Wine Talk

Snooth User: jamessulis

The Home wine rack

Posted by jamessulis, Oct 25, 2012.

I heard somewhere that white wines should be stored at the bottom of the home wine rack rather than at the top. Supposedly whites like it cooler (the old heat rises, cold falls theory), 

Now I know that wine's enemy is heat and changing temperatures, My wine rack is a 44 bottle system which stands about 4 feet high and I do keep the whites on the bottom racks and the reds on the top. For those of us that have a wall type system rack obviously the reds would be much higher. The area where my wine rack sits is a cool area subject to little heat or light. I would be interesting to see how others store their wine and what precautions if any they take. Attached is a picture of my wine rack and as you can see it's almost still full.


Lefty - the Great Pacific Northwest

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Reply by GregT, Oct 25, 2012.

Lefty - I don't think it matters. Red and white should be stored at the same temps. People serve whites cooler, but that has nothing to do with storage.  And if you're keeping them in the room at comfortable temps, then put the wines in the fridge before serving!  I'm having a Beaujolais right now that I took from the basement - put it into the freezer for 15 minutes and it's perfect.  Cheers!

Reply by Craig Bilodeau, Oct 25, 2012.

I agree.  The temperature differential between the top and the bottom of the rack is probably so minimal that it will not matter how the bottles are stored, especially on a 4 foot wine rack.

Reply by David Xyz, Oct 25, 2012.

It makes no difference at all.

Reply by napagirl68, Oct 26, 2012.

Yeah, Lefty... I think your rack temp difference from top to bottom is negligible. 

Here's how I store my wines:  I have a lot, and I don't have a fancy wine cellar so I make do.

I have two iron wine cages in the dining room that are very attractive, and hold a total of 80 wines.  I keep those filled with reds that can take take some aging, and other reds that we drink often.  I refill as I pull.  I store cases of wine in my closet (and another rack that holds 50), and the guest bedroom closet.  Not the best storage situation, but the house is climate controlled (even closets).   Now I put most of my whites, as well as roses, and even reds that I think will turn quickly, in my old refrigerator in the garage, that I have set to a higher temp than normal to keep oxidation at bay, but not overchill.    I have had very good luck with this so far... no oxidized/2nd ferm wines so far.  And my whites/roses are cold, as they should be when serving!

Reply by napagirl68, Oct 26, 2012.

BTW... basements and houses without foundation can be hard to come by in California.  If you have a basement, that is the very best.  I had one growing up in a house dating from the 1800's. You walked down via an external door for ~15 steep steps.  There was a full basement, and in the back, there was a room knocked out of stone with multiple shelves.  My parents called it the "booze room"!!  My sister and I thought it looked like something from the Exorcist and were afraid to go there!

Reply by webdesign24, Oct 26, 2012.

Both wines whether red and white need cool temperature. So, it doesn't matter if red wines are placed at the top of wine rack or not as long as the temperature is cool.

Reply by spikedc, Oct 26, 2012.

 I use a wine rack at the bottom of a pantry in a back utility room, it's dark, reasonably cool usually at around 16-17C. Not ideal but it's the only usable space I have.



Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 27, 2012.

I have a rack similar to Lefty's inside the house.  It originally held 24 bottles, but I added an insert for larger bottles that increased storage to 36 bottles.  My house isn't air conditioned like NG's, but I live in a cooler and more consistent subclimate of the Bay Area. Still, I only store things I am going to drink in the next three or four months inside the house.  I think that the temp at the floor and the temp four feet up are virtually the same.  For anything that I want to hang onto longer and hope will develop--damn those French, praise to the Spaniards--I have a crawlspace of about 3-4 feet under the house and a half basement.  I've got a half case of JD's wine and about 200 bottles of my own treasures down there. Once or twice a year, it goes outside my ideal range of 55-70 degrees, but I figure the bottles provide a little insulation, too.  I do put the longer agers near the bottom of those racks, and there's a small difference because the air does not circulate.  But I also make sure my sump pump is working because the other danger is that everything gets wet.  Luckily, the new sump works well.

Reply by jamessulis, Oct 27, 2012.

Thanks for all the info fellow Snoothers for the great as usual responses, they're all greatly appreciated. I also want to thank the Snooth staff for giving us the ability to post pictures...............we've all said a picture is worth a thousand words and this post was at least that.



