So, it is time to think about the racks for the wine room. There are three ways to approach the racking: have a carpenter build them, buy kits or use a professional wine cellar company. Each approach has its own set of pro’s and cons’ so lets just look at idea of having a carpenter build the racks.
The positives of using your carpenter to build the racks are that he or she might be less expensive and you might have a little more control. Those are the only benefits that I am aware of.
The negatives of using your carpenter are two of the major components of the racks: design and construction. Design includes the creative and the technical. The technical involves making sure the dimensions are correct as well as the engineering to make sure the rack is structurally sound.
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With carpenter-built racks, someone has to create a design that includes enough detail so the carpenter knows exactly what to build. The details should include the creative aspects such as what elements go where – diamonds on this section, individuals on this section and so on. It also needs to include the micro-level details – for example the spacing between the individuals is x inches and the size of the diamonds is X” x Y”.
The details, especially the dimensions, are very important. If the spacing is not laid out correctly, the columns of individuals might be too narrow or too wide to hold a bottle and/or the diamonds might hold only 5 bottles. I have seen this situation so many times. Someone might be an excellent carpenter but they have zero knowledge on storing wine bottles.
The actual construction of the racks is equally important. Does the average carpenter know that a bottle of wine weighs about 3.5 pounds? If you build a wine rack that holds 200 bottles, it needs to be constructed to hold that weight and then anchored correctly as well. If these steps are not done correctly, the bottles could fall down in the racks and/or the racks themselves could fall down.
A good carpenter can build wine racks if given a detailed and correct design. The question then becomes: Who is doing the design and at what cost? Does the cost of the complete design outweigh the cost differential between the carpenter and the custom racking company? That is the $64,000 dollar question.
Jost Lunstroth is VP of Vineyard Wine Cellars, a Texas company that designs and builds climate controlled wine storage systems.