How To Design A Wine Cellar In Your Home

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Collecting fine wines has become widely popular all around the world. If you have an interest preserving your fine wines for just the right occasion, you may want to consider adding a wine cellar to your home. Wine is very sensitive to environmental conditions such as:

  • Humidity
  • Light
  • Temperature

Your wine cellar will provide the perfect conditions for wine to keep and age beautifully, protecting your investment.

Understanding Wine Cellars

All wine cellars fall into one of two basic categories. Passive wine cellars do the job without any human intervention. They are rooms that naturally have a constant temperature, no heat sources and usually sit below ground level. Climate-controlled wine cellars, on the other hand, have built-in equipment that controls the temperature and humidity of the room.

Since most people aren't lucky enough to have an area in their home with the perfect environment for wine, adding a wine cellar generally means building one that is climate controlled. In any case, wine does best under these conditions:

  • Cool:With temperatures between 55 and 58 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Dark: With as little heat-producing light as possible
  • Humid: With levels between 55 and 75 percent humidity

You can build a wine cellar anywhere in your home. Keep in mind, however, that if the conditions in your chosen space are very different from the optimum conditions for wine storage, your costs to control the environment will be higher. To save money, you may want to choose the part of your home with conditions closest to those you'll be maintaining in your cellar.

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Parts of a Wine Cellar

What do you need to build a wine cellar? Effective climate-controlled wine cellars should contain these basic components:

  • Climate control: Your wine cellar will probably need some type of cooling system and a humidifier.
  • Doors: To get in and out of your wine cellar, you'll need a door of course. Good choices to maintain your wine's environment include most insulated doors without any sort of window that would let in light or heat. Wooden doors aren't suited for wine cellars because they don't provide enough insulation.
  • Flooring: Slate, stone, tile or other hard surfaces are good for maintaining your wine cellar's climate. Soft surfaces such as carpeting are considered a poor choice.
  • Lighting: Even though you want to keep your wine cellar dark, you'll need enough light to find and store your fine wines. Since light produces heat, a dimmer switch will allow you to use only as much light as you need. Be sure to turn off the light when you leave your wine cellar.
  • Wine racks: You'll need racks to store all your bottles of wine properly.

Creating Your Wine Cellar: What are the options?

Once you've decided a wine cellar is right for you, the next step is to explore your options for adding one to your home. For those skilled at carpentry and construction, building a wine cellar from scratch is a satisfying and cost-saving option. A DIY project also allows you to customize your wine cellar to make it truly one-of-a kind.

Wine cellar kits are a nice option if you don't want to tackle the entire construction task on your own. A variety of kits are available that will help you create an elegantly finished wine cellar. Some sites offering wine cellar kits include:

If building your own wine cellar sounds more daunting than exciting, hiring a contractor may be the right choice for you. Depending on your skills, you can have your entire wine cellar built for you, or perhaps have it roughed out and finish it yourself with kit plans and materials.

Enjoying Your Wine Cellar

A wine cellar is an elegant addition to any home and it will help keep your fine wines in peak condition. Depending on your budget, you can create a small, simple cellar or something much more elaborate. Either way, you'll always have just the right wine on hand for a special occasion with the confidence that it has maintained its taste and value for your enjoyment.

Last Updated: July 27, 2011
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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