Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Does it matter what kind of material is used to build wine shelves? I was thinking about using some repurposed metal shelves from a post office ….
—Marilyn, Paducah, Ky.
There are a lot of options for wine shelves, at different prices, with different aesthetics. Wood is common, particularly cedar, redwood and mahogany—not just because they look nice, but because they can both tolerate and help stabilize changes in humidity and can also soften the impact of vibrations more than some more rigid materials. Check out our Wine Storage Basics for more on proper cellaring.
Metal shelves are fine to use. They will, however, conduct cool or warm temperatures more rapidly than other surfaces. I should warn you, though, from personal experience, that it’s easy to accidentally tear the wine labels if the metal shelves have any sharp or rough edges.