So, you are ready to start a wine collection, but your storage capacity is severely limited. If that is the case, building a custom wine cellar may not be a bad idea. After all, a real connoisseur should have their private wine collections without feeling apologetic about it and ensure that it is being stored correctly without the worry of damaging the wines.
In case you don’t see any reason why you should build a wine cellar – and a custom one at that – then here it is. The primary reason why you should make a wine cellar is for you to take advantage of the aging of wine. For example, if you happen to lay your hands on a nice Chardonnay which reviewers claim will be drinkable in 15 years, you may not want to down it all at once, it will take a long time at optimum conditions to ensure the flavours are fully released.
Now, you cannot stow away such good wine just anywhere, the wine’s flavours could be severely impacted if they are stored in the incorrectly. To store wine properly it requires the following:
- Humidity – ranging from 50 percent to 80 percent so that it doesn’t get moldy and the cork remains moist without falling into decay
- Darkness – ultraviolet rays can spoil wine prematurely
- Temperature – ranging from 10 degree Celsius to 13 degree Celsius to preserve the flavor of the wine
- Storage – most wines are positioned horizontally to give room for more bottles while ensuring the corks remain damp
- Ventilation helps to ensure the temperature remains constant, especially if there are no air conditioners
If you compromise any of these metrics, the integrity of that bottle of wine may be severely disrupted, thus resulting in a “below average” experience when you eventually open the bottle. Which would be a disaster if you have waited for 15 years. Now, lets learn about how to construct a wine cellar:
The walls and insulation
Experts recommend that the walls of your custom wine cellar should be constructed using 2” x 6” joists instead of the regular 2” x 4” used for interior construction. This will give you the chance to not only insulate the wall but to also add to it as you can easily fit in the insulating material between the joists.
The type of wood you use is up to you – hence the “custom” – as you can decide to use redwood wood or any kind that takes your fancy.
Insulating both the ceiling and the walls of the wine cellar is an excellent idea. This is because the stress on the humidifier will be less since it will work less to bring down the humidity and maintain the temperature easier.
Add a recessed light in the center of the wine cellar so that it is not entirely dark. If your wine cellar is large, you may need more than one recessed light. These can be used as decorative features as well, which can be turned on and off.
The door to your cellar must be insulated to prevent warm air from reaching the wine. Solid interior doors are the best option, but you can reinforce the insulation by adding weather stripping around the door jamb. A bottom sweep is in good order as well as it also helps in keeping warm air out. Another great option if you are including a stair case is an insulated piece of glass.
Most wine cellars include a serving platform/bench to sample the wines which may have glasses and a decanter on. The most common thing to include in a wine cellar is actually a wine cooler as although the wines may be near to being able to be drank, they need to be served at the correct temperature which is where a wine cooler comes in, just like the ones you can find on Elite Wine Refrigeration, a simple undercounter wine cooler will suffice.