I Tested 10 Wine Racks to Find the Best Ones and My Winner Is Super Versatile

The best wine racks have spacious openings in each niche and wide sturdy bases and are easy to assemble. We tested 10 and found three winners.

A variety of wine racks displayed on top of a record player
Serious Eats / Meghan Splawn

My house came with a built-in bar with closed storage for liquor and wine bottles. After a few years of tightly packing the cabinet with basics, I realized we desperately needed a wine rack. It was easy to know that we had vodka, tequila, and whiskey on hand, but bottles of Pinot and Syrah were getting lost in the back of the cabinet—or worse, going bad from improper storage. 

A search for the best wine rack began with a few questions about our wine collection and how much space we had. After sourcing some of the most recommended wine storage options, I brought home 10 racks of different sizes, materials, and capacities. Armed with our modest wine collection, I put the wine racks to the test. Some fit perfectly into the bar space; I  tested others in the fridge, on a wall, or free-standing in the dining area of our home. After several weeks of living with and using the wine racks, I found three of the best ones for storing bottles for everyday occasions as well as collecting. 

The Winners, at a Glance

Made in Vermont from solid ash wood, the J.K. Adams 12-Bottle Wine Rack can be configured for many spaces. The modular system comes together without tools and can grow along with your collection. Plus, it fits equally well in a cabinet or on a countertop.

The Williams Sonoma Walnut Wine Rack has a classic design and can sit on the floor or countertop. While it is quite long, it does have a low profile. As with my top pick, you can add another unit on top of or beside it as your wine collection grows. Made from walnut-finished pine, it is also easy to dust without removing the bottles.

Looking for a starter wine rack or a gift for newlyweds? The Crate & Barrel 11-Bottle Gold Wine Rack is practical and gorgeous. You can use this 11-bottle wine horizontally or vertically, making it suitable for both small and large spaces.  

The Tests

Three wine racks sitting on top of a cabinet.
After assembling wine racks, we tested their most important quality: usability!.Serious Eats / Meghan Splawn
  • Assembly Test: I read through the instructions for each wine rack. After gathering supplies, I built the racks to determine how easy it was to put each of them together and how long assembly took. This test helped me to decide which materials were ideal and to evaluate the sturdiness of the racks. 
  • Filling Test: Armed with 10 bottles of different shapes and sizes, I tested the capacity of each rack to determine how many standard bottles it could accommodate, as well as its ability to hold 1.5-liter and curved Prosecco bottles. This test also helped me assess each rack’s stability. 
  • Removing and Rearranging Test: Removing and reorganizing some of the bottles on each rack gave me clear insight into ease of use. (For example, could labels be clearly read? Did all bottle types fit in each niche?). It also showed weak points in stability. 

What We Learned

The Most Stable Racks Were Also the Easiest to Assemble

Three wine racks sitting on top of a cabinet.
The three winning wine racks were easy to assemble, and were sturdy with or without a full wine collection.Serious Eats / Meghan Splawn

The racks that were the hardest to put together were also some of the least stable. For example, the Wine Racks America Tabletop Wine Rack had confusing directions and took the longest to assemble (over 22 minutes). It ended up being the least steady during filling and reorganizing. By comparison, the winning wine rack from J.K. Adams had just as many parts, but it took only a few minutes to assemble and required no tools (and no swearing). 

Customizable Racks Were Ideal for Growing Collections

Your collection of bottles is sure to change from year to year. You may buy a case of wine on a special trip and savor it, or you might have a busy holiday season of drinking and gifting from your cache. Having a wine rack that can expand or shrink with your collection—like the J.K. Adams—is ideal. 

Niche Size Was as Important as Overall Capacity 

A wooden wine rack that's too small to fit a bottle of wine.
Wide bottles of wine didn't fit in every rack we testedâ€a bummer for fans of sparkling wine and larger-format bottles.Serious Eats / Meghan Splawn

While I spent a lot of time considering the footprint of each wine rack to be sure it could fit in a home bar or dining room, I was surprised by how much the niches of each wine rack impacted actual capacity. This could be a cause for concern if your wine collection includes magnums or curved bottles (like those that hold Prosecco or Champagne). The average 3.75-inch opening won’t hold those bottles, especially if the niche is closed on all four sides. All three of my winning wine racks can accommodate more than just standard-size bottles. 

Larger Wine Racks Weren’t Necessarily More Stable 

Surprisingly, most of the larger-capacity wine racks were less stable, even with more bottles loaded into them. The winning exception, the JK Adams 12-Bottle Wine Rack, has a wider, horizontal base that helps keep it steady while you load and unload. 

The Criteria: What to Look for in a Wine Rack 

A wooden wine rack filled with bottles.
Serious Eats / Meghan Splawn

When looking for a wine rack, consider your wine collection and storage space. If you keep just a few bottles on hand and have a small area, your wine rack needs will be different than a collector who might consider using a basement closet as a wine cellar. 

