Many dream of storing their vintages in a cellar that is as fine as the wines within. There are many ways to build a cellar that is functional as well as visually pleasing. The most important thing is that your wine cellar space is able to create certain conditions that protect the wine. Once those basic conditions are met, the additional design flourishes are up to you.
A wine cellar is necessary for protecting large wine collections. However, they also make interesting additions to homes with more modest wine selections. No matter how many bottles you plan on storing in your space, there are a few minimum requirements of all wine cellars:
No direct sunlight: The UV rays in sunlight, combined with the heat that it produces, has a negative effect on wine. Bottles need to be protected from the sun, making the basement a natural first choice for wine cellar installation.
Indoor climate control: The wine cellar needs to be kept at a consistent temperature and humidity in order to maintain the aging process and inhibit the growth of mold in the cork. A good temperature is 55 degrees Fahrenheit while humidity should be maintained around 57 percent. If the room is much hotter, then your wine will age faster. A very humid room causes mold to spoil the wine while a very dry room will take all the moisture out of the cork, allowing air to get into the bottle and ruin the wine.
These two considerations are the minimum requirements for any wine cellar. The rest of the design is up to you.
Personal design touches
Many wine collectors choose to include several special touches in their cellar design. These additions to the space will lend it a sense of the owner’s individuality.
Lighting: One of the first design decisions you will have to make is how you will light your space. Just because the wine cellar is out of direct sunlight, doesn’t mean it has to be dark and dingy. LED lights are the best choice when lighting a wine cellar because they give off essentially zero heat. Incandescent and halogen bulbs will heat up the cellar, thus affecting the wine within. Consider using unique lighting designs such as floor lighting or backlighting to give your cellar a wow-factor.
Furniture: A large, walk in wine cellar benefits greatly from a nice big table and chairs. The ability to dine among your racks of wine offers up great opportunities for entertaining. If a full-sized dining set is too large for your space, consider adding a small tasting table and a couple of stools. This provides a nice spot for sampling your favorite vintages with guests.
Unique spaces: If size limitations make a full-scale wine cellar difficult to put in, then consider installing an alternative wine storage unit in a unique space in your home. Under the stairs, in a kitchen island, or even an unused closet offer opportunities to create an interesting wine storage space. Many built-in units can also be used to make use of long walls. As always, make sure whatever space you use is optimized for temperature and humidity control.
Water elements: Since humidity control is such an important factor, consider introducing a water element into your cellar’s design. A decorative waterfall or other such feature introduces humidity into the air. The addition of a through-wall unit will remove any excess moisture, ensuring your wine remains fresh and delicious.