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.

Shanny in the City Models Masterlift Forklifts in our Wood Shop

Shanny in the City Models Masterlift Forklifts in our Wood Shop

In the last week of September 2018, we were asked by Masterlift Forklifts in Mississauga if we’d allow an artist to come take pictures on the property for their 2019 print calendar.  Because the good people at Masterlift have always been there for us when we needed them, we said yes, and made our facilities available to them that day. To our surprise, they brought an attractive female subject to pose beside the forklift.  The shoot centered around Toronto matchmaker Shannon Tebb, a local influencer with a large social media following.

Shannon Tebb on Masterlift Forklift at Rosehill Wine Cellars

Shanny in the City is downtown Toronto’s foremost authority on dating and relationships. She plans parties for single people in trendy hot spots but really specializes in personal shopping and styling sessions to help boost her clients’ confidence and get them 100% date-ready.  Her Shanny in the City brand is a trusted matchmaking service for busy urban executives, and Shannon herself makes regular appearances on CBC, Global TV and Breakfast Television every year on Valentine’s Day.  Shanny’s blog gets lots of press every time she details new products and services, or new clubs and cafes, or describes how to best use a new dating app on the market.

Although surprised to see such a high profile socialite connected to a Mississauga area forklifts rentals and repair company, we were beyond thrilled to host Shannon Tebb at our nearby facility.  Wine cellars help foster romance and elevate epicurean delights, and so knowing a bit more about the merits of proper wine storage could only help this curious Cupid in her career as an executive life coach.  Our plant manager dropped everything and insisted she get a full tour of our wine cellar design and production facility, and a little taste of our hospitality.  Before the camera people got snapping we invited Shannon into the Rosehill Wine Accessories Showroom and gave her a choice of ANYTHING on display in the store.

Shannon Tebb, Shanny in the City, Rosehill Wine Cellars acessories showroom in Etobicoke

Shannon couldn’t make up her mind. When the agency producers came back to the showroom to collect her for the shoot in the wood shop, she hadn’t even changed into her outfit yet, let alone selected her gift.  But at that point, she did quickly make her choice: she picked the Blossom wine tote bag that fits snugly around a single bottle.

In these photos you can see how bright and sunny our wood shop is, especially when all the staff who would normally be in the background appear to be hiding from the cameras.

When Joel first arrived in the shop he spied the forklift in action, and he liked the way it looked in the sunlight of the open loading dock. He got excited because he wanted to keep the load of wood it currently had on its forklift tines.  The operator didn’t understand. “Let me get it ready for you”, he said, but Joel shook his head ‘no’ and waved him to back the loader out into the parking lot. “It’s perfect just the way it is”.

The shoot lasted about twenty minutes and we could hear the photographer snapping shots every few seconds. He must have taken about two hundred pictures. We’ll be sure and show our readers here any professional shots that get published in the press or are sent to us.

5 Chic Wine Accessories

5 Chic Wine Accessories

Great wine accessories are perfect additions to any party, and Rosehill Wine Cellars has a wonderful array of wine-related accoutrements to choose from. Wine bottle stoppers and pourers, drip rings, and wine thermometers are just a few. Sharing love of wine with fellow oenophiles is entertaining and can be memorable for everyone. The following are among the many wine accessories available at Rosehill.

1 – Wine Glass Cleaning Instruments

Wine glasses are essential components of serving and enjoying wine. They aren’t dishwasher-friendly, however, in that they often don’t fit properly. Wine lovers clean wine glasses with care. Part of the reason is to protect the investment made in the wine. For the discerning wine lover, soap can negatively impact the aroma and taste of wine. The following are the best ways to clean wine glasses:

  • Thoroughly rinse wine glasses with hot water
  • Use a miniscule drop of very mild detergent and rinse with hot water
  • Gently clean with washing soda, such as baking soda

The best way to dry wine glasses is to air-dry them upside down. Rosehill Wine Cellars offers a Wine Glass Rack Tree that holds up to 12 wine glasses as well as other glass cleaning wine  accessories.

