We Make Wooden Wine Racks In Our Woodshop

We Make Wooden Wine Racks In Our Woodshop

Here at Rosehill Wine Cellars, we make all types of wooden wine racks in our modern woodshop behind our Mississauga showroom. Our facility is equipped with every machine and tool required to make wine cellar visions come to life. Our skilled staff is comprised of sawyers and cabinetmakers who use a variety of advanced wood processing machinery to complete breathtaking custom woodworking projects.

We’ve made it our mission in life to be Canada’s best wooden wine rack producer and to be ranked among our nation’s most imaginative wine cellar designers. Because we’ve been in the wine cellar construction industry since the 1990’s, we know which designs, materials and cooling equipment are most efficient, and when it comes to racking, we’ve got the means to build anything you can imagine, on time and on budget.

woodworker checks crown moulding from Weinig Variomat

Sawyer examines output from the Weinig Variomat crown moulding machine.

Highly Motivated Workers Are Rosehill’s Secret Weapon

Eight industrial woodworking technicians, both male and female, work within our wine cellar production centre, and we pride ourselves in the longevity of our work force. Much of our staff has been with us for over a decade, learning new skills and becoming more knowledgeable and experienced every day.

Each staff member has different abilities which they’ve brought to our team or have developed here in our shop. We strive to work with everyone individually to ensure we’re leveraging their best skills. Since our plant produces custom work, every job is a little different, and each order brings fresh challenges and new learnings.

Our woodshop processes approximately 3500 board feet of top-quality hardwood per month. Most of the wood we use is grown domestically and that includes oak, maple, walnut, birch, and cherry. Certain exotic lumbers are imported, like mahogany and sapele.  Other necessary supplies include white birch plywood, rolls of hardwood veneer edging, hinges, handles, panes of glass, boxes of screws and buckets of varnish and wood glue. In addition to everything else, we also use about 4lbs of pure Canadian beeswax each month. (Save the Bees!)

Hardwood enters our shop as raw timber, unstained and untreated but kiln-dried and perfectly cured so it won’t shrink after it becomes furniture. The boards are moved to our storage area where they’re sorted and wait to be selected. The handlers here are the youngest, and strongest team members and they start each day by ripping planks to the correct specs.

A human hand points at custom wine cellar design component, angled wooden wine rack.

Wine cellar design schematics streamline production and are shared between specialists.

Every assignment comes in the form of detailed blueprints with a specific pick list and the correct order in which things need to be completed. This process ensures we stay on schedule. We also create predesigned kit racking which is also custom built to order. The advantage of having a versatile team is that individual roles can change at a moment’s notice without delaying production.

How Wooden Wine Racks Are Made

Wooden wine racks are conceived on paper with each part itemized. The resulting schematic follows the job around the shop where it serves as a handy list of parts and to illustrate more complex assemblies. Junior staff members start the process when they choose the raw timber from which to fabricate parts. Their work passes to more senior staff who require wooden components be precisely cut and shaped.

Inside our facility are specialized wood saws which not only cut high quality timber, they also reduce time and effort. It’s no secret that our professional equipment makes woodworking easier, more precise, and safer than if we were operating consumer-grade tools available in hardware stores. As an example, one table saw in our shop has eight blades and can rip a single plank into seven strips in one pass. The machine uses lasers to check the edges and will auto-report any calibration requirements.

Eight blades for a table saw that rips boards into seven strips of wood.

Eight blades for a table saw that rips wooden planks into thin strips for wooden wine racks.

Next stop for most woods being used is a station where we smooth rough surfaces and carve the required grooves. Our Weinig Variomat whirls five cutting edges at once and outputs flawless crown moulding.

Our wood shop also has an Opticut S-50 which cuts upwards from underneath the wood. This device lets operators dial-in the exact specifications they require, and then that same operation can then be performed indefinitely. That’s a real time saver when building wine racks or anything that requires lots of duplicate pieces like our Premier Cru wood wine racking kits.

Carlo on the opticut s-50 programmable saw interface

The programmable Opticut s-50 saw is a real time saver for cutting similar pieces in custom wine cellar designs.

Another programmable tool is our Honig CNC machine which was imported from Germany. The computer-controlled mechanism improves production time, quality, and consistency as well as material yield. Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining is a manufacturing process which employs pre-programmed computer software to dictate how the cutting mechanisms move and we use it when we want to complete a large custom wine cellar with many uniform parts. We also have regular table saws as well as a band saw, an edge sander, a drum sander, a wood lathe, and a side bore drill.

Ripping strips of wood on a table saw inside the wood shop at Rosehill Wine Cellars

Worker uses table saw to rip thin strips of black walnut for decorative elements in wine cellar racking.

Once the rough lumber has been planed, routed, and shaped to the required parameters, the pieces advance to the assembly phase. Nail-gunners with perfect eyesight and steady hands take up the arm-numbing task of binding the bits together.

Worker uses compressed air nail gun to bind wooden bits into a decorative grill to cover wine cellar cooling duct.

Worker uses nail gun to bind six inch bits of wood into a decorative cover for a wine cellar cooling duct.

In the photo above, a worker uses a nail-gun to shoot slender bits of metal into a delicate grill which, in this case, will be used as a custom duct cover.

In the assembly phase, our most senior cabinetmakers with years of experience follow the same detailed plans to fasten all the wooden parts and pieces together as wall cabinets and wine racks.

master carpenter works to make cabinets for wine cellar at Rosehill woodshop

A cabinetmaker with forty years of experience assembles wooden pieces into a wall unit for an upscale custom wine cellar.

Finally, there are finishing touches which include staining, lacquering, and waxing certain woods.

spraying varnish on hardwood slats for wine racks at spray booth in woodshop

Spraying wood with a protective lacquer in the well-ventilated spray booth inside Rosehill’s woodshop.

A spray booth station with all the requisite barriers and ventilation is among the most recent additions to Rosehill’s woodshop. As an environmentally conscious organization we only use biodegradable water-based finishes. Before we had our own spray booth, the work was sent across town to a 3rd party vendor, but now it’s all done in-house which gives us more control over the quality and timeline.

Finally, the finished product moves to the Shipping Department.

custom wooden wine racks ready for pickup

Another load of wooden wine racks waits for pickup in the Shipping Department of the woodshop.

Here are wooden wine racks waiting to be packaged so they can be picked up or shipped out and assembled in a new wine cellar somewhere near or far. The racking we make is installed in homes, cottages, and restaurants all over North America. We are extremely proud of the cellars we produce, and it shows in the quality of the craftsmanship.

How to Host a Wine Tasting Event

How to Host a Wine Tasting Event

What I learned while hosting a blind tasting (wine taste challenge) with foodies.

wine tasting score card

Wine tastings are not about drinking lots of wine per se, but rather more about smelling and experiencing the subtle flavours present in each glass. Sommeliers taste wine in four distinct phases. First they visually inspect the liquid, and then they smell it to try and identify aromas through orthonasal olfaction (breathing through your nose). Then they experience it on the tongue and then in the back of the mouth. Wine tastings educate people on how to think and speak and how to remember the wines they taste.

While there are many thousands of wine reviews published online, and many posts about how to taste wine, there is surprisingly little documentation about how to properly host a wine tasting event. This entry outlines the task of designing and executing a successful Tasting.

Wine tasting score cards asked participants to identity vintages

Wine Tastings are Experiential

On some level, no matter how exotic the setting, or how impressive the exhibitors, a social gathering centered on wine is an experiential marketing event. Any occasion in which the participants experience something new for the benefit of a sponsor, whether it’s a venue, a wine related publication or a wine producer or distributor, some experiential marketing concepts can be applied.

When making experiential attractions, the goal is usually to give consumers, especially the target audience, a chance to engage with your brand in a manner that makes powerful memories. Organizers should select scenic venues where attendees can make Instagram-shareable moments. If geography or local scenery doesn’t accommodate, consider renting or constructing your own unique attractions and buying or making pop-up banners that have the event name, or the brand name or both visible behind the bar to give folks a title and context for their Insta-posts.

Upscale wine tastings by contrast are often set in stylish venues with great ambiance and high quality appetizers and soft music. These are also social events. They’re set-up to make interacting with others easy as its proven that most wine lovers prefer to acquire knowledge in a social context.

