Former Aero Space Procurement Specialist Steve Marcus brings a patented tubing process to his wine racking process that makes him the preferred vendor for demanding restaurant owners, chefs, and home gourmet enthusiasts throughout the country. If you happen to be dining in the French Laundry, Bouchon, Per Se, Charlie Palmer’s Kitchen, and more recently the exclusive wine library in Sonoma County’s acclaimed Clos du Bois, you’ll see his signature racks holding up prized bottles everywhere. Many of the wine storage rooms in Las Vegas’ hotels choose these wine rack systems, including the Aria Hotel, which installed a 72,000 bottle storage capacity. But you don’t have to be in the high volume business to install his system. Go to, and go to the gallery, and see some of the beautiful high estates he has captured on film for you to see. Not displayed are the personal homes of chefs such as Charlie Palmer and Thomas Keller that also have installed a much smaller and personal wine cellar for their own use, utilizing the system of Wine Racks by Marcus.

Wine Rack at Clos Du Bois


Easy to talk to, here is our interview:

Steve, How did you Get Into the Business?

A wine enthusiast friend of mine, (Steve Greenburg) decided to start a wine storage system, so I helped him with some amateurish carpentry.

What is your Approach to Design?

Utility. I can’t emphasize that word enough. It’s got to be something that does the job and that works well. I spent 15 years in the aero space business, and was a very fancy buyer for rocket space stuff. My last purchase was a 25 rocket engine for the delta2 launch vehicle.

What should a Consumer look for in a Good Wine Rack?

Primarily – again – utility. It has to work. If it’s pretty and it doesn’t work, it ain’t no good. A good example, there’s a restaurant in Las Vegas in a big hotel. There is a 3 star chef, – my 50 rack wine cellar is two stories down. Upstairs at the entrance, there is a display of a pre existing wine rack made out of quarter inch steel or aluminum. It’s beautiful, with a coat of black and gray crackle paint. Only one problem. It doesn’t work. If you are not careful, the wine bottle will drop through and fall down.

Here’s another example. In Berkeley at Chez Panisse, there is a rack where the bottle fits in tightly. Part of the rack is covered with paper because the edges of the metal are made out of sharp steel. Stick your hand in, peel off a layer of skin.

What is your Favorite Wine Rack Project that You Did?

One recent project for a home, was black anodized rack in an all black wine cellar. It’s one of my favorites because it had high style, and function. It was not my largest project, it was my favorite.

I do have a couple of other favorites, though.

When they reopened the Renaissance Towers in Detroit, the restaurant was on the 72nd floor. Everything had to get into the freight elevator or it doesn’t go up. It was a logistical issue, requiring extreme attention to detail. So master sommelier Madeline Triffon queried four other sommeliers for recommendations, and two of them recommended me. I made the racks in a very timely fashion and the broken down racks fit in the elevator to be assembled on the 72nd floor. It was visible to the eye in the restaurant, and I must admit I am quite proud of it.

Another favorite is the one that is currently the picture on my business card. It’s the Fleur de Lys restaurant in Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay. It’s hard to pick a favorite. I get to work in a lot of great hotels, like Aria in Las Vegas, Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant, Thomas Keller’s Per Se and French Laundry, and Charlie Palmer’s home and Dry Creek Restaurant in Healdsburg.

What has changed the most about the Wine Rack Making Business?

Along with the expansion in the interest in wine, requirement for wine racks has resulted in a tremendous increase in the request for wine racks.

Do you have a favorite wine?

I am around wine experts all the time. And I get to sip new wines – and some very extraordinary wines – all the time. My favorite is Chateau Haut-Brion.

Wow! What do you know about that estate?

The estate of Château Haut Brion developed out of the Maison Noble d’Aubrion, which in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries was the property of the Pontac family. It was the Pontacs who planted the vineyard and first exported their wine. 

What is the Most Exclusive Location you have ever built a Wine Rack In?

Steve laughed. I just got an order in for a single rack for a coop in New York City that sold two years ago for $37 million dollars. It’s a 1 foot by 6 feet deep and its 10 inches high. It may be the most exclusive, but it’s probably one of the smallest I have built.

How long does it take to build a Typical Wine Rack?

It’s all built to order, but a typical turn around time with no custom finish would be a week and a half to two weeks for a common size, such as 2 x 6 x 20 feet high. Add two weeks to that for anodized finish.

Wine Rack at Clos Du Bois

Do you do Private Consultation?

Private consultation? yes. Anytime. And it doesn’t matter how large or how small your project is. We think that small projects should get the same service as large customers do.

By Ellen Walsh, Editor