Universal racking is designed for wine cellars to accommodate most wine bottles, including not only Bordeaux bottles but also Burgundy and many Champagne bottles.
Most wine cellar manufacturers offer standard wine racking that is 3 1/4″ or 3 3/8″ wide in their wine cabinets. The problem is that standard wine racks fit Bordeaux wine bottles just fine, but larger bottles like Burgundy, Champagne and Pinots won’t fit in these standard racks.
Why would wine cabinet manufacturers ever make standard wine racks in the first place? Because they believe that consumers want to get the highest possible bottle capacity inside their wine cellars. In reality, these bottle capacity numbers are misleading given that many bottles can’t be racked in the wine cabinet.
Before purchasing a wine cabinet, find out whether the racks come with standard or Universal racking, and whether the Universal racking will be offered in SOME or ALL of the rows and columns in the rack. You shouldn’t pay extra for the “privilege” of having Universal racking — in fact, less wood is required to build them, so there’s no good reason for Universal racks to cost more.
For more information, please see our wine cellar shopping guide.