How to build a home wine cellar
The truth about building a home cellar
The primary goal behind a home wine cellar is a seductive one: access to every bottle you own whenever you please, no long trips or shipments needed. If you’re craving a big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon from California, all you have to do is pop into your cellar and pull out the bottle you want. Yet this kind of scenario rarely happens in most home cellars. Instead, home wine cellars tend to become so disorganized and crowded that it’s impossible for collectors to find a particular bottle in the mess. Learn more.
How to build a wine cellar
First, the room you select should be naturally cool and dark with no windows. Give yourself at least 30 square feet of space for every bottle you own, and double this number if you plan on buying more wine in the future. Next, consult both a cellar contractor and a bottle appraiser. The appraiser will help you decide how many of your bottles truly need cellaring and will insure your bottles in case they are damaged in storage or transit, while the contractor will create a detailed blueprint of the future cellar. Next, insulate your cellar walls with plastic or aluminum, use moisture-resistant flooring, install an exterior-grade door at the entrance, and run your cooling unit. To finish off your cellar, install wine racks, paint your cellar using non-VOC paint, mount LED lights, and use only odorless wood furniture inside (like redwood or pine). Learn more.
How to build the right size wine cellar
You don't need to construct a massive underground wine cellar to become a serious collector. There are many wine enthusiasts who keep a handful of special bottles at home, and who only need a small cabinet to store them all. The size of your cellar depends on the type of collector you want to be in the future. If you dream of owning thousands of bottles from every region of the world, you'll want to construct a cellar that's at least 100 square feet in size, but no more than 500 square feet (the larger your cellar gets, the more costly and difficult it is to maintain). This will allow you to store anywhere from 1,500 to 5,500 bottles at a time. However, if you only want to collect a relatively small number of ultra-rare bottles, your cellar can be as compact as 25 square feet, perhaps even less. When you plan your wine storage carefully, a cellar this size will keep about 500 bottles. Learn more.
The best home cellar storage racks
I’ve known collectors who will spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on elaborate wine storage racks that look like they belong in an art museum rather than a cellar. Maybe you’ve thought about buying one of these racks–if so, you may want to rethink your decision. Although many of these racks are beautiful and functional, they’re not often designed with the wine in mind, and the can actually be dangerous for your precious bottles. In my time as a collector, I’ve found that just because a modern piece of furniture calls itself a “wine rack” doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for a collection. When you start your wine collection, you need to know how to spot the best wine storage racks, and how to identify the best storage system for your cellar. Learn more.
Choosing the best wine cellar contractor
If you’re considering building your own wine cellar from scratch, you’ve already made the move from a beginning wine collector to a serious wine speculator. That’s because building a home wine cellar is a huge investment that only the most serious collectors should consider. The cost of most home wine cellars runs anywhere from $20-$30 per bottle, and this cost doesn’t include extra fees for high-quality building materials like marble or additional decor. If you choose the wrong wine cellar contractor for the job, this money will go to waste. Learn more.
Painting your home cellar
If you want to repaint your cellar simply because you think it will look great with a fresh coat, you’re not necessarily getting into the project for the right reasons. You need to consider the benefits beyond how the room will look. It’s dangerous to move your wines to a new location just to paint your cellar, since they are at risk of bottle shock or other types of damage whenever they move. This is why it’s wise to weigh the risks and benefits before you get started. Learn more.