Wine Racks... varnished or unvarnished - Printable Version

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- andrawes76 - 08-14-2011 12:01 AM

Will varnish taint wine? If so how long should you wait to rack the wines after you varnish them?

- hotwine - 08-14-2011 01:49 AM

When I used wooden racks in the form of plywood diamond cubes, I refrained from varnishing for fear of tainting the wines. Now use racks of welded steel rods, so it's no longer an issue. But if I still used wood, would probably prefer redwood or western red cedar, neither of which requires varnishing (they do, however, both exhibit an odor that might penetrate the capsules and corks to the wines, over time).

- winoweenie - 08-14-2011 02:36 AM

T used 12x12x1" diamonds of pine completely natural. Haven't had a whit of trouble for the 28 years they've been up(except they seem to eat many bottles). Keep the cellar at 51-53* with 60-75% humidity24/7/365. No bad emissions or problems. Tongue & groove construction. WW

- andrawes76 - 08-14-2011 07:50 PM

thanks guys. this helps greatly. will probably choose pine since its clean, cheap and I have a few thousand bottles to rack... One last question. I have a lot of Bordeaux in original wood box. Is it better for me to open the boxes, and turn the bottles ever six months, or should I leave the OWC as is and not open it up?

- hotwine - 08-14-2011 10:22 PM

As long as the bottles are on their sides, I would leave them in their unopened OWC. The sediment will collect along the "down side" of each bottle, but that shouldn't pose a problem; just stand a bottle upright for a few days before opening and open & pour slowly and carefully.

- TheEngineer - 08-15-2011 05:31 PM


I would agree with everything posted so far on the woods. No varnish at all and leave them in their owc. I have fears of leakers in OWC but since I'm not worried about resale in general, It's a small worry. Also, I don't think there is a good reason to turn a bottle. Sediments can collect to one side (frankly I don't care which side) and as a result, no need to turn bottles. the only bottles that need to be turned are in the making of Champagne/sparkling wines to get ride of the less but his is done before they sell.

- Kcwhippet - 08-16-2011 02:05 AM

When we rebuilt our deck years ago, we had a few 5/4 x 6 white cedar deck boards left over. I ripped them down to 1 x 1 and used them to make floor to ceiling racks that hold two deep. That gave me room for 272 bottles. Made box type shelving on the opposite wall with room for another 120 bottles. In between I have stacked cases with room for another 180. Have to bring home a few more empties from the shop to hold the 5 cases on the floor. If I keep this up, my place is going to start filling up like the Weener's.

- Innkeeper - 08-16-2011 05:52 PM

We still have the 98 bottle rack that we had made when we lived in Maine. It is mostly made of very heavy wire and unvarnished wooded slats. It has served us very well, and moved without any problem. We also have three heavy plastic twelve hole racks for overflow. Since we have been here we have not needed them. Our main rack is filled about halfway (four cases) of aging wine, and the rest for rotation. We seem to have a hard time keeping the rotation full!

RE: Wine Racks... varnished or unvarnished - rpgreg0306 - 01-26-2017 07:06 PM

I have read in a number of places that cedar is not recommended as the aroma can permeate into the wine. I built my own 70-Bottle wine rack out of pine and is untreated.


RE: Wine Racks... varnished or unvarnished - Jackie - 02-05-2017 01:44 AM

[quote='rpgreg0306' pid='107525' dateline='1485482804']
I have read in a number of places that cedar is not recommended as the aroma can permeate into the wine. I built my own 70-Bottle wine rack out of pine and is untreated.


I also have untreated pine racks. No problems with my wine....


RE: Wine Racks... varnished or unvarnished - winoweenie - 02-05-2017 05:37 AM

Did you get caught in a mind burp in mid-thought? rpgregg already posted that. WW