November 3, 2011
How to build a wine cellar
How to build a wine cellar
Wine is the subject of a ling-term international love affair. From the legion of wine tasting societies across the globe to the evergeen wine gift for someone special, the appeal of wine never goes away.There are a number of ways in which anyone can create a wine cellar out of unused space. There are three options:
- a basement or cellar
- a spare room or closet
- a wine cabinet
Not everyone has a basement or cellar in their house and, even if they do, this space might be already used some other purpose. With this in mind, there are a number of other choices that are within reach of everybody.
Wine cabinets are an excellent option for those that do not have the spare room. These cabinets can be kept at a controlled temperature and can store large quantities of wine. Some are so big that it might be difficult to get them through your front door and so do check the dimensions before you purchase them.
It’s possible to turn an unused closet into a wine cellar as you do not have to store your wine underground. The main issue with this is that your house will often have a higher temperature than is ideal for wine and your spare room may well have central heating that will cause fluctuations in temperature. If you can overcome this, you can have a wine cellar without having to go downstairs.
The following things need to be taken into account when building a wine cellar:
- Your climate
- Construction method
- The door
- Temperature and humidity
Without an understanding of these, it is possible that your wine will lose its quality of taste due to temperature fluctuations.
Ideally, wine should be stored at about 14°C in a room with controlled humidity. This will allow them wine to remain drinkable almost indefinitely.
The closer you live to the tropics, the more the temperature and humidity will have an effect on your wine and degrade it over time.
There are a number of things to consider in terms of the construction method of your wine cellar. If you are putting wine in a basement, this will need to be waterproofed using tanking slurry or tanking membrane that will form a waterproof barrier.
If you’re selling is using internal brick walls, it is not necessary to insulate them but you should insulate the other walls in your cellar. Create a stud partition on these walls and where the door will be & insulate the void. It is also important to insulate the roof of your wine cellar.
There are a number of kinds of insulation that can be used to maintain an even temperature but, if you are looking to build a wine cellar on a budget, you can use polystyrene sheets. The sheets have excellent insulating properties as they contain a lot of air. Many grocery stores and supermarkets throw their boxes away along with the polystyrene sheets that they used insulate them. This can form a free insulation layer for your wine cellar.
In addition, use some expanding foam around the corners and joints of your cellar to prevent as much airflow as possible.
In a small space, lighting can cause significant shifts in temperature. When choosing the lighting your cellar, choose the lights to give the least temperature variation. In this respect, LED lights and low energy light bulbs can prove an advantage. Although many homeowners don’t like low-energy lightbulbs, they can have a well-earned place in your wine cellar.
It is best to store wine horizontally to the cork does not dry out. If you cannot afford to buy large quantities of racking, you might consider buying one rack and using it as a template from which you can cut your own timber and create duplicate racks.
You should consider screwing your wine racks into the wall because they will hold a lot of wine and, by knocking them over, you will potentially cost yourself a lot of money.
An average wine rack holds around 60 bottles. When you consider that each wine bottle might weigh 1kg (2.2lbs), you can see the weight that each wine rack will bear & so a firm fixing can be essential.
The door is an important part of the wine cellar because it opens and enables the wine cellar to be affected by the elements. One important consideration for the doorway will be the use of a step. Without a step, then you can move freely a ground level under the door and through the doorway when the door is open. As colder air is found at floor level, much easier for colder air to get into your summer if there isn’t a step. As it is often difficult to see you around door, a step can provide a cost-effective solution.
It is important to insulate the door because this will form another barrier to the outside elements. You can consider an insulated or double glazed door or you could add insulation to a cheaper door depending on your budget.
Temperature & humidity
If you cannot afford to maintain the temperature and humidity using specialist equipment, it is possible to use the thermal mass of brick in order to help you out. Ensuring that wine is not place against an outside wall will help maintain a more even temperature. If you have wine placed against outside walls than the sun will heat those walls & cause changes in temperature.
A concrete floor can have a similar effect of brick walls in that it can take a lot of it in order to change the temperature of the concrete floor.
These are the main considerations that you will need to make. We hope this helps you build your own collection of wines and gives you inspiration as to where to put it.
This post was written by Asgar Dungarawalla of Champagne Gifts 4 U.