A Singles Wine Tasting group listens as Laura Bilotta discusses why she bought these wines and how she matches the meals in her Italian Cooking Class with proper vino.

Set the Tone with a Brief Introduction

Wine tasting sessions are the most fun when they’re not taken too seriously. Hosting such an event is great way to do something classy and different with your friends. The snob who wants to educate everyone should be balanced out by the clown who wants to make everyone laugh, and this article discusses invitees below. But most tastings do have a knowledgeable patron or a wine sommelier who shares their wisdom at the start of the event to give all participants some backstory and provide some context for their upcoming taste experiences.

A sommelier, or wine steward, is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional who generally works in fine dining restaurants and who specializes in all aspects of wine service as well as wine and food pairing. Their role in fine dining today is much more specialized and informed than that of a wine waiter and they are usually great fun at wine tastings.

The opening introduction should set up the theme of the event as well as introduce the wines. We used the opening speech to inform our guests that one wine in the flight was priced equal to the other three combined, and we asked them to try and identify this vintage, (nobody could incidentally), and we gave away wine racks as prizes to the best taster.

What is the theme of your wine tasting event?

Probably the very first thing to discuss with regards to hosting a wine tasting party is deciding what kinds of wines you want to sample, and then set parameters, a motif and theme accordingly. There’s no right answer that will please all your guests, or lead to a perfect party, but here are some suggestions.

Single in the City wine tasting was done ‘blind’ and guests were asked to identify the grape, sugar content and finally to select the priciest wine.

Wine Regions Theme: The vast majority of wine tastings select beverages based on geography and grape. They tend to sample different winemakers’ products from one region, such as Niagara, Okanagan Valley, Santa Barbara wine country, Willamette Valley, or remote locations like France, New Zealand and Chile. This is generally popular because the winemakers in those regions have marketing budgets to host such events and because they are quite successful at raising awareness and amplifying sales at LCBO, and through wine distributors to restaurants.

Vintage theme: A wine vintage is the year in which the grapes were harvested. A wine’s vintage can greatly affect the taste and quality, primarily because of the weather that affects the vines throughout the growing season. Our own Oct 2019 wine tasting was a semi horizontal taste test wherein we decided to taste wines produced in 2018 from all over the world. Originally the idea was to taste our friends’ favourite wines, but when we went to our local LCBO we found they were not available so we improvised and changed the theme.

The four wines the were selected for my October wine tasting in Toronto.

Taste Theme – No two wines are the same even if they originate from the same grape in the same region. One popular idea is to organize tastings exclusive to one particular grape, or a type of wine, or perhaps the same varietals but produced in different parts of the world; like selecting only Cabernet Sauvignon, but opening bottles produced in Napa Valley, France, and Argentina.

Colour Themes – Reds, Whites, Rose. Many tastings sample only reds, whites, sparkling wines, or dessert wines. Just remember that dessert wines tend to be sweeter and may be more difficult to taste in such formats.

Producer Themes – Do a tasting by winemaker? For example, if you really like Robert Mondavi, Cake bread, Stag’s Leap, or Duckhorn wine. Such selective tastings are usually sponsored by the winemaker.

Proper lighting and white table cloths

One necessary ingredient that our tasting event lacked (because I had not seen the venue in advance) was white tablecloths or even white napkins. Such a simple thing is entirely necessary to help guests see the color profiles of the wines. Colour is a very important determinant when it comes to tasting and appreciating wine. Our big round table had a wooden surface and this made it harder to see the shades. I witnessed guests using the white backs of their paper score cards to see the colour.

Refrigerate the whites and open the reds right away. In our event the wines arrived late and so they were not properly prepared in advance. An aerator or decanter for red wine can help bring out the flavors, but simply putting the Copain in the fridge or freezer for few minutes before opening would have helped its taste presentation.

crusty bread for cleaning palette
French bread is considered by most sommeliers to be among the best ways to cleanse a palate because of the starchy flavour of the bread

Major venues have proper wine fridges near the dining room and if you’re researching establishments in which to host your event this would certainly be something to inquire about, a check-box on your checklist.

Bread is required quench the tongue and erase the flavour of the last wine from tasters’ mouths. Believe it or not, plain white bread or crusty french bread is considered by most sommeliers to be the best way to cleanse a palate because of its simple starchy flavor. It works well at absorbing the flavors from the previous wine as it brings mouths back to neutral

Soda Crackers, due to their plain taste, work similarly to bread for palate cleansing. Resist the temptation to lay out dips alongside these bare offerings. Avoid putting anything out on the table that will interfere with the wine flavors (and yes this includes cheese).

Pineapple – There are some fruits that are said to have palate cleansing properties and by all accounts pineapple works particularly well because of its dry, acidic quality. The juice combats the tannins in the wine and keeps them from overlapping.

Rosehill Wine Cellars retails Oenosablier spittoons, each laser signed L'Oenosablier. The hourglass-shaped wine spittoon is not a wine spitting bucket.
 L’Oenosablier

Don’t forget the basics. Put out napkins and at least one garbage can and regularly clean-away half consumed glasses of wine. Put out cups of ice water for your guests as well as a pitcher of water for the table. Make sure people have pencils, scrap paper, bread or biscuits. There should be some food on the menu after the event least everyone get too inebriated. You might consider buying or renting silver spittoons for more high volume tastings.

The best spittoons are made of silver which forgives everyone involved because of their semi-precious composition. Rosehill Wine Cellars distributes authentic Oenosablier spittoons which are laser signed L’Oenosablier as a mark of authenticity. The spittoon is designed for wine professionals and connoisseurs and is available in three styles. Because of its universally recognized classic style, the Oenosablier wine spittoon easily and quickly transforms an ordinary meeting into a professional tasting event. Read more on How to furnish your wine tasting room, on our blog.

Cover the bottles properly if you’re conducting a blind wine tasting then have something more artful that a brown paper bag made-up to cover the label. Our tasting used white paper that was applied with Scotch tape and it looked rather crummy.

Prepare a tasting grid to help guests mentally separate flavours

Wine tasting score card

A tasting grid can help your guests identify the flavors of the wine and easily record their first impressions. The wine tasting score card template you see on the right can help guests track each wine’s appearance, aroma, body, taste and finish. If you assign each category five points then you have scores out of twenty-five total points

There are other more advanced wine tasting grids available online that allow tasters to list individual wine characteristics based on visual, aromatic, and specific flavour information. Trained tasters use the grid as a system to mentally separate aromas and tastes and they can be handy in taste test challenges to help reveal the identity of a wine. On some level, the grid is not only good for blind tasting, it’s also essential to understanding what makes great wine.

Invite enthusiastic guests

The ideal number of guests for a proper wine tasting is between six to twelve people. If you have a nice big dining room table, invite enough people so that they can comfortably stand around it. You don’t want any extra people leaning over the group and making everyone feel uncomfortable. If you really want to be formal and fancy about it, you can send out nice invitations or evites and theme is important for that greeting.

You should try to invite people who have a similar knowledge about wine. If everyone knows almost nothing, then that’s fine, but you want to avoid the awkwardness of having just one person who knows absolutely nothing, or that one guy who is Mr. Wine Expert and tries to educate everyone else at great length.

If you’re doing marketing for a winery you might consider making pragmatic experiences. Consumers like physically interactive events such as “create your own label” or hand picking grapes or other “hands on” exercises to facilitate further brand engagement.

Wine Societies Are Built Around Wine Tastings

If you’re interested in attending more upscale wine tastings then the best advice is to seek out and join wine clubs in your area. A quick Google search will show all manner of communities that routinely meet and are always eager to grow their membership. Sometimes these meetings invite the winemakers themselves to attend tastings and speak on their products. This is a great, if biased, way to taste their wines. It’s also very educational as the producers are often keen to give detailed accounts of production specifics to tasters who ask the right questions.

Some people have a remarkably good memory for tastes and these folks can sometimes even pinpoint the origin of a wine as well as the variety of grapes that have been used to make it. Most people cannot do this. The important thing to remember is that anyone can be a good wine taster, as long as they have an unimpaired sense of smell and taste and are prepared to concentrate on the experience.

Small Wine Cellar Cooling Units for Refrigerating Smaller Storage Spaces

Small Wine Cellar Cooling Units for Refrigerating Smaller Storage Spaces

There’s a science to selecting the right wine cellar cooling unit, even if you’re refrigerating a smaller space that doesn’t require much cooling. Part of maintaining a healthy home is to design energy efficient living areas, and if your wine cellar cooler is too big or too small then it’s probably inefficient or in-optimal for the task of keeping your wine stored at the perfect temperature. Also small storage spaces can have annoying cooling units that are too loud, or too inaccessible, or they vent in such a way as to make standing in the cellar uncomfortable.

Select the Best Small Wine Cellar Cooler Unit for your Space

Small cellar managers don’t need to worry so much about calculating the heat load of their wine storage space, or charting the changes over the course of a hot summer days and cold winter nights. With a small space the load is pretty constant and manageable. That being said however, cellar owners should decide on the best type of unit for the intended application. They should know the various styles, sizes, capacities and venting options of all suitable solutions, and then decide on the proper make and model. Wine cellar cooling units come in four different styles, and each type employs a different refrigeration methodology or ducting pattern:

Self-contained (the evaporator and condensing unit share the same housing)

Fully ducted self-contained (the unit is fully ducted – instead of being mounted in the cellar, it is installed elsewhere and the air is “conducted” in and out of the cellar)

Split system (the evaporator is in the cellar, and the condensing unit is outside or in an attic or adjacent utility room; a line set connects the two halves of the system)

Fully ducted split system (the evaporator unit and condensing unit are both separate and ducted – instead of being mounted in the cellar, they are both installed elsewhere, and the air is “conducted” in and out of the cellar)

The cooling fans inside self-contained units and non-ducted split systems will generate noise. If you prefer a quiet cellar environment, you should select a fully ducted system. And fully ducted cooling units allow more versatile installation options as well, but they can be more complicated to access for routine maintenance.

Cellar Pro 1800 Series Wine Cooling Unit

CellarPro 1800 small wine cellar cooling unit

The CellarPro 1800 wine cooling unit series was designed for cabinets and small spaces. This popular model is 18″w x 16.5″d x 10.5″h and is a good fit for both residential and small commercial cellars or dining establishments where there’s a lot of foot traffic at mealtimes. This unit offers a choice of top or rear hot exhaustIf the unit’s location does not provide sufficient room for airflow, you may need to purchase a rear duct kit. These cooling units can be installed above the wine cellar when used with our front intake hood. They can also be installed completely inside the wine cellar when used with our rear duct kit, which allows supply and return air flows from the rear of the cooling unit to be ducted up to 100 equivalent feet (50 feet per duct). Energy-saver mode, quick-chill mode, and auto-defrost cycle provide convenient solutions to common cellar needs.

CellarPro cooling units are designed to operate in environments ranging from 40 to 95 degrees. For installations in environments down to 20°F, we recommend adding our compressor heater modification to the cooling unit. Below 20°F, the cooling unit’s performance will begin to degrade.

This unit has cooling capacity for cellars that are 200-400 Cu. Ft.

CellarPro 1880H Houdini was introduced in 2018

The new CellarPro 1800H (the Houdini) is shorter, narrower and longer than the other 1800 series cooling units.  It was introduced in 2018 and marketed by the company as “the first cooling unit specifically designed for glass-enclosed wine cellars“. This factoid is on their website. It is designed for wine cabinets or cellars of up to 200 cubic feet. 

The highly versatile Houdini can be installed inside the cellar, above the cellar, in the ceiling or in the next room. It may also be partially or fully ducted. Ambient temperature range is 40F to 95F. By adding low ambient accessories, the unit will then tolerate cold as low as -20F. The removable power cord can be plugged in from the rear or the side of the cooling unit. The unit includes a three amp receptacle for power (eg to a light) inside the cellar, and it includes a fresh-air filter for easy maintenance and upkeep.

Breezaire Compact Series

Breezaire’s most popular wine cellar cooling systems are completely self-contained modules that are simply mounted in a wall.

Breezaire WKCE Compact Series Cooler Units are smaller-sized cellar cooling units that blow the cold air out the bottom. The air flow direction makes them ideal to be installed in cabinets or narrow width spaces. Compact units can be configured with hot air blowing out the top of the unit as opposed to at the back which is standard. The fresh air intake is still needed at back of unit so plenty of room is needed for air circulation or perhaps a wall-cut to access adjacent space.

Breezaire is sometimes selected by cellar owners because of its attractive metal cabinet that blends in with the decor of their cellar area and can be flush mounted to any wall. Another popular selling feature is their easy installation. Breezaire’s most popular wine cellar cooling systems are completely self-contained modules that are simply mounted in a wall and connected to a standard 115AC source (230V/50Hz also available as special order). No plumbing, no complicated wiring or special procedures are required for on-site installation (you may want to prepare for a drain line). (Split system requires professional installation by a licensed refrigeration technician). Units are shipped from the factory fully charged and ready for use when mounted in a wall and connected to 115 AC volt source.

Two Breezaire Compact Series models available for capacities of up to 265 cubic feet.

Koolspace KoolR 600

Are you looking for a real quiet wine cellar cooling unit? This make and model is the standard for which others measure the noise of their products. The KoolR Plus (Magnum) Wine Cooling Unit (KoolR 600) leads the industry in efficiency, power and quality. Koolspace, koolR™ may be a good choice for a small spaces.

Whisperkool SC 2000i cooling unit
KoolR Plus (Magnum) Wine Cooling Unit (KoolR 600)

Ideally, koolR / KoolRPlus Magnum units should be installed above the cellar door as they need air circulation around and below the unit. The cooling unit’s rear end conveniently monitors the temperature inside your wine cellar with a digital display. The koolR & KoolRPlus (Magnum) wine cellar cooling units come with an off-white colored front grill which can be painted any colour to allow the back end of the device to blend-in with existing decor.

The units come standard with a High-Temperature Alarm. The system’s electronic controls come with advanced EMI / RFI filters. EMI Filters, or electromagnetic interference filters, also called RFI Filters or radio-frequency interference filters, are an electrical device / circuit that mitigate the high frequency electromagnetic noise present on the power lines.

WhisperKOOL Mini Split Wine Cooling Unit

WhisperKOOL Platinum Mini Split is a compact wall mounted wine cellar cooling unit that cools wine cellars up to 500 cubic feet.

The Platinum Mini Split is small and compact, yet powerful and quiet. This efficient wine cooling unit can cool rooms of up to 500 cubic feet. It’s a good choice for a converted closet, pantry, and or economical wine cellar. As with all of the Platinum Models, the Platinum Mini Split comes with our most advanced controller and gives the user complete control over their cellar environment. If you don’t mind seeing the grill of your cooling unit in your cellar, a wall-mounted split system is what you need. If you prefer your unit to be out of sight, you should get a fully ducted split system.

The Platinum Series of split systems allow you to decide where the evaporator unit and the condensing unit will be located. The condensing unit can be located up to 100 feet away from the evaporator unit. The evaporator unit will be mounted in the cellar, or it can also be located nearby with air ducting.

Please note it’s strongly recommended that buyers also purchase the exterior housing with the WSSMINI regardless of positioning.  Without the housing, the inner fan is exposed.  There is no additional delivery cost if the housing is ordered with the cooling unit, while there will be a delivery fee if the housing is ordered separately afterwards.

A Ceiling-Mount Mini Split is also available where the evaporator may be fully or partially recessed into the ceiling for a very discreet appearance.

Maintaining Your Wine Cellar’s Chill

After a wine cellar has been built, regardless of its size, volume and material specifications, the time will still come when regular inspections are needed to keep an eye on its integrity and make sure you’re not inadvertently cooling down your entire house or restaurant. Even giving the unit a good vacuum occasionally will help to clear any build-up.

During wine cellar inspections, the use of thermal imagery can determine whether the conditions of the cellar plus the wine cooling unit still provide the ideal environment for wine storage.

Liebherr Canada Wine Fridges For Sale

Liebherr Canada Wine Fridges For Sale

Liebherr Group is a manufacturing juggernaut with German origins that has been making wine fridges since the early 1990’s. Initially they only created large refrigerators for high-end restaurants, wineries, and hotels, but it wasn’t long before public demand for their commercial refrigeration systems found them producing smaller residential models too. And now the firm frequently wins design awards all over the world. Rosehill Wine Cellars is proud to offer Liebherr wine fridges in Mississauga Canada.  