2 – Wine Pouring for Large Format Bottles

VCanter wine pouring systems are available from Rosehill Wine Cellars. Various models are designed for particular large format wine bottles. The Methuselah, for example, holds the equivalent of eight standard wine bottles. There is also a Vcanter wine pouring system for the Goliath, a bottle of wine with contents equal to 36 regular wine bottles. These unique decanting cradles for large format wine bottles are made in Switzerland. Custom colour options include silver, copper, and 24k gold plating. Custom engraving is available, as well.

3 – Breathable Wine Glasses

Decanting of wine is accomplished in a variety of ways, such as in beautiful crystal decanters. One very chic approach to decanting is to serve wine glasses that have “Breathable Glass”.  Comparison tests show that the impact of using breathable wine glasses is dramatic when drinking high-quality wines.  For example, young white wines and red wines are typically best with a minimum of 30 minutes of aeration before drinking. With the “Breathable Glass”, you can drink the same wine immediately and fully enjoy the wine’s best characteristics. Rosehill Wine Cellars offers a range of Breathable / Sensis Plus crystal stemware.

4 – Wrap Wine Thermometer

Rosehill offers a Trudeau stainless steel Wrap Wine Thermometer with satin finish that can ensure wine is served at the perfect temperature. An LCD strip on the thermometer measures the temperature of the wine. Liquid crystal thermochromic ink changes to different colours at different temperatures. Around the perimeter, there is a list of various wines and their ideal serving temperatures. The thermometer is simple to use. When the bar lights up to the level you’re looking for, it’s time to serve the wine.

Wine Cellars and wine accessories from Rosehill

Recycled wine barrels are popular wine accessories.

5 – Unique Wine Accessories with Wine Barrels

Recycled wine barrels are popular wine accessories among connoisseurs. 

Although Rosehill Wine Cellars specializes in the construction of wine cellars, many other products enjoyed by wine lovers are also available. This includes wine cellar cooling units, which are important for keeping a wine cellar at the correct temperature for wine storage

3 Advantages Only a Wine Cellar Provides

3 Advantages Only a Wine Cellar Provides

Wine cellars from Rosehill Wine Cellars

Custom wine cellar with tasting niche by Rosehill Wine Cellars.

A wine cellar isn’t just for fine restaurants or the wealthiest among us anymore. Custom wine cellars have become increasingly popular, largely because of the many advantages they provide. True wine lovers understand that there can be remarkable depth to wine. A wine cellar is needed to accommodate wine collecting, since it provides the correct environment in which fine wines can age properly. For wine collectors, there are at least three advantages that only a wine cellar can provide, in addition to proper wine storage conditions.

Encourages Growing Wine Knowledge

As a wine lover, you don’t have to strive to be a renowned wine expert.  You have wine maps and books, and you may travel to wine regions all over he world. Having a wine cellar, however, provides pleasant incentive to become knowledgeable about the many varieties of wine and when they reach their peak. The finest wines are those that reach their peak over a course of years. The more you know, the more likely you are to discover new wines that you can enjoy with your meals and with friends and family.

It actually requires a bit of wine knowledge simply to identify what is communicated on the label of a fine wine. For example, the five common parts of wine labels that are designated by appellation credentials include producer name, region the grapes are from, variety of wine, vintage, and alcohol content. When you have your own custom wine cellar, attaining this type of knowledge makes sense.

Increased Home Value

When you have a beautifully designed wine cellar with custom wine racks in your home, there are certain buyers who will be willing to pay more for your residence, should you ever sell. Home buyers who also happen to be wine lovers are expressly looking for a home with a wine cellar already built in, which gives you a great advantage in the niche market. Even though your initial reason to build a wine cellar is your own love of wine, it’s good to know that you’re increasing your home resale value at the same time.


For wine lovers, enjoying wine is about so much more than choosing the right wine with dinner. A wine cellar provides you with a place to store your collection of fine wines and share it with friends. A wine tasting niche is one of the many popular features of wine cellars, since it provides a cozy space to sample and share your wine.

