2009.

Looks fabulous, thanks for sharing!

Blog comment by Bryan Kane, Jan 13, 2009.

Wow, it almost looks as bad as my cellar. I have four rooms with racks and boxes all over the place (with the overflow). Too much good wine and too little time.

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Jan 13, 2009.

Great stuff, Greg.

Reply by Philip James, Jan 13, 2009.

Thats an insane collection - congratulations on getting it all finished

Reply by John Andrews, Jan 13, 2009.

When and where is that meet and greet? ;-)

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Jan 13, 2009.

When are you gonna be here?

Reply by fibo86, Jan 13, 2009.

Wow Greg.....It's beautiful

Reply by John Andrews, Jan 13, 2009.

@Greg ... nothing planned yet but I'm guessing March / April timeframe. I may have a work trip out that around that time.

Reply by Eric Guido, Jan 13, 2009.

Greg, Wow, looks great. Whole lot of work but I'm sure you're feeling great now that it's done. Amazing collection. Makes my collection look tiny. Love that shot with the Barolos up top.

Reply by Eric Guido, Jan 13, 2009.

One other thing, why does it appear that some bottles are wrapped in plastic but others aren't?

Blog comment by Dan, Jan 13, 2009.

Seriously, when are we invited ? And by the way, where do you live ? Just so we know.... just in case you are out of town. Just kidding.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Jan 14, 2009.

John, Give me some lead time, tell me what you want to drink, and we'll have dinner!

Eric, Thanks. Yes many of the bottles are wrapped in plastic for several reasons. First and foremost I have had humidity problems in the cellar for a pair of reasons. One is the sheer volume of cardboard that had been there served as a sponge. the bottles that were stored in those boxes had to wrapped to protect the labels. A second issue was a small crack in the foundation that allowed moisture to wick up into the cases that were stacked above the crack.

I also have had to wrap many older bottles just to keep the labels with the bottles as the cycles of damp and dry have reeked havoc with the old glues used on many of the bottles. I also have some bottles with pretty labels so those get protected too. I am also lazy so I only got around to wrapping about half the bottles.

Dan, let me know when you are in town. The offer to John stands for you as well!

Reply by ttutony, Jan 14, 2009.

Looks awesome, I'm glad to see it turned out so well!

Reply by John Andrews, Jan 14, 2009.

@Greg ... consider it done. I think I should make a personal trip just around this offere!

@Dan ... we should coordinate the trip a the same time.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Jan 14, 2009.

Thanks TT

Yes you guys should co-ordinate. We can drink twice as much that way!

Reply by RachelNYC, Jan 14, 2009.

@John I thought we were going to Napa in Feb? Don't go over committing yourself. :)

Seriously though when is the meet and greet planned? My Feb schedule is starting to fill up and I want to make sure that I stick around New York for that.

Reply by John Andrews, Jan 14, 2009.

@Rachel ... for sure ... Napa in February and then NYC in March / April ... see, everything well thought out.

Blog comment by Dan, Jan 15, 2009.

@Gregory and John: I will be in NYC for the Polaner tasting at the end of March. As soon as my schedule is set, I'll keep you posted.... thanks for the invite!

Reply by ajsfuxor, Jan 18, 2009.

That's amazin!!!

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Jan 19, 2009.

Thanks Ajs!

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