By ANDREA LORENZ
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Wine cellars are for serious collectors. But for those who are content to grab a couple of bottles on sale at the grocery store, wine storage isn't about humidity and temperature. It's about style.
In a way, casual wine buyers have it easy. There's no worry about proper storage, and price becomes less important. After all, most people need only one wine rack.
Consider space, says Jennifer Stanton, owner of Wines by Jennifer® in Parkville, Mo. Most people need more space in their homes, which explains why hanging wine racks sell so quickly.
When wine is displayed on the wall, it becomes art, Stanton says. She plans to order models that hang from the ceiling like plant holders. Unlike plants, though, wine doesn't need sunlight.
Racks should be placed away from windows, the stove or heating vents.
Choosing a rack for style and aesthetics alone can be daunting, especially when you consider the Internet, where eBay has more than 800 listings for wine racks. Want a rack shaped like a horse? A fish? A bicycle? They're all available.
Movie buffs should check out the rack shaped as a film reel, and you don't have to be a beekeeper to covet the hive racks found online. For golfers, consider the distinctive standing rack made from clubs.
You get the idea.
Wrought iron and wood racks are common, and styles range from classic to funky. For something different, eco-artware.com sells a six-bottle rack made from recycled bicycle rims. Or try a bright-green acrylic rack from wineracks.com.
Racks sometimes function as more than just wine storage. Those with table tops can double as a bar. And what about your kitchen shelf that holds cookbooks? Pryde's Old Westport in Kansas City carries wine racks that serve as bookends.
For a rustic look without spending too much money, Louise Meyers, the owner of Pryde's, says some customers buy the more utilitarian wine racks and decorate them with fake grape vines from a craft store.
Cost Plus World Market carries traditional wrought-iron racks shaped as a bunch of grapes or the Eiffel Tower. Wine racks can cost less than $10 or more than $300, such as the hand-made barrel ones at westsidewinecellars.com. Whatever the price range, they look best serving their purpose-holding wine bottles. To keep racks full even when you haven't gone to the store to replenish after a party, use the empties.
Instead of cutting the metal wrapper to get to the cork, Stanton suggests sliding the wrapper off without damaging it. When you finish the bottle, rinse it out and replace the wrapper. Set the empty bottle back in the rack.
Already have too many wine racks? Fill them with wine bottles (full ones!), and give them as gifts, Stanton says.
The vine's the limit!