Furnishing Your Wine Room, Wine Bar or Tasting Room

Furnishing Your Wine Room, Wine Bar or Tasting Room

Add Classic Decor with Howard Miller Wine Furniture  

For many good reasons, a wine cellar is NOT the best room in your house in which to conduct wine tastings.  It’s just too cold to be comfortable, and too small to be accommodating.  Your wine cellar is probably not furnished with comfy chairs or couches, and so there’s likely nowhere to sit down or relax.  And it’s dark down there, and turning on the lights is not recommended.  These are the most obvious reasons homeowners don’t host wine tastings in wine cellars. With all your eggs in one basket, why put your wine at risk? Human bodies affect temperature and humidity. They change the lighting and make vibrations just by talking loudly and stomping around (looking for a place to sit down) and even worse, strangers have the tendency to touch the bottles.

Rosehall Run’s Wine Room, Photo Credit: Daniel Vaughan, Photo courtesy VisitPEC ca

How is a wine room different than a wine cellar?   

A wine room denotes an area of a modern residential home which is just like any other room, except that wine is stored here in climate-controlled wine cabinets, and possibly there is some furniture for people to sit around and enjoy the wine.  A wine cellar by comparison is a purpose-built dimly lit refrigerated room for aging wine that has no accouterments for human comfort or wine appreciation.

If you do a search on the words ‘wine room’ on Wikipedia, you’ll be directed to their wine cellar page.   That’s because few humans really understand the difference.   At Rosehill Wine Cellars we believe a wine room is very different than a wine cellar.

A wine room denotes an area in a residential home or business where wine is stored in climate-controlled wine cabinets.  Wine rooms themselves are set at comfortable 72 degrees Fahrenheit – room temperature. And the space often is furnished with tables, chairs and couches and the walls decorated with suitable artwork.  Strangers are welcome to sit in the wine room and admire the wine collection that is safe behind glass in wine cabinets and wine refrigerators in that room.  

A wine cellar by contrast is a specially contained area in a home or business that exists behind an exterior quality door. The dark and chilly room is specially designed for long-term storage of wine.  It may have an attractive glass door, but the space inside is likely off-limits to unaccompanied strangers. 

Wine tasting room at Closson Chase winery in Prince Edward County – photo courtesy of Sandbanks Vacations / PEC Wine Tours

What is a Wine Tasting Room?

Wine Tasting Room – photo courtesy of Sandbanks Vacations / PEC Wine Tours

A commercial wine room is often called a wine tasting room and is generally focused around a walk-up bar counter where staff offer guests small samples from a list of products produced by the featured winery (and usually for a fee).  Wine is poured by staff that has been trained in the particulars of that operation’s products and production practices. In most tasting rooms, the proprietors encourage the tasters to keep their glassware which generally has the name of the brand stenciled on the side. Destination marketing is more important than ever for modern wineries targeting tourists and hoping to make a memorable brand association. Instead of promoting just the wine cellar door there’s a need to broaden the offering and this includes upscale tasting room experiences. We can learn from the wine industry as we design comfortable wine tasting rooms in residential houses.

Ideas for Decorating Wine Rooms

Ithaca Pub Table

Generally speaking, the wine collector’s own wine cabinets and wine fridges are the star attractions in the wine room.  The exception to this rule is when the room has a fancy bar or another visual amenity, but in general the wine storage device is the central item on display and arguable the most important thing in the room.

Howard Miller’s beautifully crafted line of spirits and wine furniture offers a variety of styles and sizes of wood wine cabinets including a cleverly designed line of hide-a-bar cabinets. Please note these cabinets are not climate controlled but they are handy for storing amenities like openers, special glassware and wine glass coasters.

Below is the Shiraz Wine Cabinet, by Howard Miller. This is a Hide-A-Bar ™ wine cabinet console with raised door panels allows ample room for wine and spirits. The center console of the cabinet features a lazy-susan style door that spins like a secret panel to reveal additional storage.

Because there are so many styles of wine cabinets available these days, it’s easy to find a unit that matches your design theme. Below is the Howard Miller Walker Bay wine cabinet which is a popular choice because its weathered, ‘driftwood finish’ (its name inspired by the natural yet rustic nature of reclaimed wood) matches lighter coloured walls and looks perfect in cottages and rustic decor themed homes.

This portable, Hide-a-Bar cabinet is finished on all sides and features cane mesh panels on the two front doors, and a veneered flat panel on the back. Four casters allow the homeowner to easily move the piece and place it either against a wall, or in an open setting where it can be accessed from all sides. The cabinet doors have antique bronze handles.

There are Howard Miller wine cabinets with an art deco theme or all-wood construction or stainless steel finishes, but if you’re starting from scratch it might help to start with the best fitting furniture pieces, regardless of style, and then design and match the decor of the rest of the room around that centerpiece wine cabinet.

Two temperatures are sometimes required in wine rooms. One cabinet maybe set warmer for immediate serving temperatures, while another compartment or separate machine may be set for colder temperatures to better accommodate long term wine storage requirements.