Liebherr German engineered built-in kitchen wine cabinets

Liebherr wine fridges are German engineered to address long term wine storage factors such as temperature, humidity, lighting and vibrations.

Today Liebherr Group is comprised of over one hundred and thirty different companies organized into eleven separate business divisions. They make tons of earthmoving and mining equipment, and they sell mobile cranes, machine tools and many other automated systems. They assemble many industry-leading domestic appliances too and make the components inside other popular products we use every day. The company’s worldwide workforce has grown to over 40,000 employees at the time of this writing.

Liebherr Canada head office, Burlington
Liebherr Canada head office at 1015 Sutton Dr, Burlington, Ontario

In the year 2007, Liebherr was officially recognized as the world’s largest crane company and what’s more remarkable is that it’s still entirely owned by the Liebherr family. Isolde (daughter of Hans) is the chief executive officer and Willi (son of Hans) Liebherr is chairman of Liebherr-International AG which is now headquartered in Bulle, Switzerland. And these blood relatives are not alone at the top. Several other family members are also involved in the management of the business ‘group’ which is the official name of a corporation with many facets in multiple sectors. Nathaniel H Leff’s book, Industrial Organization and Entrepreneurship in the Developing Countries: The Economic Groups defines a business Group as being, “a group of companies that does business in different markets under common administrative control and whose members are linked by relations of interpersonal trust on the basis of similar personal ethnic or commercial background”. Well that’s what Liebherr has become now and they started on that path in the 1970s when they began to establish new companies overseas including Liebherr-Canada Ltd which was founded in 1973 to facilitate sales, marketing and aftersales of select Liebherr products.

History of the Liebherr Group begins with Hans Liebherr Maschinenfabrik

Karl Liebherr

The story of the Liebherr Group is fused with the person who founded the firm in 1949 in Kirchdorf an der Iller, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

Liebherr’s first industrial product was very successful and soon the demand for his crane far exceeded supply. Hans Liebherr set up an engineering works in Kirchdorf an der Iller which he called the Hans Liebherr Maschinenfabrik.

Hans Liebherr was a master builder, inventor and draftsman. Later in life he evolved into a skilled businessman and manufacturing pioneer. In 1949, his home country of Germany needed rebuilding after World War II, and Hans Liebherr helped the cause as manager of his parents’ building firm. He was in his late twenties when he recognized the need for better hoisting tools and bigger machinery for the building industry and domestic construction in general. Together with design engineers and tradesmen, he developed the first mobile tower crane in 1949. The TK 10 was a game-changer because it could be easily transported and was easy to erect at job sites.

Liebherr's first construction crane, TK10 - 1949
Liebherr’s first construction crane, TK10 – 1949

Larger and more sophisticated crane models followed the TK10 and Karl Liebherr’s parent’s tiny construction company started its transformation into a multi-national manufacturer of construction machinery.

In the mid 1950s, Karl Liebherr made the move from construction equipment to kitchen appliances. At this time, despite the booming economy that helped Germany rebuild very quickly after the war, ninety percent of German households still didn’t own an electric refrigerator. Could you imagine not having a fridge in your kitchen? Nationally, this has dietary and labour implications, and Hans Liebherr saw an opportunity to enter the sector by developing, manufacturing, and then continually improving refrigerators for the German people.

early Liebherr refrigerator advertisement for Geman market - 1955
1955 Liebherr refrigerator advertisement for Geman market

The first Liebherr refrigerator was produced in 1954 and as the years went by the company became a well-known refrigeration specialist across Europe and then all over the world. They spent a lot of money on Research & Development and continually produced new technology and marketed bold innovations in the refrigeration and freezing sector all through the nineteen seventies and eighties. NoFrost technology, launched in 1987, is one example of an industry-changing innovation that Liebherr pioneered. NoFrost technology is still used today to prevent the inside of the freezer compartment from frosting over and jamming the door. This one little breakthrough changed refrigeration forever as the time-consuming and difficult task of defrosting the icebox, or the whole fridge, really did become old news. Now its something we tell our kids. “When I was your age we routinely unplugged our fridge for a day so we could clean the ice off the freezer section just so we could close the door.” They can’t believe it.

Built-In Wine Cabinets with Insulated Glass Doors

Liebherr’s wine storage cabinets and multi-temperature wine cabinets have insulated glass doors which lend themselves perfectly to flush installation in-line with other appliances in modern kitchens. These convenient glass doors not only protect the wine against harmful UV rays, they also ensure an optimum view, showcasing the wines to their best advantage.

Leibherr wine fridge with UV protected / insulated glass doors, 24 inch
Leibherr 24′ wine fridge with UV protected / insulated glass door

Another reason that Liebherr is recognized as an industry leader in wine fridges may be some of that famous ‘German engineering’ that went into the creation of these machines. And of course their insistence on using only premium quality materials with cutting edge design and innovative features that are made-to-fit wine collectors’ busy lifestyles. Plus, exclusive components and trademark production processes ensure energy efficiency and improved performance for years to come

Liebherr Wine Cabinet HW 8000

Liebherr Wine Cabinet HW 8000 is one of their more popular models here in Canada likely due to its uniquely tall and thin shape. As such it can be made to fit into tall and narrow spaces where it works to jazz-up a kitchen or wine serving room.

Liebherr HW 8000 wine cabinet
Liebherr HW 8000 wine cabinet

This built-in wine storage cabinet with glass holds eighty 750 mL wine bottles and features dual temperature zones which is very handy for serving red and white wines and champagne at the same party. The cabinet has an insulated glass door with UV protection. Telescoping rails support beech wood presentation shelves. The stainless steel door (or panel) ships with hinges on the right hand side, but this can be changed and the door flipped so the hinges are on the left hand side if desired.

Liebherr wine fridges are really quiet and indeed they have trademarked a word for their low-noise assembly which they call SuperQuiet. This noise reduction is achieved by using virtually silent, speed controlled compressors with a low noise cooling circuit. And this is done while also ensuring exact performance, energy efficiency and longevity.

Another system that’s unique to Liebherr is the patented SoftSystem which is often used in high-end cabinetry as it ensures the wine cabinet door closes gently, even when fully loaded. Plus the door opening angle can be reduced to 90 degrees allowing for more design options within modern kitchen décor.

Vinidor wine cabinet control panel
Beechwood presentation shelf under Vinidor wine cabinet control panel

Activated Charcoal Filter – Liebherr wine cabinets have a permanent supply of odorless fresh air via an easily changed activated charcoal filter.

The presentation shelf was an early design feature and something other manufacturers emulated. The practical shelf (often made of beechwood) in the Vinidor models fulfills both bottle storage and presentation functions.

Liebherr appliances regularly win design accolades from independent awarding bodies. The basic wine fridge has evolved a great deal since first being introduced in the 1990s. Liebherr wine cabinets are more than just appliances for cooling wine and champagne before serving; such high quality wine fridges with insulated and specially protected UV glass doors can now be trusted for long term storage of your wine collection.

Jewelry Box Shaped Wine Cellar for Billiards Room

Jewelry Box Shaped Wine Cellar for Billiards Room

Wine collectors sometimes refer to their rare vintages as treasures. So it only makes sense that some wine cabinets should look like fortified treasure chests (they do), and some glass-enclosed wine cellars could be made to look like silver jewellery boxes.

wine cellar design inspiration reference

This is just what Rosehill’s wine cellar construction service was asked to design and build by a wine loving man who wanted to recreate the stately look of his wife’s jewelery box downstairs in their home recreation room. They provided a sketch of this ‘reference’ that did indeed look like a silver box jewelry case perched on its side. Needless to say, we absolutely loved the idea and we brought it to life, adding double doors and plenty of other amenities which you can learn about below.

Glass enclosed (or Plexiglass) wine cellars with specially coated thermal and UV light protected glass panes usually have Vintage View metal wine racks and LED lighting and can be assembled just about anywhere inside any home or business. No longer does wine need to be stored away out of sight in a musty cellar space. Nowadays our wine cellar design team can put an attractive collection just about anywhere in the home. With deep racks, a floor to ceiling model can accommodate hundreds of bottles in the sedate chill required for long term wine storage.