However, all wine racks should store bottles on their sides to keep the corks wet and prevent premature aging of the wine. While niche size is important—look for at least 3.75 inches in each opening for ease of loading and label legibility—ground clearance is also a factor for keeping bottles fresh. Racks that sit directly on the floor are more likely to experience temperature fluctuations that impact the wine's quality. Wine experts suggest at least a two-inch clearance if the rack will sit directly on the floor. 

Lastly, consider materials. Metal and finished woods are easiest to dust if you’ll be pulling from your collection infrequently. Unfinished wood can be painted, stained, or oiled to help maintain it, but it can be difficult to dust over time. 

Our Favorite Wine Racks

What we liked: One of the easiest racks to put together, the J.K. Adams 12-Bottle Wine Rack provided the most flexibility for growing your wine collection. It's lightweight and sturdy. The wide niches and open-top design accommodated standard, curved, and magnum bottles with ease. You can assemble this rack to fit tall, narrow spaces like cabinets, or build it short and long to fit across the expanse of a bar. 

What we didn’t like: The J.K. Adams doesn’t win any aesthetic awards with its Lincoln Log-like appearance, but because it’s plain wood it could be stained or painted to match your decor. 

Key Specs

  • Bottle capacity: 12 
  • Style: Freestanding
  • Niche size: 4.25 inches 
  • Materials: Ash wood 
  • Dimensions: 11.25 x 12.5 x 3 inches when built as a 4x4 grid 
J.K. Adams 12-bottle Wine Rack
Serious Eats / Meghan Splawn

What we liked: This large-capacity wine rack doesn’t come with instructions because it is so simple to build. The wide base made the rack incredibly sturdy even when fully loaded. The walnut-finished wood was easy to wipe down when dusty. You can buy multiples of this rack as your wine collection grows, stacking them on top of each other, up to three racks high.

What we didn’t like: The pieces of the rack interlock with each other. While the rack is very stable once set, you have to disassemble the pieces to move the rack. You need floor space or a wide counter to use this rack. 

Key Specs

  • Bottle capacity: 18 
  • Style: Freestanding; can be used on a floor or counter
  • Niche size: Open with 4-inch clearance between racks 
  • Materials: Walnut-finished pine 
  • Dimensions: 11.5 x 35.75 x 11 inches
Williams Sonoma Walnut Wine Rack
Serious Eats / Meghan Splawn

What we liked: Gorgeous and versatile, this wine rack was a winner in the looks department, thanks to its hexagonal niches and simple minimalist design. It comes in both a gold and a graphite finish on an iron base, and you can use it horizontally or vertically. The niches were wide enough to accommodate standard or curved bottles. 

What we didn’t like: This rack can only accommodate magnum bottles when used horizontally. When oriented vertically, it was a little unsteady if bottles weren’t distributed evenly. 

Key Specs

  • Bottle capacity: 11, with an open design that can hold three additional bottles when used horizontally  
  • Style: Freestanding—ideal for a countertop 
  • Niche size: 4.5 inches 
  • Materials: Gold- or graphite-finished iron 
  • Dimensions: 17.25 x 6 x 11.75 inches
Crate & Barrel 11-Bottle Gold Wine Rack
Serious Eats / Meghan Splawn

The Competition

  • Homevany Bamboo Wine Rack: A near winner, this rack wasn’t difficult to assemble, had great capacity, and was easy to clean. Ultimately, it wasn’t a top pick because it has a fixed design that can’t grow with your wine collection or be reconfigured for other spaces. 
  • Sorbus Wall Mounted Wine Rack: This rack was well designed and sturdy once secured to the wall, but it requires an expansive wall to hang. It also has limited capacity. 
  • PAG Arched Freestanding Floor Metal Wine Rack: This is the style of rack I imagine when someone says “wine rack,” but its tall, narrow design was a little unsteady when fully loaded, and it only held standard-sized bottles. 
  • Vino 8 Bottle Oak Wine Rack: I loved the design of this rack but it had a small capacity and only held standard-size bottles. 
  • Epicurean Matte Black Collapsible Wine Rack: This was one funky wine rack! It packs flat and has a smart design that doesn’t require any tools to assemble. It didn’t make the list of winners because of its small capacity (it held just five bottles) and some flexing during loading and unloading. 
  • Wine Racks America Tabletop Wine Rack: The most difficult rack to assemble, this one cracked when I was putting the final screw in place. The closed design and small niches meant this wine rack could only hold standard-size bottles. 
  • mDesign Stackable Refrigerator Wine Rack: The search for a fridge rack continues, as this rack didn’t hold bottles of bubbly very well—which is especially disappointing given that is most of what it would hold in many homes. 

FAQs 

How many bottles can a wine rack hold? 

I polled neighbors and other food writers, and it seems that most homes need to store eight to 12 bottles at a time. More serious wine collectors need a rack with a capacity of 18 to 24 bottles. Each of the winning models holds at least 12 bottles. 

Why should you store wine bottles on their sides?

