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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
What I learned while hosting a blind tasting (wine taste challenge) with foodies.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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 exhaust. If 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 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.
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.
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.
Welcome to Rosehill Wine Cellar’s blog where we share our creativity and offer insights into the best practices for storing fine wines. Our blog details how recent scientific advancements meet old world traditions in the wine cellars we design and build. We display our installations and reveal our inspirations as we extol innovation across the entire industry. Our original photos and authentic stories celebrate good wine cellar designs and wherever possible we showcase the work of our experts and their efforts to further the art and science of proper wine storage.