I have been a home winemaker as well as a woodworker for many years and
have not been impressed with wine rack plans for storing large
quantities of bottles. The following are my thoughts on bin storage
based on my personal trial and error experiments. The key to designing
this type of storage is to start with the bottles you are going to use.
For the bin-type wine storage, all that is required is some basic
woodworking skills (tools and ability to saw 3/4" plywood and make
rabbet grooves). This would be fine in a basement but a face-frame,
proper finishing, doors, etc might be added if it is to be used as a
piece of furniture.
The height of the bins may vary but the width should be consistent. It
is simply a few shelves across supported/divided by uprights. It can be
made from a single sheet of 5/8" or 3/4" plywood and a part sheet of
1/4" plywood for the back. Total cost is around $50 Canadian for the
plywood. No other material is required other than nails and glue
(optional). I have made 3 of them for my cellar for holding both filled
and empty bottles. The "bins" are sized for, and work best when bottles
are nested, I will explain this below. Depending on the style of
stacking bottles, the unit holds 143 bottles.
Before making or purchasing this, or any other, storage system, I highly
recommend you consider learning to nest bottles, as it seems very few
people know or use this method. I saw it used widely in France. As far
as I'm concerned it is the only way to go. It allows for maximum use of
There are three main traditional style bottles, bordeaux-type with
distinct shoulders, burgundy-type with moderately sloping shoulders and
german-style (or Alsatian) with long sloping shoulders. There are of
course, many others as well as variations on these types such as
differences in thickness, length of neck, etc. This bin works best with
nested bottles and each bin should contain the same style and sizes of
bottles. Try the following experiment with a dozen or so of one style
of either bordeaux or burgundy-type bottles.
You need two vertical surfaces like a wall and a small board or piece of
plywood. These represent the sides of the bin. Place 3 bottles with
the necks facing you and the bottles spaced slightly apart (an inch or
so). The body of the two outside bottles should be flat against the
sides of the bin. Then 2 bottles should be placed in the opposite
direction with the necks nested between the first set of bottles. When
the sides are spaced around 12" to 12 1/4" apart, this first layer
should fit snuggly between the sides. Now place the next layer of
bottles on top of the first layer, with each in the opposite direction
of the bottle below it. If you wish you can try wider spacing by
initially laying out 5 bottles instead of 3.
Further layers can be built up accordingly. The stack should then be
Both the height and width of the bins in my design are from experiments
like the above using different styles of bottles. With some types,
small spacers of 1/8" to ¾" may be helpful in the sides of selected bins
to adjust for different styles as needed. The bottles should not fit
tight across the width but with minimal play.
I hope this helps, it is difficult to describe without an illustration.