Storing wine bottles on their sides means the wine can touch the cork and keep it moist. A dry cork can cause the wine to age prematurely—an important consideration if you plan on storing wine for a long time. 

Is a wine fridge better than a wine rack?

Wine fridges are ideal for collectors or wine connoisseurs who like to keep certain vintages or varieties chilled. Fridges also require electricity and more floor space, so ultimately the answer to this question depends on your wine preferences and home size. Wine racks work well for most homes in which bottles will be consumed within a year. 

Why We’re the Experts

  • Meghan Splawn is a freelance food writer and recipe developer who has worked in food media since 2006. 
  • Her work includes 10 years in the test kitchen with Alton Brown, as well as at sites like Simply Recipes, TheKitchn.com, and Serious Eats. 
  • For this story, she spent two weeks testing wine racks in her home, which includes two kids and a big, clumsy dog running past the racks daily. 

How a Grocery Cart Has Forever Changed How I Shop (for the Better)

This is the best cart for groceries, according to a professional recipe developer.

Clax Buggy Love letter
Serious Eats / Alli Waataja

Even as someone who grocery shops at a professional level (as a recipe developer and mom of two), I never considered owning a grocery cart—almost every store has them readily available. But when a food stylist friend showed off her Clax Trolley on TikTok, I immediately bought it. I assumed I’d mostly use it for the occasional on-location recipe shoot, but I find myself keeping my Clax Trolley in my car at all times; it gets unfolded and loaded all the time for regular grocery shopping and much more. I pull it out for the farmer’s market, for bulky Costco runs, and for grabbing plants and soil at the nursery. I once even used it for getting bulky winter blankets to and from the laundromat.

What Is the Clax Trolley? 

Clax Trolley bills itself as “a collapsible cart designed for a sustainable and functional lifestyle.” Created by the German Clax company, the cart was engineered as a tool for transporting goods through large, walkable cities. While Clax prides itself on versatility and “sturdy aluminum and Polypropylene-Copolymer construction,” the company’s ultimate goal is reducing its consumer’s carbon footprint by reducing the use of plastic bags and making shopping a task that doesn’t require a car. 

It has two platform trays that can each hold one of Clax’s collapsible crates. (Only one crate is included with the cart, but additional Clax crates are available for purchase.) The lower tray can hold up to 88 pounds, making it perfect for large bags of flour and sugar or garden soil. The upper tray can accommodate a fully loaded crate (up to 44 pounds). It has a bungee cord locking system for holding the crate or large bulky items in place. If you need to move tall houseplants or long-handled paint supplies, the top tray even folds back to create an L-shaped cart with unlimited overhead room. 

Rolling the cart around is a breeze even in tight places (looking at you, Target grocery aisles). It has two larger back wheels which makes it rugged and sturdy on gravel walkways like at the farmer’s market or the garden center. The wheels can be detached to make the folded cart even slimmer for storage—though I’ve never bothered. 

Folding and unfolding the cart requires just the push of a button and one arm (great if you have a toddler on your hip). Even with the crate the Clax Trolley weighs under 20 pounds, and it's easy to lift into my trunk. The folded footprint of the cart is similar to a collapsed beach chair (about 22 x 28 inches) and, because it lays flat, you can stack other items on top of it. 

How the Clax Trolley Has Changed My Grocery Shopping

The folded up Clax cart in the trunk of a car.
Serious Eats / Meghan Splawn

The ability to skip bagging completely is one of my favorite features of the Clax Trolley; I can unload my groceries onto the checkout belt and reload them back into the Clax crate, remove the crate to transport it in my truck (folded cart beside it) and then trolley or carry the crate into my house. I love the crate so much that I bought a second one for the bottom tray. 

I truly underestimated how much I’d love having a personal cart in general. On a particularly busy Sunday morning, I heard two other shoppers “oh” and “ah” over the Clax as I passed the empty cart stall inside the store. As a bonus, I don’t have to worry about sanitizing cart handles during cold and flu season. 

I live in the suburbs now, but I wish I had the Clax Trolley when I resided in a more walkable city; it would have been ideal for walking to get groceries or going to the laundromat. For now, I’ll enjoy the simple ease of keeping it at the ready in my car's trunk.

FAQs 

What size is the Clax Trolley? 

The unfolded Clax Trolley is 22 inches wide and 40 inches tall. Folded with the wheels in place it measures 22 x 28 x 7 inches. Detaching the wheels will save you four inches in width and height. 

Where is the Clax Trolley made? 

The Clax Trolley is made in Germany from “sturdy aluminum and Polypropylene-Copolymer construction.”

Does the Clax fit in the trunk of a car? 

It fits well in SUV, compact, and wagon-style car trunks. I have not tested the Clax Trolley in the trunk of something much smaller, like a Fiat. 

Why We’re the Experts

  • Meghan Splawn is a freelance food writer and recipe developer who has worked in food media since 2006. 
  • Her work includes 10 years in the test kitchen with Alton Brown as well as sites like Simply Recipes, TheKitchn.com, and Serious Eats.