The wine cabinet you see below is made out of wood, but it’s finished in metallic silver paint and so it looks like the jewelry box reference that the customer provided, set on its side.

wine cellar with glass doors in house

This stunning custom wine cabinet has wall-mounted triple deep Vintage View metal racks. These racks are perfect for maximizing the space and provide a perfect showcase for wine stored inside the casement.

Glass Doors wine cabinet for Special Effect Wine Cabinet

This modern looking metallic wine cellar is made of wood with special effect paint to look like brushed silver metal. Four doors in total allow for easy access to wine bottles within. 

wine cellar in basement rec room, billiards table

A showpiece within a home family room, this elegant modern wine cabinet has seamless concealed hinges and state of the art multi-point lock system to secure the wine within.   

wine cellar in downstairs rec room of upscale house

 The silver box shaped wine cabinet is the new centerpiece display in the rec room.

As discussed above, the exterior finish of the wine cabinet was designed to match a jewelry box supplied by the customer.  To complete the effect, the back wall of the wine cellar installation is painted mirror black. 

double doors allow wine collector to access dozens on wine bottles

Temperature Controlled Wine Cabinet in Faux Metal

The enclosure is cooled with a split ducted cellar pro 3000s. The condensing unit is located in a nearby storage area inside the home.  Cellar Pro cooling units can accommodate a number of complicated installs for perfect storing and serving temperature. 

Vintage View metal wine racks make wine bottles the focal point.

Metal wine racks within the climate controlled wine cabinet.  

The vertical wine bottle display mixes metal, wood, glass and mirror to make this wine cabinet the focal point and key design feature of the billiards room. The black Vintage View metal wine racks inside allow wine to become the focal point of the room.

Rosehill Wine Cellars Design Team is ready to help you make your new wine cellar installation or basement renovation dream come true.

Furnishing Your Wine Room, Wine Bar or Tasting Room

Furnishing Your Wine Room, Wine Bar or Tasting Room

Add Classic Decor with Howard Miller Wine Furniture  

For many good reasons, a wine cellar is NOT the best room in your house in which to conduct wine tastings.  It’s just too cold to be comfortable, and too small to be accommodating.  Your wine cellar is probably not furnished with comfy chairs or couches, and so there’s likely nowhere to sit down or relax.  And it’s dark down there, and turning on the lights is not recommended.  These are the most obvious reasons homeowners don’t host wine tastings in wine cellars. With all your eggs in one basket, why put your wine at risk? Human bodies affect temperature and humidity. They change the lighting and make vibrations just by talking loudly and stomping around (looking for a place to sit down) and even worse, strangers have the tendency to touch the bottles.

Rosehall Run’s Wine Room, Photo Credit: Daniel Vaughan, Photo courtesy VisitPEC ca

How is a wine room different than a wine cellar?   

A wine room denotes an area of a modern residential home which is just like any other room, except that wine is stored here in climate-controlled wine cabinets, and possibly there is some furniture for people to sit around and enjoy the wine.  A wine cellar by comparison is a purpose-built dimly lit refrigerated room for aging wine that has no accouterments for human comfort or wine appreciation.

If you do a search on the words ‘wine room’ on Wikipedia, you’ll be directed to their wine cellar page.   That’s because few humans really understand the difference.   At Rosehill Wine Cellars we believe a wine room is very different than a wine cellar.

A wine room denotes an area in a residential home or business where wine is stored in climate-controlled wine cabinets.  Wine rooms themselves are set at comfortable 72 degrees Fahrenheit – room temperature. And the space often is furnished with tables, chairs and couches and the walls decorated with suitable artwork.  Strangers are welcome to sit in the wine room and admire the wine collection that is safe behind glass in wine cabinets and wine refrigerators in that room.  

A wine cellar by contrast is a specially contained area in a home or business that exists behind an exterior quality door. The dark and chilly room is specially designed for long-term storage of wine.  It may have an attractive glass door, but the space inside is likely off-limits to unaccompanied strangers. 

Wine tasting room at Closson Chase winery in Prince Edward County – photo courtesy of Sandbanks Vacations / PEC Wine Tours

What is a Wine Tasting Room?

Wine Tasting Room – photo courtesy of Sandbanks Vacations / PEC Wine Tours

A commercial wine room is often called a wine tasting room and is generally focused around a walk-up bar counter where staff offer guests small samples from a list of products produced by the featured winery (and usually for a fee).  Wine is poured by staff that has been trained in the particulars of that operation’s products and production practices. In most tasting rooms, the proprietors encourage the tasters to keep their glassware which generally has the name of the brand stenciled on the side. Destination marketing is more important than ever for modern wineries targeting tourists and hoping to make a memorable brand association. Instead of promoting just the wine cellar door there’s a need to broaden the offering and this includes upscale tasting room experiences. We can learn from the wine industry as we design comfortable wine tasting rooms in residential houses.

Ideas for Decorating Wine Rooms

Ithaca Pub Table

Generally speaking, the wine collector’s own wine cabinets and wine fridges are the star attractions in the wine room.  The exception to this rule is when the room has a fancy bar or another visual amenity, but in general the wine storage device is the central item on display and arguable the most important thing in the room.

Howard Miller’s beautifully crafted line of spirits and wine furniture offers a variety of styles and sizes of wood wine cabinets including a cleverly designed line of hide-a-bar cabinets. Please note these cabinets are not climate controlled but they are handy for storing amenities like openers, special glassware and wine glass coasters.

Below is the Shiraz Wine Cabinet, by Howard Miller. This is a Hide-A-Bar ™ wine cabinet console with raised door panels allows ample room for wine and spirits. The center console of the cabinet features a lazy-susan style door that spins like a secret panel to reveal additional storage.

Because there are so many styles of wine cabinets available these days, it’s easy to find a unit that matches your design theme. 

There are Howard Miller wine cabinets with an art deco theme or all-wood construction or stainless steel finishes, but if you’re starting from scratch it might help to start with the best fitting furniture pieces, regardless of style, and then design and match the decor of the rest of the room around that centerpiece wine cabinet.

Two temperatures are sometimes required in wine rooms. One cabinet maybe set warmer for immediate serving temperatures, while another compartment or separate machine may be set for colder temperatures to better accommodate long term wine storage requirements.

Wine Glass Racks and Wine Glass Caddies for Wine Tasting Rooms

chic wine accessories for oenophiles
Crystal wine decanters for sale at Rosehill Wine Cellars showroom in Mississauga

In a wine cellar we talk about wine racks for bottles, but in a wine room we look for racks for glassware. Wine glass racks should accommodate at least three different styles of wine glasses, but we have laid out four different categories below.

The wine glasses in your wine room are very important. If you stock and serve red wine in your tasting room, you may consider buying premium glassware to help set the proper tone at these special occasions.

Zalto Stemware is made to very high standards in a boutique glassblowing factory in Austria, and because of its fine lines and the company’s attention to detail, the brand is widely praised in Europe by wine professionals and journalists. Glassware matters: Some researchers believe as much as eighty percent of what we taste happens in our nose, not on our tongues.  If your guests can’t smell the wine they’re drinking, then they’ll not be able to properly taste it. So your wine glasses need to be the right shape to accommodate the bouquet that comes in every bottle.

Four Types of Glassware in the Wine Room

Four styles of glassware best suit the different types of wine served at tastings

Red Wine Glasses
Red wine glasses are easily identified by their spherical bowl shape. They are often the largest type of wine glass because the larger bowl enhances the bouquet and flavor of red wines.

White Wine Glasses
White wine glassware has a slightly longer stem, more upright, with a smaller more U-shaped bowl as white wines do not need to be aerated as much as red.

Sparkling Wine Glass (Flute)
Sparkling wine glassware is commonly referred to as “flutes” or “champagne flutes”. This type of wine glass is typically used for all sparkling wine and not just champagne. With its long stem, the flute is tall and narrow. This design is necessary as the extra surface area within the glass helps capture the carbonation and retain the flavor.