Reply by Lucha Vino, Oct 31, 2012.

I've got a basement in my house in Seattle.  We built homes with full on basements until some time in the 70s.  My place was built in the mid 60s, which means I have a nice underground place to store my wine.  Now, all I have to do is build this storage closet into a sweet custom cellar and I will be storing my wine in much more style than I am today!

Reply by outthere, Oct 31, 2012.

No basements in Cali. Cool closet in downstairs room on shady side of the house.

100 or more bottles in these two and one more like it at the GF's house.

The only thing in plain sight holds empties as I find racking in the living space to be decorative at best. Don't want to subject my wine to the temp swings that are common around here.

Then there is the issue of Magnums. I try not to buy too many as they are a pain to store and even more of a pain to find an opportunity to drink them. I only have 3 in the closet but just last week my GF bought a raffle ticket while pouring wine at Pinot on the River in Healdsburg and ended up winning 6 more mags of Pinot. Storage problem just got worse!

As for storing by color, no discrimination here. I chill my whites and roses before serving otherwise they are all treated equally.

Reply by jamessulis, Oct 31, 2012.

Outthere, Looks like an organized mess stored to perfection of lots of delicious wine.Wherever it keeps best is the rule. Once removed from the cellar, heres the perfect scene in which to drink your valued bottles, Cheers!


Reply by ephraim em, Oct 31, 2012.


Lots of good feedback already, but I will share a good link regards optimal storage (55 degrees all varietals) and serving temps.  Also noted that your rack is in a well lit room and of course best storage is in the dark or dimly lit rooms.  Enjoy

Reply by GregT, Nov 1, 2012.

Except that the link is so full of wrong information it's hard to recommend it.

"In Europe, most types of red wine grapes will be found in the Beaujolais, Bordeaux, Bourgognes, Loire and Rhone regions of France. Red wine grapes are also grown in Argentina, Australia, Chile, Italy, South Africa, and Spain. "

MOST types of red grapes? Really? Italy has dozens and dozens and they're not found in the regions mentioned. Regions like Bourgognes.

"Most red wine grapes produce a more complex wine than white wines grapes. This is because red wine grapes stay on the vine longer due to their longer growing seasons in warmer climates. It’s also because the skins of red wine grapes remain in contact with their juice, giving red wine its color, tannin and flavor."

Most red grapes produce more complex wines than white grapes? And it's because they stay on the vines longer?  Or the skins stay in contact with the juice longer? Is it possible that the writer ever tasted white wines?

"Mourvedre is a blending grape originally from the Rhone region of France. It is now very common and popular in California. It is typically used to blend with Syrah, or Syrah and Grenache in what may be termed a "GSM". In Spain this grape is called Monastrell."

Mourvedre is a blending grape?  Actually it does quite well on its own. And BTW, it came from Spain, not the Rhone region of France. I didn't know it's very common in California where there are about 800 acres. I guess that's very common. It's almost as much as the 95,000 acres of Chardonnay in CA.

"Zinfandel wine is most always grown in California, where unlike other red wine grapes, it thrives in the heat and sunshine. It has low to moderate acidity and medium to full body with jammy, spicy flavors. Zinfandel is often blended with other grapes but not named on the bottle."

Did they get anything right about Zin? Most red grapes hate sun and heat?

"A grape type is also called a varietal. "

Wrong. "Varietal" is an adjective. "Variety" is a noun. A grape type is a variety, not a varietal. It does not sound more sophisticated to misuse the word. It just sounds illiterate.

"There are many different types of wines. Wine is classified either by the type of grape grown to produce that wine, the process the winemaker goes through to produce that wine, or both."

Really? What is Bordeaux? A type or a process?

The link is so bad, I'd just ignore everything in it rather than pick thru it for some correct information. But that's just me.



Reply by Richard Foxall, Nov 1, 2012.

Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed there.  Although all the points made by GregT  are correct.  That's some serious misinformation. As a Californian and a mourvedre fan, I wish it were common here, just for starters. And no book I have ever read claims it comes from the Rhone.  It's called mourvedre because the French imported it from Murviedro, but the Spaniards can't agree on whether it originated there or Mataro, in Catalonia, and they call it Monastrell; the Aussies called it mataro because that's where they probably got their vines.  Rhone?  No way.  And I have a hard time thinking of wines that are named for their process.  Maybe Solera would count, although that's something that appears on a label without being the name of the wine per se.  But I have yet to drink anything called "chaptalize," "spinning cone," or "carbonic maceration."  Regions or varieties of grapes (aka varietal wines). Not processes.  Rose is not a process--there are at least three ways of making rose. Dessert is not a process--there are many, many ways wines become "dessert" wines, and many "dessert" wines are drunk as aperitifs and even with main courses, when the course calls for it. 

Okay, I am piling on.  And I haven't even been through a hurricane, so I have no excuse.

I would link to some threads here that have information on storage, esp temperature, that are not contaminated with nonsense, but there are so many spread out over different places.  Or you can read GdP's brief and accurate article. I don't think I would do anything to promote that site.  (Gotta love the pairing section where the writer talks about the drinker's individual pallet.  That's a lot of wine for one person. Seriously, a misspelling in a forum is one thing, but to leave it up at a commercial site: bad.)

Reply by GregT, Nov 1, 2012.


Reply by jamessulis, Nov 1, 2012.

Wow, what a varietal of opinions. So all degrees of information blossomed on the vine from this post. I sincerely appreciate all the different information, it keeps me liquid.

Maybe I should have put a cork in it in the first place, however seeing as there so many great comments I think I'll sit here and let it age


Winefully (not a word) yours!

Reply by EMark, Nov 1, 2012.

I kinda liked GregT's diatribe.  When they are not aimed at me, I like them. 

I have been AWOL lateley, but here are my wine storage solutions.

The first one is inside the house under the staircase.  We originally built this under the staircase in our previous home in San Dimas, and it was easily moved and adapted to the Diamond Bar adobe.  Mrs. EMark pestered me to build something to store wines for quite some time.  I am completely worthless when it comes to building things.  (My brother has all those genes.)  However, I finally broke down and measured the space.  I drew up some specifications on a sheet of paper and went to the lumber department of the local hardware store and asked them to cut multiple lengths of 1 X 12.  When I told the guy what we were building, he did not think it would work.  That would not discourage me, I was used to failing on these kinds of things.


The stain that I used was left over from my patio deck cover.  So, it is approved by the architectural committee of the Tiburon-Puddingstone Homeowners Association.  (In my current house, I do not have to pay anybody to tell me what color paint to use.)  This rack holds about 100 bottles, and, as you might imagine, this is where I go to pick out daily drinkers.  (I have to say it looks more full than usual in this picture.)  I happen to store the whites towards the top and the reds below.  No particular reason.  If there is too much light, then there is too much light.  I am a VERY HEAVY A/C user in the summertime.  So, while the temperature may not be cellar perfect, there are not big swings.

When we moved here my father-in-law decided that I needed controlled temperature storage.  So, he, being refrigeration guy and, generally, a MacGiver type, went to work on this which is now in my garage.  I helped by staying out of the way, and passing whatever tools he needed.


This guy holds between 150-175 bottles.  As you can see from the pic, below, it may look a bit disorganized, but it is.


I was too lazy to move my car.  So, the pic may not be the best since I could not open the door very widely.  This boy keeps the temperature pretty consistent at 55 on the Fahrenheit scale.  It was built in 1994, and I've only had the manufacturer come out once or twice for "warranty" work.

Now, I think I'm going to have a Charmat--not.

Reply by zufrieden, Nov 11, 2012.

You like variety I like varietal (you say tomato, I say tamahto).  Although the use of the term variatal is definitely suspect, it has come into use as a kind of noun.

No use fighting it.... varietal has become a de facto noun if not a noun de jure...I'd love to blame this one on Parker but I cannot.  It would be a varietal characteristic of his temper to commit such a faux, but the variety of faux would be far too common to draw uncommon attention.


A view of a portion of my ramshackle wine cellar...

Reply by napagirl68, Nov 11, 2012.

Guys... I LOVE all your storage pictures!   

some are "prettier" than others, some more practical.  the one I wish I had was Lucha Vino's in Seattle.  Nothing like a full basement to store that wine.... NICE Lucha!

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