Are you sick of having chilled bottles of white wine take up an entire shelf in your fridge? Is your wine rack often overflowing? Do you have a spare room in your basement? Well then it is time you considered having a wine cellar! Wine cellars are a great way to keep your favorite bottles in an ideal environment while freeing up your counters and fridge. They are also a great way to add value to your property. Today we’ll go over some tips for getting started as well as some tips for design elements you could consider incorporating into your future wine cellar.
The first and most important consideration is the climate. White and red wines have different ideal temperatures for storage, but 55 degrees Fahrenheit is a reasonable compromise if you wish to store them together without a separate refrigeration unit for the whites. If keeping them separate is feasible, then you should consider 45-50 degrees for whites and 50-55 degrees for reds. A separate HVAC system is the best option for your wine cellar so that the temperature is not tethered to the rest of your home. If a separate HVAC system does not make sense for your wine cellar, don’t worry, proper insulation and proper treatments for the walls, ceiling and floor will have your covered. When it comes to insulation, you’re going to want to consider the climate you live in. For example, in warmer climates moisture is a greater concern. Speak with a contractor or other wine cellar owners in your area to get a good read on what specific challenges your climate may present. Temperature fluctuations should me minimalized with proper insulation. If the temperature your wine is stored at is not constant, it can lead to oxygenation and potentially ruin your collection.
Some other things to take into consideration are the paint you choose and the racks on which you store your wine. Zero VOC paint is your best bet. It is better for the environment, better for the person doing the painting and better for the wine. This same thinking applies to stains; water-based stains are better than oil-based stains because of the lower levels of VOCs, which can corrupt wine. Anything that can off gas in your wine cellar has the potential to contaminate your wine through the cork. If you don’t mind a modern aesthetic, consider stainless steel for your racks. Speaking of racks, you will want to find racks that allow you to store your wines sideways. The reason for this is that storing wine sideways keeps the cork moist. If a cork dries out, it can let air in and ruin your wine. For this same reason, it is a good idea to periodically rotate your wines.
Finally, take the time to make this space your own. Obviously, the factors above need to be taken into account (off gassing, humidity and temperature) but place a few chairs, a table and some art in your cellar. Make it a place where you are glad to spend some time or show off to friends. Consequently, if you don’t have a whole room to dedicate to wine, consider taking the advice from this post and applying it to a closet or storage space. You don’t always need an extra room to enjoy a good wine cellar.