Dessert Wine Glass
Dessert wine glasses are smaller than other types of wine glasses. Common glasses for dessert wines are sippers, port glasses and sherry glasses. The main characteristics that these wine glasses have in common is their small, compact shape that will help accentuate their rich aromas and sweet flavors.

Wine Room Furniture Improves Tastings

George Nelson – Howard Miller clocks are still made today in the classic themes and styles he presented in the late 1960s and 1970s

Depending on your lifestyle, your wine room can be a highly social environment with a custom bar and stools, or tables and chairs, or it can be more intimate; two armchairs by a fireplace works equally well as the perfect setting for pouring and tasting fine wine. Whatever the case, you need to make sure it has style.

Howard Miller, the famed American clock-making company has also manufactured high quality furniture for wine rooms since the mid nineteen seventies; they make wooden cabinets, and tables and chairs that are iconic and have over the last forty years come to signify the quintessential style of a classic American wine rooms.

Howard Miller – Niagara Games Table is a classic hexagon shaped Pub & Game Table that has a durable clear coat for wear protection. There’s a non- refrigerated cabinet in the base of the sturdy table. Its hexagon shaped top comfortably accommodates six people and features six full-extension drawers. Each drawer holds beverages and snacks and includes a removable sandstone drink coaster to absorb moisture. The reversible top features cherry veneers in a sunburst pattern on the dining surface side and a Texas Hold ‘Em pattern on the lounge side. Below are the chairs that could be matched with the table (the Niagara Club Chair in the center is the match to the Niagara Games Table above). All photos of Howard Miller furniture have been used courtesy of Howard Miller USA.

Howard Miller – Ithica, Niagara and Bonavista Club Chairs

Barware, corkscrews, glass decanters and other accessories

Classic Gold colored Pulltaps corkscrew for restaurant and bar professionals.
Classic Gold Pulltaps corkscrew

Widely used by restaurant and bar professionals, the Classic Gold colored Pulltaps corkscrew is made with a double lever design. This design feature allows any bottle of wine to be uncorked in two steps without damaging or breaking the corks.

Proper Lighting, Lamps and Sconces

Unlike the cellar where the overhead lighting is subdued to protect the collection, a wine room in a residential home can have wide open windows and bright lights, but often just the opposite is true. Wine tasting rooms set the mood with stone fireplaces, artwork, bookshelves and proper furniture.

Forgotten Furnishings in Wine Tasting Rooms

Silver wine spittoons for upscale wine tasting events at home.

Silver spittoons scale-up sophistication in wine tastings

Every tasting room needs a proper spittoon for people who wish only to taste the wine, and not consume so much they become inebriated. The best spittoons are made of silver which forgives everyone involved because of its semi-precious composition, history and tradition.

Rosehill Wine Cellars retails Oenosablier spittoons, each laser signed L'Oenosablier. The hourglass-shaped wine spittoon is not a wine spitting bucket.

Rosehill Wine Cellars distributes authentic Oenosablier spittoons, each of which is laser signed L’Oenosablier as a mark of authenticity and to signify that this sturdy hourglass-shaped wine spittoon and not simply a wine spitting bucket. It’s L’Oenosablier.

The spittoon is designed for wine professionals and connoisseurs and is available in three styles.
Because of its universally recognized classic style, the Oenosablier wine spittoon easily and quickly transforms an ordinary meeting into a professional tasting event.

Roman Wine Cellars, Vinum Storage and Transport

Roman Wine Cellars, Vinum Storage and Transport

Roman wine cellars were called cella vinaria, and not vinariums or even vinum cellariums.

While the idea of visiting ancient Rome and drinking a cup of wine may seem appealing, it’s quite likely the beverage itself would taste rather poorly when perceived by your modern mouth. Romans had to work hard to keep their wine from spoiling, or taking-on foul odours, or becoming vinegar which they called Acetum. Another Latin word Vappa describes wine that has been left for too long exposed to the air and has lost its properties and become insipid. Furthermore we know that Romans had a preference for adding strange ingredients to their wines (because they’d already spoiled, or to arrest their spoilage) and pitch (beeswax and pine tar) from their crude containers would have been frequently tasted in the vinum depending on your status. Today when we read the works of Roman writers—most notably Cato, Columella, Horace, Catullus, Palladius, Pliny, Varro and Virgil, we gain insights into the role wine played in Roman culture, as well as how wine storage affected early viticultural practices.

Four different kinds of wine are said to have been present for the first time at a feast given by Julius Caesar in his third consulship (B.C. 46), these being Falernian, Chian, Lesbian, and Mamertine. Historians agree that is was not until after this date that the merits of the numerous varieties, foreign and domestic, were accurately known and fully appreciated. During the reign of Augustus, the study of wines became a common passion, and the most scrupulous care was bestowed upon every part of the wine-making process including the preservation of fine wine. The perishable liquid had religious, medicinal and social roles that set it apart from other Roman cuisine. Throughout the history of the Roman Empire, the demand for wine increased with the wealth of its middle class subjects.

Romans stored wine in the cella vinaria, and if you were ever invited into one of these sacred places you would encounter vinum (wine) fermentation and storage vessels known as dolia defossa. Very often the ceramic containers were buried in the ground, but during production some big pots were worked above ground. Each of these large cisterns would typically have just under 1,000 liters capacity and be buried up to their necks in the floor to keep the temperature of the wine constant and cool. The cella vinaria was always carefully located away from odorous industries like leather tanneries, butcheries or animal dung heaps.

Dolia Defossa in Ostia Italy

The best wine in the cella vinaria was stored separate from the submerged tanks. It was transferred from the dolia into special made terracotta amphorae that had their insides coated in beeswax. If Romans were to rack the wine, they would transfer it into these study containers for long term storage in their cella vinarias or with other goods in regular warehouses.

Ostia (seen above) in Italy boasts the best known example of an ancient cella vinaria that’s filled with dolia defossa storage containers. In one room there are twenty-two buried dolia for wine and olive oil. Ten jars have numbers indicating their capacity in amphorae (one amphora = 26 1/4 litres). On average, the dolia contained 33 amphorae each. The twenty-two dolia at Ostia could store nineteen thousand liters of wine!

Romans making wine, filling dolia with juice in a cella vinaria

Wine or Vinum Storage in Ancient Rome

How Romans stored wine tells us a lot about their industry and their understanding of science. They knew that air must be kept out of the storage vessel to prevent wine’s oxidation. The container must be strong enough not to easily break, but without being so heavy that it cannot be easily moved. In many cases, the vessels needed to be opened periodically and then resealed. Furthermore, the jar itself shouldn’t interact with the wine, meaning it shouldn’t impart any flavour of its own. In addition to these goals, the vessel needed to be stored in an environment that had a stable temperature. This left the Ancient World with four main wine storage vessel solutions:

Kvevri

Kvevri (also translated as qvevri) originated in Georgia and were used there as early as 6000 BCE. Qvevris, being so large and cumbersome, and most often buried in the ground, were probably not used for transporting wine, although some historians would disagree. The clay vessels were also further strengthened with beeswax coated interiors and exterior wraps. Besides being the oldest wine storage vessel known to man, it’s also one of the few containers that was used in every stage of wine production from grape crushing to aging to long term storage. The process began when unfermented grapes, or wild grapes that grew naturally in the region were dumped into a kvevri stems and all. The vat could hold hundreds to thousands of liters of liquid depending on its size. The grapes were then crushed and the kvevri was further buried all the way underground to keep the wine at a steady temperature and secure fermentation. Once the period of primary fermentation was over, the kvevri was covered with a large stone to create an airtight seal. The kvevri was then left undisturbed for up to two years, allowing the wine to undergo malolactic fermentation and finish with aging. What came out was an earthenware-aged wine that would have tasted quite unlike any other liquid in the ancient world.

Amphora – Rome’s Most Standard Wine Containers

Amphorae were the ancient world’s primary method of transporting any valuable liquid, and as such they came in standard sizes. Ceramic vessels of this type can be dated back to the neolithic period. The jugs were used to transport wine, olive oil and other prized liquids. Amphorae came in many sizes, similar to both the bulk transport formats we use today as well as the world’s common wine bottle sizes. These beeswax-lined ceramic containers, invented by the Egyptians, were gradually adopted by nearly all wine drinking societies in the Mediterranean. They reached their peak usage (and standardization) in ancient Rome. These jugs were easy to produce and most importantly, easy to transport. Their cylindrical shape, tapered bottoms and sturdy handles made them easy to lift and transport. The long neck served four purposes: 1) it allowed for handles, 2) it reduced the surface area of wine that would be exposed to oxygen. 3) It provided sturdy structures for plugs, corks and other closures, and 4) it made pouring easy. The tapered bottom allowed sediment to collect and the amphora itself to be easily buried when cooler, long-term storage was required.

