There are various reasons why some people love collecting wine at home. Some may do it out of passion or hobby, while others do it to entertain their guests with a delectable bottle of wine. But with the benefits and perks, having a wine collection at home also comes with unique challenges, starting with building a wine cellar.
Unlike other beverages that can easily be stored in the fridge, wines are more sensitive and have strict requirements regarding proper storage. This is because its storage and handling technique can significantly affect the wine’s taste, flavour, and quality. Otherwise, even the most delicious wine could be spoiled in no time when stored and preserved incorrectly.
That said, regardless of the reason for starting your own wine collection, it’s essential for one to invest and build a wine cellar. A wine cellar can help ensure that the wines to be stored can last for years while growing finer in taste, quality, and overall value.
To start, here are ten steps worth considering when building a wine cellar.
- Choose The Location Carefully
- Install A Cooling System
- Check For Any Leaks
- Install Insulation And Vapor Barrier
- Seal The Floors
- Furr And Frame The Walls Or Ceilings
- Lay Out A Drywall And Outlets
- Finish The Walls
- Pick The Best Wine Cellar Doors
- Add Some Finishing Touches To The Wine Cellar
- Get The Wine Cellar Started
Choose The Location Carefully
A wine cellar should be located somewhere cool and dry, in which no natural light or vibrations can sneak in. Generally, most homeowners use their basement as their wine cellar because it’s more humid and much colder than other rooms in the house.
Furthermore, the basement is often free from disturbing vibrations, pungent smell, and sunlight, making it easier to control the room’s temperature and humidity. Aside from the basement, other rooms can also be used as a wine cellar. Examples are the pantry, under the stairs, hall closet, and the vacant guest room.
Install A Cooling System
No matter the size of the chosen location, it’s essential to invest in a wine cellar cooling unit. For starters, what is a wine cellar cooling unit?
Wine Cellar Cooling Units
The temperature a wine is stored at is crucial to maintaining the quality of wine and preventing it from going bad. This can happen in numerous ways, including corks drying out and wine ageing too quickly. One can purchase different types of cooling units depending on their cellar size and configuration, including ducted systems, as well as through-the-wall ventilation systems. Winecellarhq.com has a range of different cooling units for sale, from brands like WhisperKOOL and N'Finity.
This machine works as the central temperature controller of the wine cellar to help in consistently maintaining proper temperature and humidity. While some homeowners may opt for a smaller cooling unit to save money, it could only elevate the electric expenses in the long run.
An undersized cooling unit may have to work harder to cool the wine cellar, eventually increasing the electric bills. Furthermore, it might also need frequent repairs and maintenance due to too much usage. Preferably, invest in a wine cellar cooling unit that corresponds well to the size of the room.
Check For Any Leaks
Even the tiniest leak of air, light, or water could jeopardize the efforts in preserving and storing one’s wine collection. Thus, before placing the wine bottles, take the time to check for any existing leaks on the doors, walls, ceilings, windows, and other corners.
Keeping the room free from any leaks can help ensure control over the various environmental factors that might affect the wines’ ageing process.
Install Insulation And Vapor Barrier
Installing insulation and vapour barrier is crucial to protecting the wine cellar from water or moisture leaks.
One of the best materials to opt for is closed-cell foam insulation. It’s an efficient material in controlling humidity, especially for houses located in a humid climate. More so, closed-cell foam insulation has low vapour permeability and has excellent water resistance properties.
Meanwhile, if the first insulation option is a bit over budget, go for alternatives such as fibreglass batt insulation and rigid foam board insulation. They may not be as efficient as the closed-cell foam in managing moisture, but one can add vapour barrier plastic sheets to protect the cold and warm side of the insulation.
A tip to consider when choosing insulation for a wine cellar is it’d be best to go for insulation that ranges from R-19 to R-30. Remember, the higher the R-value is, the more it can insulate the room.
Seal The Floors
Whatever type of flooring a wine cellar has, see that it’s properly sealed. When sealing the room’s floors, use a floor sealant compatible with the tile adhesive.
In terms of the flooring material, out of all options, concrete is by far the most recommended choice as it’s known to be less porous and permeable. But aside from concrete, other flooring options one may consider are porcelain, cork, and stone.
Also, wood floors and rugs are discouraged for wine cellars as these materials are considered too absorptive and prone to leakage.
Furr And Frame The Walls Or Ceilings
Furring refers to the act of installing wood strips to resurface walls or ceilings, raise the surfaces to prevent dampness, and make space for insulation, otherwise known as framing. When framing the walls of a wine cellar, it’s recommended to use a 2x6 framing lumber as it’s thicker and then add thicker insulation with more R-value (preferably R-30 insulation).
Take note that when ceilings and walls are thicker, the easier they can provide proper insulation to a wine cellar and regulate the humidity and temperature levels of the storage room.
Lay Out A Drywall And Outlets
Considering that a wine cellar is a high humidity room, laying out water-resistant drywall is also essential to prevent mould growth and moisture. Preferably, choose the water-resistant drywall, commonly called the greenboard drywall.
Once the greenboard has been attached, start cutting holes for the electrical outlets and ductwork. Just make sure to seal all holes after creating the outlets and installing the light switch to ensure that the wine cellar is airtight and free from any possible leaks.
Finish The Walls
After laying out the drywall and the outlets, finish the walls with the treatment that can help achieve the desired wine cellar aesthetic. Some choices to consider are faux rock, natural rock, tile, brick, and wood. Whatever wall treatments are to be added, it’s essential to make sure they’re resistant to humidity.
Pick The Best Wine Cellar Doors
A glass door may look stylish and attractive for a wine cellar, but unfortunately, it’s not the best option. That’s because glass doors provide very little insulation value (R-value). That said, the best door for a wine cellar is the type made explicitly for wine cellars only. They may be costly, but they’re worth the investment and can properly seal the room.
But, if it’s over budget, the next best option is the exterior grade door with a proper threshold and weather stripping.
Another good factor to consider when picking the best door for a wine cellar is the doors should be tough to close, which means the room is air-resistant.
Add Some Finishing Touches To The Wine Cellar
Lastly, after going through the technical steps above, consider adding some finishing touches to the cellar and personalize it.
One of the best investments to add to a wine cellar is wooden wine racks. Aside from being stylish, they also provide a proper place to store and preserve ageing wine bottles without being disturbed or shaken whenever one pulls out a bottle.
More so, consider adding humidifier fountains, furniture for seating, and anything that may improve the wine cellar’s aesthetic.
Get The Wine Cellar Started
As many say, getting started is the hardest part, especially when building a wine cellar. Thankfully, the steps enumerated above can be a good starting point when building a wine cellar. And when built right, a wine cellar may just be one of the best investments one could ever have.