Is it OK to use cedar for my wine cellar?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Is it OK to use cedar for the walls of my wine cellar?

—Sam, Syosset, N.Y.

Dear Sam,

There are a lot of wood options (and price tags) for wine cellar racks—walnut, alder, redwood, mahogany, maple and oak are all common, among others. Most important for the wine rack wood is that it be sturdy and not prone to mold or mildew. Cedar isn’t usually chosen for the racking, because it’s on the softer side, but it’s fine for your cellar walls.

Of course, cedar has a very distinct aroma. In a small place without circulation like a closet, that smell can become quite concentrated, but I’m guessing your cellar will have a cooling system that keeps the air flowing. There still might be an ambient cedar aroma, and that smell could possibly get absorbed by the wine labels eventually, but there’s no evidence that ambient odors can taint the wine within a sealed bottle. As a bonus, there shouldn’t be any moths in your cellar! Check out our wine storage essentials for more to consider when building wine cellar.

—Dr. Vinny

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