Museum exhibit showing amphora packed tight in pine fronds in an oared galley’s hold.

Amphora were made to fit into the skiffs and oared sea vessels. The handles eased the load of carrying them by hand. The amphora’s tapered bottom also proved useful in keeping its contents from being too disturbed by sea travel. Jostling was further mitigated by filling a ship’s hold with sand or tree branches and then packing the amphora tightly together inside. When the vessel is loaded with cargo and oarsmen, it would leak a little water and the moisture would swell the bilge material making it even more effective insulation. Later Roman Age vessels were often rated by the number of amphora they could carry. (Cic. ad Fam. XII.15Liv. XXI.63) and the produce of a vineyard was reckoned by the number of amphorae, or of culei (of twenty amphorae each), which it yielded.

Looking at an amphora you can see the similarities to a modern wine bottle, from the long neck, which keeps the wine away from oxygen, to the sediment-collecting concave bottom of most wine bottles called the ‘punt.’ The best wines were stored in the best of these ceramic containers which often had lovely decorations. To standardize these ceramic bottles, trade administrators in ancient Rome set aside the best proportioned amphora, called amphora Capitolina, in the temple of Jupiter on the Capitol, and it was in accordance with this model of perfection that all the empire’s jugs were fashioned.

Goatskin Bags and Animal Bladders

A waterskin is an Ancient Era receptacle used to hold water. Normally made of a sheep or cow bladder, it retains water naturally and therefore was very useful in desert crossings until the invention of the canteen. It is still used today in some developing nations. Though it may have been used over 5000 years ago by tribal peoples, the first pictures of it are from ancient Assyrians, who used the bladders as floats in 3000 B.C. It also was used by Romans for transporting water, wine and oils. On festival days large amounts of wine were moved about and this required goatskins sewn together to make a tun (usually on a two-wheeled wooden cart) and pitched as we previously described.

A large animal skin filled with wine

There were two major Roman festivals relating to wine production: the Vinalia prima (“first Vinalia”) held on April 23rd allowed ordinary men and women to sample the previous year’s vintage of ordinary wine in Venus’ name. At the same festival the Roman elite offered a generous libation of wine to Jupiter in the hopes of good weather for the next year’s crop.

Vinalia Rustica, held on August 19th was originally a rustic Latin harvest festival. It celebrated the grape harvest, and the growth and fertility of all garden crops. Its patron deity may have been Venus, or Jupiter, or both. To properly celebrate the occasions, urban feast planners found it necessary to transport wine from their cella vinaria to one place to another on the day. Such transport was invariably accomplished using goatskin bags. These vessels often resembled a goat with its appendages tied and well pitched over so as to make the seams perfectly tight. When a large quantity of wine was to be moved, the hides were sewed together, and the leather tun was created, usual atop a two wheeled cart, so wine could be carried from place to place.

Oak Barrels

As the Roman empire expanded in all directions they met and conquered numerous cultures possessing better technology. The Gauls who lived north and east of their domain transported their brew craft in wooden barrels, bound together with metal hoops. While the Celts are recognized as the inventors of the wooden barrel, historians agree it was through the Gauls that Rome first adopted them. In the stone carving below, we can see wine being transported in large wooden barrels with metal hoops. A single bargeman steers the boat towed by slaves. At the top of the piece are shown several styles of amphora, both wickered and smooth.

roman wine in barrels towed by slaves, amphora above
Roman wine in barrels in river barge towed by slaves, amphora above

Wooden barrels proved stronger than clay vessels, and they weighed far less for the volume shipped. Plus well made wooden barrels could be turned on their side and rolled. Oak was the wood of choice for wine barrels, even back then and over the following centuries wine lovers realized the positive effects that oak has on wine. Selecting this species of wood probably wasn’t so deliberate in the beginning though, the Roman’s choice of oak over other woods was likely more influenced by both the abundance of oak trees in Europe at the time, and the wood’s tight grain.

Glass Bottles

Roman glass was too fragile to be dependable for wine storage over long periods of time, but it was used on ceremonial occasions, and sometimes included in funerary rituals, and it was relatively common for wine to be served from glass pitchers.

Greco Roman wine serving vessels from Venice
The Speyer Wine Bottle

The Speyer wine bottle, on display at a museum in Speyer Germany proves the Romans did indeed use glass bottles to store wine. The vessel in question is a sealed 1.5-litre (51 US fl oz) glass vessel with amphora-like shoulders and dolphin-shaped handles. The glass bottle most likely holds wine, although its interior contents have never been tested. It was unearthed in a Roman tomb discovered nearby in 1867, but archaeologists date the vessel’s origins to between 325 and 350 AD and that makes this relic the oldest unopened bottle of wine in the world.

What is a Vinarium?

Articles by the historian William Ramsay, M.A., Professor of Humanity in the University of Glasgow attribute the word Vinarium to the Roman Age equipment used to separate sediment from the fermenting beverage in amphorae, and not the room in which the wine was stored. This author writes how sediment was removed “…simply by straining through small cup-like utensils of silver or bronze perforated with numerous small holes, and distinguished by the various names”.

Home Designers Ponder  Wine Cellars made of Metal Wine Racks with Jacob Harkins

Home Designers Ponder Wine Cellars made of Metal Wine Racks with Jacob Harkins

Rosehill Wine Cellars was proud to co-sponsor Jacob Harkins’ metal wine racks focused wine cellar design presentation on Wednesday the 10th of April, 2019, at Cibo Wine Bar on Yonge Street. Jacob, the marketing director of VintageView traveled to Toronto to present interior designers and builders with their 2019 catalog. Their wine rack collections allows wine cellar designers and builders like ourselves to design sophisticated cellars using specially laminated glass and high-powered air-cooling units. The well-attended talk was fully catered, and of course LCBO licensed (red & white wine flowed), and the audience was composed of knowledge-hungry interior decorators, engineers and architects.

Jacob Harkins, the Marketing Director at VintageView Wine Storage Systems
Jacob Harkins of VintageView Wine Storage Systems speaks at Cibo
Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The invite-only presentation exhibited ultra modern wine cellar designs that showcased imaginative layouts and displays. Almost all of Jacob’s slides had photographs of completed cellars that were constructed using VintageView metal wine racks. All manner of racking configurations were detailed in the hour long design presentation.

The audience was shown commercial cellar spaces in fancy restaurants, and private cellars in upscale residential homes. Each of Jacob’s slides was accompanied by detailed explanations of the challenges involved in building and maintaining that particular wine storage space. Below is a simple wine-on-the-wall display in a residential home.

30 bottles of wine on the wall – image courtesy of VintageView

Making wine part of the decor puts the homeowner’s wine collection on display. While such home designs are unique, and memorable, this racking method seen above offers almost no protection for the light- and temperature-sensitive liquid inside the bottles. Such exhibits need to be surrounded in UV-coated, thermal-insulated glass to keep the wine at the right temperature and to banish daylight and other harmful UV rays! But if we made an air-tight and UV-restricted glass bubble around this display, and then connected that to a state of the art wine cellar cooling unit, we would have a beautiful and effective wine cellar.

wine cellar in dining room of upscale home, cottage
60 bottles of wine on the wall – image courtesy of VintageView

The presentation was much more than just a helpful seminar, it was an accredited Continuing Education Unit or what interior designers call a CEU. Set up by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) such life-lessons help home builders and interior decorators stay on top of the market and stay familiar with new materials and techniques despite being away from school. VintageView, in partnership with Rosehill Wine Cellars staged this AIA and IDCEC credited CEU that was officially titled Modern Wine Cellar Design, and that might explain why it was so well attended by so many industry professionals. Just a few minutes after introducing himself, Jacob had to pause while the staff at Cibo set up more chairs for late arrivals.