Wine Glass Racks and Wine Glass Caddies for Wine Tasting Rooms

chic wine accessories for oenophiles
Crystal wine decanters for sale at Rosehill Wine Cellars showroom in Mississauga

In a wine cellar we talk about wine racks for bottles, but in a wine room we look for racks for glassware. Wine glass racks should accommodate at least three different styles of wine glasses, but we have laid out four different categories below.

The wine glasses in your wine room are very important. If you stock and serve red wine in your tasting room, you may consider buying premium glassware to help set the proper tone at these special occasions.

Zalto Stemware is made to very high standards in a boutique glassblowing factory in Austria, and because of its fine lines and the company’s attention to detail, the brand is widely praised in Europe by wine professionals and journalists. Glassware matters: Some researchers believe as much as eighty percent of what we taste happens in our nose, not on our tongues.  If your guests can’t smell the wine they’re drinking, then they’ll not be able to properly taste it. So your wine glasses need to be the right shape to accommodate the bouquet that comes in every bottle.

Four Types of Glassware in the Wine Room

Four styles of glassware best suit the different types of wine served at tastings

Red Wine Glasses
Red wine glasses are easily identified by their spherical bowl shape. They are often the largest type of wine glass because the larger bowl enhances the bouquet and flavor of red wines.

White Wine Glasses
White wine glassware has a slightly longer stem, more upright, with a smaller more U-shaped bowl as white wines do not need to be aerated as much as red.

Sparkling Wine Glass (Flute)
Sparkling wine glassware is commonly referred to as “flutes” or “champagne flutes”. This type of wine glass is typically used for all sparkling wine and not just champagne. With its long stem, the flute is tall and narrow. This design is necessary as the extra surface area within the glass helps capture the carbonation and retain the flavor.

Dessert Wine Glass
Dessert wine glasses are smaller than other types of wine glasses. Common glasses for dessert wines are sippers, port glasses and sherry glasses. The main characteristics that these wine glasses have in common is their small, compact shape that will help accentuate their rich aromas and sweet flavors.

Wine Room Furniture Improves Tastings

George Nelson – Howard Miller clocks are still made today in the classic themes and styles he presented in the late 1960s and 1970s

Depending on your lifestyle, your wine room can be a highly social environment with a custom bar and stools, or tables and chairs, or it can be more intimate; two armchairs by a fireplace works equally well as the perfect setting for pouring and tasting fine wine. Whatever the case, you need to make sure it has style.

Howard Miller, the famed American clock-making company has also manufactured high quality furniture for wine rooms since the mid nineteen seventies; they make wooden cabinets, and tables and chairs that are iconic and have over the last forty years come to signify the quintessential style of a classic American wine rooms.

Howard Miller – Niagara Games Table is a classic hexagon shaped Pub & Game Table that has a durable clear coat for wear protection. There’s a non- refrigerated cabinet in the base of the sturdy table. Its hexagon shaped top comfortably accommodates six people and features six full-extension drawers. Each drawer holds beverages and snacks and includes a removable sandstone drink coaster to absorb moisture. The reversible top features cherry veneers in a sunburst pattern on the dining surface side and a Texas Hold ‘Em pattern on the lounge side. Below are the chairs that could be matched with the table (the Niagara Club Chair in the center is the match to the Niagara Games Table above). All photos of Howard Miller furniture have been used courtesy of Howard Miller USA.

Howard Miller – Ithica, Niagara and Bonavista Club Chairs

Barware, corkscrews, glass decanters and other accessories

Classic Gold colored Pulltaps corkscrew for restaurant and bar professionals.
Classic Gold Pulltaps corkscrew

Widely used by restaurant and bar professionals, the Classic Gold colored Pulltaps corkscrew is made with a double lever design. This design feature allows any bottle of wine to be uncorked in two steps without damaging or breaking the corks.

Proper Lighting, Lamps and Sconces

Unlike the cellar where the overhead lighting is subdued to protect the collection, a wine room in a residential home can have wide open windows and bright lights, but often just the opposite is true. Wine tasting rooms set the mood with stone fireplaces, artwork, bookshelves and proper furniture.

Forgotten Furnishings in Wine Tasting Rooms

Silver wine spittoons for upscale wine tasting events at home.

Silver spittoons scale-up sophistication in wine tastings

Every tasting room needs a proper spittoon for people who wish only to taste the wine, and not consume so much they become inebriated. The best spittoons are made of silver which forgives everyone involved because of it’s semi-precious composition, history and tradition.

Rosehill Wine Cellars retails Oenosablier spittoons, each laser signed L'Oenosablier. The hourglass-shaped wine spittoon is not a wine spitting bucket.

Rosehill Wine Cellars distributes authentic Oenosablier spittoons, each of which is laser signed L’Oenosablier as a mark of authenticity and to signify that this sturdy hourglass-shaped wine spittoon and not simply a wine spitting bucket. It’s L’Oenosablier.

The spittoon is designed for wine professionals and connoisseurs and is available in three styles.
Because of its universally recognized classic style, the Oenosablier wine spittoon easily and quickly transforms an ordinary meeting into a professional tasting event.



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