Why Your Wine Refrigerator Shelves Matter

Mar 9, 2023

How many bottles can actually fit in your wine refrigerator? The style and construction of your shelves makes a huge difference in how many and which bottle styles will fit into your wine refrigerator. We all want to maximize our wine storage so, when you’re selecting your wine refrigerator, you’ll need to consider a few key factors about your shelves. 


Shelf Material 

The construction of your shelf is essential for supporting your wine collection and maximizing the capacity each shelf can hold. Shelf material and construction varies widely among brands and is dependent on what is suitable for the wine refrigerator. We personally think this is one of the most important aspects to consider when choosing a wine refrigerator. 

  • Wooden - Found very commonly in many wine refrigerators, wooden shelves look very rustic and classic. Wooden shelves are lightweight and offer a strong base for the bottles to rest upon but they are not flexible, limiting the number of bottles that can fit on one shelf. Also, a wooden shelf is not as strong as metal, which can limit your bottle capacity per shelf. However, wooden shelves will allow you to often stack multiple bottles on a shelf. 

  • Metal Wire - Metal wire shelves are lightweight and are fairly sturdy but they aren’t designed to hold many bottles or a lot of weight. They can be chapped to cradle the bottle shape, which may limit the number and type of bottles you can store on one shelf. Additionally, they are often not designed for bottles to be stacked. 

  • Metal Shelves - You may occasionally find solid metal shelves, which are sturdy and more robust. These can hold more weight without warping the shelf. They’re often a large flat shelf that allows you to stack multiple bottles. 

  • Wood-Metal Hybrid - Occasionally, you will find shelving that is a mixture of wood and metal for the purposes of aesthetics but also functionality. You can often find wooden shelves with metal capped ends that offer a modern classic look but also provide support for the bottles as you pull out the shelves. Vise versa, you can find metal shelves with wooden end caps, which offer a different look, while providing support for your wine bottles. There are also unique designs using both to create a structural unique and sturdy design. 


Bottle Orientation 

Bottle orientation is important because when a bottle is lying down, the cork stays moist preventing the corck from shrinking and allowing air into the bottle, which will oxidize and damage your aging wine. Pretty much all wine refrigerator shelves are intended for the wines to lie down but the orientation may differ and will mostly affect your access to your collection and how it is being displayed. 

  • Vertical - A vertical orientation where the bottles are lying down upright allows you to easily see each label. Even when stacked, you can easily access and view each bottle. This orientation also displays the bottles beautifully for your guests to see. You also don’t need to pull the shelf all the way out to access every bottle on the shelf.

  • Horizontal - A horizontal orientation allows you to display the whole bottle through a wine refrigerator with a glass door. While this orientation allows you to fully see the label of each bottle, you will need to pull out the shelf all the way to access bottles in the back. 


Space Between Shelves 

When you’re selecting a wine refrigerator, you will want to consider if your shelves allow you to stack bottles and how much space there is between your shelves or if your shelves are adjustable. The space between your shelves will vary depending on your wine refrigerator and the ability to stack your bottles will depend on the construction of your shelves. 


Shelf Style

The shelf style can affect the capacity of each shelf and help reduce movement and vibrations that can be damaging to aging wines. There are a variety of ways a shelf can be constructed but the two main styles are flat or cradling shelves. 

  • Flat Shelves - Flat shelves are completely even all the way across and allow bottles to lie down touching each other. This can be helpful for fitting a lot of identical bottles next to each other and different sized bottles; however, if the bottles aren’t touching, there will be a fair amount of movement with the bottles rolling around on the flat shelf. This will also happen when you pull the shelf out, which can cause your tannins to be disturbed and your wine’s delicate aging process to be halted. If there is space between the bottles of a flat shelf, vibrations from the environment and wine refrigerator can affect the aging process of your wines. 

  • Cradling Shelves - Cradling shelves have a curve to them that cradles the bottle, preventing bottles from touching one another and reduces movement of the bottle. Depending on how curved the shelves are, they may limit the number of bottles that can be stored on a shelf. Also, depending on the curved design, it may limit the bottle size and shapes that will fit on the shelf. The cradling shelf capacity is greatly affected by the construction and material of the shelves. For example, a metal wire crading shelf will mostly likely hold less bottles and bottles will not stack on a shelf. 


The Perfect Shelf?

We don’t want to be shelf-ish, so we designed the Allavino FlexCount shelves to contain all our favorite components. What makes these shelves the perfect shelves? Well, to start, they were designed with the dedicated wine connoisseur in mind, so every component is designed to maximize your capacity and protect your aging wines. Here are the shelf components that we think are essential for the perfect wine refrigerator. 

  • Easy Gliding Rails - While most refrigerator shelves have gliding rails, these rails are designed with the smoothest gliding technology. These rails don’t get caught even with uneven weight placed on the shelf or a lot of weight on the shelf. This ensures that there will minimal movement when accessing your wine collection.

  • Stackable Shelf Space - To maximize your capacity, we have designed our shelves to have room to stack bottles. Due to the sturdy and unique construction, the shelves can support the weight of stacked bottles. 

  • Vertical Bottle Orientation - To further maximize capacity, the bottles are placed vertically with the necks facing in the center of the shelf, which is the most optimal position to store multiple bottles on one shelf. This also allows you to store a variety of bottle shapes and sizes without interfering with the capacity. The vertical orientation also allows you to easily read the labels for each bottle and allows you to access all the bottles simultaneously without pulling the shelf all the way out. 

  • Unique Wood-Metal Hybrid Design - The base of these unique shelves is a durable metal that won’t warp with the weight of the bottles being stacked on top. On top of the metal base are perfectly carved wooden cradles that hug bottles of various sizes and shapes, minimizing movement and maximizing capacity. These wooden cradles also minimize vibrations that can damage aging wines and prevent bottles from bumping into each other or rolling around. 

Need help choosing a wine refrigerator? Learn about the difference between single zone and dual zone wine refrigerators here.

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