Jacob Harkins is the nomadic marketing director at VintageView Wine Storage Systems

VintageView believes wine should be admired in functional storage displays that are design centerpieces in the kitchen, dining room or lounge and not hidden away in a dusty cellar downstairs. Their metal wine racks are very sturdy, but still thin enough to allow easy viewing of wine bottles with their labels facing out. This is the company that started the label forward wine rack system and their new modern designs are all innovations on these classic theme. VintageView metal wine racks are available in Black Satin or Platinum (Brushed Nickel) Finish for immediate delivery. Chrome and Black Chrome may have slightly longer lead times.

Interior Designer, Baraa Barazi from Lux Design        attended the CEU from VintageView
Interior designer Barra Barazi from Lux Design attended the CEU from VintageView

Interior designer Barra Barazi from Luz Design attended the show wearing a gorgeous key-lime-pie coloured jacket. Barra enjoyed the show, and he was quoted saying, “…proper wine storage is becoming increasingly important in upscale homes and putting wine in the walls is an exciting new trend.” He liked Jacob’s energy and had faith in his expertise because of the original images and stories he told the audience.

Vintage View Wine Racks catalog
VintageView metal wine racks size, capacity and dimensions.

Good wine deserves to be showcased and VintageView’s innovative wine storage systems put the label forward in home decor.

Testimonial for Rosehill Wine Cellars from a Recent Wine Cellar Installation Client

Testimonial for Rosehill Wine Cellars from a Recent Wine Cellar Installation Client

Now that Christmas / New Year holidays are over and family visitors have left us, I thought I would write you a testimonial about my new wine cellar. Here goes:

Rosehill Wine Cellars is Highly Recommended

walnut glass wine cellar door with lockMy new wine cellar was completed in early December 2018 and I absolutely love it!

Without any hesitation, I recommend Rosehill Wine Cellars Inc. for turnkey design and installation. Why am I giving such a strong recommendation? Here’s why:

1. Design & Quotation: Gary LaRose showed up on time at our home and quickly set to work looking over the area selected for the cellar. He took careful measurements, then re-measured a couple of dimensions again to ensure he was very accurate. He talked through some options for the cooling equipment and racking, as well as cellar design. He then recommended I drop into Rosehill’s showroom to look at some racking choices, materials and finishes, as well as cooling equipment choices. I had already been to the showroom, just before I decided to add Rosehill to my shortlist, but I went back a couple of times to get ideas and make decisions on various items. Rosehill’s west end showroom is well laid out and offers several material choices, colours and racking options, which makes the decision-making a lot easier.

A week later I received very good drawings and a detailed quotation. I had a short list of three contractors for this project and without any question, Rosehill’s drawings and quotation were the most detailed and easiest to understand. They also offered the best use of the space, as my cellar was not that big (7ft x 8ft). After some discussion with all three contractors, I narrowed it down to two and then had detailed discussions with both. After a couple of discussions, it became clear that Gary’s experience and practical approach offered the best value for money and a proven track record with lots of satisfied customers to which he could refer. Rosehill’s design was a little more imaginative than the other two contractors, particularly the diamond shelf below the stone counter. Also, I really wanted a glass door and glass window beside the door so I could see into the cellar and have its ambience add to our beautiful basement recreation area. Gary came up with a very nice design to achieve this objective, but do it in a way that did not weaken what was a support wall for our two storey home.

So I made the decision to go with Rosehill, subject to a satisfactory contract. The contract paperwork was simple, easy to understand and the milestone payments set to work stages completed was fair.

2. Room Preparation – What’s really good about Gary is the communication. When he says his team will arrive on site to work on a certain date and time, they show up and don’t waste time getting to work. The first stage (stripping down the room and preparing it for racking) was done very well. I kept the same tile floor (Gary’s suggestion) to save money, and it looks great with the new cellar. Everything else was re-done, including framing, spray foam for insulation and very precise square joints, door and window framing by Rosehill’s very skilled tradesman, Chris. It’s important to note that Chris was employed by Rosehill and not an independent contractor. The spray foam people were a contractor, but Chris was there to supervise and ensure this task was done as agreed. What was appreciated by us was that every night Chris was tidy up and put away slip covers so that we could continue to use the rest of our basement living area. Also, Chris very carefully covered all nearby furniture and carpeting with plastic to protect it. Even the tile floor in the cellar was covered over to protect it during construction.

3. Problem Solving – When the room was stripped down, we were surprised to find a solid concrete wall on one side of the cellar room that made placing the equipment room just the other side of the wall not possible. Gary quickly arrived to discuss the problem with Chris and myself. They quickly came up with an amended design for the equipment that involved a ceiling mounted cooling unit instead, but with the compressor still outside. This solution turned out to be very good and works well in the cellar.

4. Final Racking Design – Gary and Chris both separately re-measured the finished room for the racking a couple of times. The attention to detail and precision was impressive and appreciated. As a result, Gary came up with a suggestion to tweak the design to improve the look of the cellar in terms of crown molding and overall balance with the window and door frames. At the same time he ensured that the bottle count for the cellar was maximized. I looked over the amended drawing and could quickly see this final amendment to the racking would look much better, so I gave the green light to do it. This started the racking design, which included walnut wood with a bees wax finish — have a look at this in the Rosehill showroom as it’s stunning.

5. Final Racking Installation – Chris returned six weeks later to start installation of the racking. Accompanying Chris was Rosehill’s delivery truck that had all the carefully packaged racking material, including beautiful a beautiful stone counter top I had seen in the Rosehill showroom (“antique leather”). After carefully unloading everything, Chris started to work. His experience and professionalism was evident, as he methodically prepared the installation. Its also important to note that Rosehill has its own carpentry shop next to the showroom that does all the racking and cabinet building and finishing — this ensures that what you get is exactly what was agreed in the drawings. The installation by Chris was done in careful sequence, including getting the two sub-contractors (mechanical cooling equipment and glass window/door) were brought in for measuring and installation at the appropriate times. Again, Chris was always on hand when they were there to ensure that what they did met Rosehill’s requirements and commitments to me.

6. Attention to Detail – There were lots of pleasant surprises when the installation was progressing and completed. Here are a few: (1) Walnut door leading to adjacent cold storage was solid and beautifully crafted. It was fitted perfectly and included a special weather strip built into the bottom of the door that comes down automatically when the door is closed. (2) Chris checked with me on location of ceiling lighting installation, window location and size next to glass door to ensure I was happy with it. (3) Glass window its a double thermal pane for better insulation performance. (4) The walnut wood used for the racking, wooden door to cold storage room, crown and floor molding was well chosen of the highest quality. (5) glass door is solidly hinged to floor and self-closes. (6) crown molding on ceiling, door frames and floor molding is very detailed and installed perfectly. (7) the warranty paperwork for the mechanical cooling equipment was completed and submitted to the manufacturer by Rosehill on my behalf. (8) During the cellar work, for a reasonable extra charge, Gary also did a few add on jobs for us, in addition to the cellar, that were much appreciated: A few odd-shaped kitchen shelves were cut to fit an odd shaped pantry; special door to access water meter and water shut-off valve in basement; some drywall work around the cold storage room furnace ductwork.

7. Anything I didn’t like? – Really there was nothing, mainly because Gary was very upfront about everything (including the timetable), so that my expectations were always met or exceeded. Remember, it does take months not weeks to get a cellar installed properly, so don’t expect it to be wrapped up quickly. Also, it’s done in two stages for very good reason: (a) Completion of the cellar room preparation comes first, then the cellar room is re-measured to ensure the racking, cabinets, door/window frames, crown molding, etc. fit perfectly, it has to be re-measured carefully so everything fits like a glove — and it does. (b) After re-measuring the finished room, then the racking, cabinets etc. was all built in Rosehill’s shop, which took about 6 weeks before they returned for racking installation. Every item in the contract was honoured by Rosehill.

8. Finished Product – We now have a beautiful and very functional 650 bottle wine cellar that we enjoy. Our friends and relatives were very impressed and complimentary when they saw it for the first time over the Christmas holidays. It has added to the value of our house and will give us many years of enjoyment. Our thanks to Gary and his excellent team at Rosehill Wine Cellars.

Best regards

Brian Barr