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Wood Choices for Your Wine Cellar

May 07, 2013

Wood is a traditional and consistently popular source of building material for wine racking and cellars. Whether you are selecting a small wine rack for your kitchen or planning a new wine cellar complete with a tasting area, there are some important factors to consider when choosing the wood that will be supporting your valuable bottles.

First, let’s begin with the reasons why wood is an excellent resource for wine storage:

  • Versatility: wood can be used for everything from the racks to the floor
  • Variety: as you will see, there are quite a few different species of wood that are suitable for cellaring
  • Temperature: unlike metal, wood does not conduct heat or cold. This means it will help to keep your collection at a consistent temperature
  • Affordability: depending on your budget there is sure to be a type of wood that falls within your price range
  • Beauty: wood lends a very natural appeal to your cellar and since it comes in a wide variety of hues and grains you’re sure to find one that fits within your design



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Mahogany is ideal for cellaring because it is resistant to moisture and chilly temperatures. It will not warp or shrink over time. These characteristics are important if you are using a cooling unit to help maintain the humidity and temperature within your cellar. It is a very heavy, durable, and stable wood. Traditional Mahogany has a reddish brown hue and a consistent grain giving it a very traditional and classic look. 



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Long heralded for its strength and resilience is Redwood. Its natural wood preservatives make it resistant to humidity, so like Mahogany it will not warp or shrink over time. It does not rot, develop mildew or attract pests. An eco-friendly resource, it is recyclable, biodegradable and renewable. All-Heart Redwood is rich in color with a slightly reddish tone. Taken from the center of the Redwood tree, its grain is more consistent with fewer variations. Premium Redwood is just as durable as All-Heart but at a more economical price. There are greater variations to its grain, lending a more rustic appeal to the finished piece. Premium is slightly more golden in tone to All-Heart. Both types of Redwood age gracefully so you will not have to worry about refinishing over the years.



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Cedar is another wood species to consider. Lighter in weight than Redwood or Mahogany, it is just as durable and decay resistant. Cedar has a slightly-pinkish golden hue and consistent grain. It can add a bit of rustic appeal to your wine cellar.



Some Pine includes knots which give a bigger yield at a lower cost than a clear grade of wood.
Alder is a softer species of hardwood and has been used to build furniture for many years and can provide a strong base for your wine collection.
Walnut is inherently durable and resistant to warping or shrinking. Its rich hue oxidizes beautifully over time.

Cherry is an attractive wood choice, especially for decorative wood trim and moldings in a wine cellar. It is denser than Mahogany and just as durable. Over time its dark pinkish brown hue transforms into a richer brown.

  Historically, Beechwood has been used to build chalets, log cabins and rifles, proving its strength and longevity. Its golden tone and consistent grain make it a beautiful addition to any wine cellar.

To stain or not to stain? Whether or not to stain wood used in cellars has long been debated by cellaring aficionados. Here at Apex, we do not recommend staining. This is because we firmly believe that special care must be taken to avoid introducing harsh chemical odors that may affect the taste of wine. Since a wine cellar is a sealed environment lacking outside air circulation, if water or oil based stains are introduced it may be a very long time before those smells dissipate. While your wine is contained within a bottle, the cork used to plug the bottle is permeable to scents. Therefore we cannot recommend staining or guarantee that you will not experience problems in your cellar should a wood stain be used.

If you are hunting for more visual inspiration please browse our Wine Cellar Gallery for some fine examples of wood wine cellars built by Apex:

Are you ready to make the leap and select some beautiful wood racks to house your collection or start building the cellar of your dreams? Have more questions about what type of wood is right for your collection? Contact an Apex agent today.
Make an educated decision! Here are more helpful articles about Wine Cellars: