Or, “Wordie Does Crafts, Glues Herself To Her Desk”.
When last we left, I was about to tell you about how I made the little signs I used in the wine cellar. But before I get into that, I should let you know that while I was busy sorting and labeling and charting wine for a solid week, Mama was pounding little dowels into holes on bigger pieces of wood in order to add some rows to the wine racks that we already had. To eliminate the tiny little rack we had at the far wall and also be able to bring those bottles perched on top of each other down into the racks. We have always used these racks, and have had success with them. (This is technically our third wine cellar, but the second one we have built from the walls out.) I’m sad to report that they are not a part of the Happy Organized Home sale. But get them anyway because they’re simple to put together, and you get a nice workout while pounding, and it has a rustic homey look.
Important Pro Safety Tip: When you are storing wine on a wall, unless you are storing a tiny amount (like 12 bottles), you want to anchor your racks to the wall. Use common wall brackets you can find at Home Depot (I’m guessing they are hardened aluminum? I forget the technical term for them. Whatever, don’t use plastic.) and get a stud finder while you are there. Because you want to anchor the rack into a stud. One, it’s just really fun to say “stud” that many times. And two, the average case of wine weighs 46 pounds (trust me, I know). Get more than 12 of those on a wall, and misalign the bracket so it doesn’t go into the stud, and your drywall is going to suffer. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and with your security deposit.
Important Wine Storage Tip: If you currently store your wine on top of your refrigerator, even if it is in a fancy rack, please stop reading right now, and go move it to somewhere else. I’ll wait. Wine needs dark, cool, and STILL environs. On top of the average fridge is light (the kitchen lights are always on), hot (because it’s an electrical appliance), and it vibrates.
Okay, so more rows added, and a shelf added to keep special bottles and our water storage and our large formats. After that, I reloaded the wine and then considered how to label the sections so that we could find things. And since cellar composition is going to change, I thought a chalkboard might be nice. And then I remembered either seeing or dreaming about some wedding place card holders being made from little chalkboards and glued onto clothespins. Which would work perfectly on the little dowels.
So I went looking for them. And I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear that our town doesn’t have anything like that for sale. So I googled them, and found some for sale, but they looked cheap. And then I found this little tutorial. Bingo. Her instructions worked like a charm.
Make sure you cover your work area with scrap paper, and then paint. I wound up using three coats of paint, and they turned out nicely. I let mine dry 24+ hours between each coat.
And then, like her, I used something called “Washi Tape” to cover the back of the little slates. I had never seen this stuff before, but I went a little nuts at the variety of fun ones (TOILE!!!!). And then I forgot to take pictures of them after that. But after I taped the backs, I used “Modge Podge” (who names these things????) to seal them, and then glued the clothespins on using wood glue. And a couple of them didn’t stick so well, so I went back and redid those with super glue. Which is how I ended up accidentally gluing myself to my desk. The upshot to that was I have never been so productive as that day. After that, I used “liquid chalk” to write the names of the varietals on the chalkboards.
(Side note: What else can I do with Washi tape? I’ve got plenty of leftovers.)
And after that, it was simply a matter of putting the finishing touches on the cellar, and now it looks like this:
(See, more racks.)
And then our temporary solution to storing our sweet wines (usually those come in skinny bottles that slip through traditional wine racks) is:
(Also where we store those jugs of water, and our beer.)
If you noticed, there is now a styrofoam wine shipper laying around on the far wall where the tiny rack used to be. Which is ugly and will be why our cellar will never win beauty pageants (but she’ll always win Miss Congeniality, because she knows how to throw a party…). Those are our VGS Syrah bottles and they are approximately one centimeter too big to fit in the rack. Don’t worry, I express my disappointment in these weirdly-shaped bottles every time I talk with them. (Which lately has been a lot. And I’m not sure that says anything good about me.) Anyway, our neighbor is a woodworker, and she expressed an interest in possibly doing a bit of a custom-fit rack for our sweet wines and the weirdly-shaped bottles and our large format wines. Fingers crossed.
And that, y’all, is our wine room. A labor of love, for sure, but I think Daddy would be pleased with the obsessive attention to detail I have on his wine now. (Which I will admit, is my big guilt area. When we open a bottle that he bought, which those still account for the vast majority of our cellar, I think about us enjoying it without him. And what he intended it for when he bought it. And did he get to taste that vintage? Life does go on, and we will celebrate that with glad hearts. But a near-daily ritual that is a large part of my world is still quite bittersweet right now. And sometimes I don’t know what I feel about that.)