Wine Connoisseur: White Wine Glasses

Wine Connoisseur: White Wine Glasses

Certain wine glasses are recommended for red wine, white wine, sparkling wine, and dessert wine. See information about red wine glasses in the previous installment in this series. Getting such things right is important because they make a difference in the taste of the wine. As always, wine storage is also of key importance, and that’s why custom wine cellars or wine cabinets are investments that true experts and collectors are compelled to make.

Serving White Wine

Sparkling wine

Using the right type of glass enhances the enjoyment of wine.

The bowl is the component of a white wine glass that can distinguish it from red wine glasses. A white wine glass is shaped more like a “U” because the bowls are slimmer. Don’t fill the glass more than two-thirds of the way. This way, the floral aromas can be released plus the cooler temperature can be maintained. The longer stems on white wines encourage holding onto the stem, so that heat transferred from your body to the wine is minimized.

Serving Sparkling Wine

A glass that’s ideal for serving champagne is easy to identify. It’s tall and narrow and referred to as a “champagne flute.” The flute is ideal for all types of sparkling wine. The shape of the glass helps to retain the flavor, as the carbonation is captured and clings to the sides of the glass. The rim is smaller, which also helps to retain carbonation so that the aroma and bubbliness can be fully enjoyed.

Serving Dessert Wine

Dessert wines come in a wide range of sizes and shapes, including port glasses, sippers, and sherry glasses. A primary characteristic of dessert glasses is that they are compact, for the purpose of accentuating sweet flavors and full-bodied aromas. As the name implies, dessert wine is traditionally served after dinner. It is sweeter and higher in alcohol content than other wines.

Wine Storage–Before Serving

Before you ever select the correct wine glass for serving wine with dinner, hopefully your wine has been properly stored. Custom wine cellars and wine cabinets maintain the temperatures needed to protect the flavor of the wine. Learn about optimal wine serving temperature and allowing wine to breathe in this continuing series on becoming a wine connoisseur.

Wine Connoisseur: Red Wine Glass

Wine Connoisseur: Red Wine Glass

Bordeaux GlassesProperly serving wine is important to any wine connoisseur. No educational degrees are required to earn this title, but a certain level of wine knowledge is necessary. An essential area of expertise that a wine connoisseur should possess is using the best glass for the type of wine being served. You can be confident that whatever wine bottle you pull from your custom wine cellar or wine cabinet, it has been properly stored if it is equipped with a reliable wine cooling unit that provides the right humidity levels, as well. Among the top manufacturers of wine cooling units are Wine Guardian, Koolspace, Breezaire, WhisperKOOL, and CellarCOOL.


Beautiful wine glasses are about more than aesthetics and variety. Certain types of wine can be better enjoyed when served in one type of glass as opposed to another. What stemware is made with is equally important.

In previous times, high quality stemware was made with lead glass because of a higher refraction index and because it’s heavier than everyday glassware. Because of concerns about ingesting lead, lead-free crystal is now the preferred type of wine glass.

In theory, all that’s needed for serving wine within acceptable margins of correctness is to stock your home with one set of wine glasses for red wine, one set for white wine, and a set of Champagne flutes for sparkling wines.

Serving Red Wine

The type of glass you serve wine in does make a difference in the flavor. It should be noted that most wine glasses are designed to be used with a half glass of wine, so that there is room in which to collect aromas.

Red wines are served in wine glasses with larger bowls, for the following reasons:

  • The burn of ethanol is further from the nose.
  • The larger bowl makes it possible to discern more aroma compounds.
  • Ethanol evaporates more effectively on a larger surface area.
  • The wider opening results in a smoother taste of the wine.

Red wines contain tannins, which is a bitter or spicy taste that needs to be mitigated. The higher tannin wines are better enjoyed in a taller glass, half filled.

To Be Continued

Be sure to check back for tips on glasses for white wine and sparkling wine as well as proper serving temperatures. If you are an aspiring wine connoisseur and need proper wine storage for your home, contact us at Rosehill Wine Cellars. We specialize in building custom wine cellars, and we recommend using wine cooling units by some of the top manufacturers, such as Wine Guardian, Koolspace, Breezaire, WhisperKOOL, and CellarCOOL.