The objective of wine cellar racks is to carry bottles securely in a horizontal position, in as dense an arrangement as possible.
It is important to remember that bottles sealed with corks should be laid on their side for storage to keep the cork moist. Bottles with screw caps can be stored standing upright although this is generally not an efficient use of space.
Champagne and other sparkling wines can also be stored in an upright position. Studies conducted by the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) suggest that Champagne stored upright will age more slowly than Champagnes stored lying down.
Wine cellar racks can be individual cells made from timber, plastic or steel. Simple shelving or diamond-shaped bins can also be useful in a cellar.
Individual wine racks are the most convenient for selecting bottles. Wine racks that are too tight can cause damage to bottle labels; designs vary in bottle density but price variations are more to do with appearance than efficiency.
Wine bins carrying 12 or 24 bottles are ideal when large numbers of the same wine are being stored but bottles in wine bins can be susceptible to destruction if subjected to earthquake movement.
Diamond cubes and rectangular wine bins can be useful for storing wine bought by the case, however, as you drink your way down through the bin you will create more and more wasted space. Mixing different wines within a bin will lead to constant disturbance, as you will have to move the top wines to see which wines are stored below!
When choosing wine racks, wherever possible, use single depth racking. Cellar racking that carries bottles two deep can lead to difficulty in locating some wines and unnecessary disturbance of wines moved to reach the wines behind.
As a rough guide each square meter of racking can carry 100 bottles.
The type of racking used in your cellar is of secondary importance to the temperature and humidity levels which play a critical role in the ageing and maturation of your wines.