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Types of Wine Cellars
Regardless of whether you are a collector, connoisseur or just an avid fan of wine, having a wine cellar is a considerable design step in your home. Adding value to the resale price as well as having a place to store and enjoy your wine, designing a wine cellar can be fun and exciting.
When considering adding a wine cellar to your home, there are several factors to consider. Everything from the obvious, like wine racks and wine storage options to tasting areas, tables, and even flooring.
We cover everything you need to help plan your perfect wine cellar so you can bring out the inner sommelier in you.
1. Preliminary Planning
Image from ZillowDigs
When you decide it is time to add a wine cellar to your home, you need to begin by making a plan. Are you going to build it yourself or hire a contractor? Your time and budget will need to be established long before you begin planning the finishing touches.
A. How Will Your Wine Cellar Be Used?
Some wine cellars are there to hold the wine bottles until they are needed. Others are elaborate rooms with seating and tables for tasting the wine and enjoying the company.
Before you can build your wine cellar, you must first decide how you are going to use it. If you only want a beautiful place to store your wine, then your budget can do away with things like tables and chairs.
On the other hand, if you expect to spend time in your cellar then you need to make sure you have the room and accommodations to support friends and family for extended periods.
B. How Much Space Can You Spare?
Depending on your collection size, or projected collection size, you may need more space than you have. In these instances, you will have to consider an add-on, or addition to make room.
If you are only using the wine cellar as a storage, you need to ensure there is enough room to maneuver in the space without having to worry about knocking over bottles. You should also consider a ladder for higher racks and easier access.
As with any addition to your home, the costs are left up to your budget. The more you decorate and embellish, the more it is going to cost. A wine cellar doesn’t need a whole lot unless you plan to spend a lot of time in it.
Flooring, for example, can be virtually any material you wish. This allows you to keep your budget in mind when deciding on the features.
The average cost of a wine cellar will be between $500 and $1,500 per square foot, accounting for the racks, the flooring and any decorations and extras you decide on. Depending on the square footage you have allotted, this translates to anywhere between $10,000 and $100,000.
3. Types of Wine Cellars
A common misunderstanding is that wine cellars are elaborate bottle storage facilities tucked away deep underground. You can put your wine cellar below your house, transforming an unused basement space into a fabulous wine cellar. However, you can also utilize wine cabinets in a large area just off the kitchen, or an old spare bedroom.
Whether your wine cellar is below ground, in a basement, in a spare room or a little building in your backyard, there are two main types: Climate controlled and Natural.
A. Climate Controlled
There are many speculations to how to store wine when it comes to temperature and climate. The hard and fast rule, though, is to maintain a temperature between 45 degrees Fahrenheit and 65 degrees.
The most common is to have the temperature hover around 55 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity around 70 percent. If you have trouble maintaining this temperature, you may need to invest in a climate controlled wine cellar.
Fortunately, it is a myth that white and red wines need to be stored at different temperatures. The truth is that white wines should be served colder than reds, but a quick ice bath before serving will alleviate that issue.
Storing your wine within the previously mentioned ranges of temperature and humidity will ensure you have decades worth of wine without causing the corks to dry or expand, or the wine to oxidize or go flat.
Some unique instances will allow your wine cellar to maintain the needed temperature. If you find yourself in this situation, you may opt for a natural temperature controlled wine cellar.
In this case, you should have a thermometer in the wine cellar to ensure the range doesn’t fluctuate too much. Five degrees in either direction won’t cause any damage or ill-effects to your wine.
Temperature changes of ten degrees or more, however, will mean that your corks are expanding and contracting, which can cause oxidation of the wine or wine leakage. The most important aspect of a natural wine cellar is humidity control. Access points should seal the room off from the rest of the house.
A humidifier should also be incorporated. Plan on spending more on these machines if you go this route. Most humidifiers won’t be able to monitor the humidity on their own and should be tied into an existing cooling system when possible. Too much humidity is just as bad as not enough.
If your wine cellar is sweating, or the labels are peeling, you have a problem that could potentially cost you thousands in product and repairs.
Once you have decided on the type of wine cellar and its location, the real fun in planning can begin. You will get to choose the features your wine cellar will entail and how to set everything up.
A. Wine Racks
Without a doubt, the most important feature in a wine cellar is the racks. Unless you plan on keeping your bottles on the floor, you will need some shelving system to store them. Cork in or cork out, standing up or laying down, slanted shelving or flat. Each of these need to be considered.
You can have your wine racks custom built, pre-built or you can even build them yourself. For the most part, it isn’t a difficult job, and with the right tools and materials, it can be a fascinating project.
Pre-built racks are among the cheapest options, and most straightforward to install. However, they are limited in their size and capacity. If you have a large area, you may find yourself spending more on pre-built racks than you would if you have made them yourself or had a contractor custom fit racks for you.
Image from ZillowDigs
As we mentioned before, the flooring in a wine cellar is completely up to you. Concrete, tile, wood plank or even carpet. In the end, your tastes and budget will dictate the flooring options you choose.
If you have trouble controlling the humidity level, one option is to use a concrete floor sprinkled with gravel. Spraying water on the gravel every few days will help maintain the needed humidity level.
The floor you choose can accent the details of the room. For instance, wood flooring with wood wine racks and wood tone colors will make for a comfortable setting. Modern and rustic themes are also popular with wine cellars and look great with accompanying accents and lighting.
Lighting is obviously important. You will need to read labels and pour glasses of wine. However, you should consider what type of light to get.
You want to stay away from any lighting that gives off UV rays. Natural light in a wine cellar is not a very wise choice. UV rays will ruin the wine. Prolonged exposure can turn wine and make it flat or undrinkable.
Overhead lighting is a great option. So are decorative floor lamps spread throughout the area. You can even use dimmer controlled lighting to set a nice relaxing mood for your tasting area.
There are many styles and options to choose from. Depending on the climate you may want to think about adding a ceiling fan as well. You can get a ceiling fan in any style to match any decor and keep your air circulating while enjoying your wine and company in the testing area.
When it comes to color, you have just as many options as you do bottles of wine to store. If you stick with the wood tones, the walls can be trimmed with wood accents and painted beige, eggshell or even white.
If you opt for a style theme such as rustic or farmhouse, you can even branch out and get a nice red or muted orange color to match the accents.
Gold, silver, and chrome accents are also popular choices for wine cellars and tasting rooms. When using bolder colors, you should make sure that they tie in with the racks and accents around the room.
7. Styles and Themes
With a wine cellar, you really can let your imagination run wild. You can create your own little world down in the cellar if you choose, or make it a part of the rest of your home with matching decorations and ties ins to the rest of the house.
Image from ZillowDigs
One of the most popular themes is a rustic style. With darker and muted colors and slightly brighter accents, the rustic look is easily incorporated in a wine cellar to give it an authentic and homey feel.
With reds and browns, as well as wood tones for the walls, you can accent the wine cellar with wood wine racks and glass shelves. Lighting is easy to decorate as well, using silver and red together on bases and shades make the lamps modern and rustic in one.
Rising in popularity is the Modern theme for wine cellars. It is easy to see why. With sharp lines and crisp colors, the modern look is sure to please any wine drinker.
C. Stone and Tile
The use of stone and tile accents in wine cellars is an eye-pleasing aesthetic look. Columns and walls made from stone or stone in-lay bring the cellar atmosphere to life. Bronze or ceramic tiles create eye lines that match the stonework on all levels.
With stone and tile, you can create virtually any look you want from dark and almost scary to a golden age empire appeal. Either will pull your wine cellar and tasting area together and give your guests plenty to talk about.
Your wine cellar should be an extension of your personality. Whether you decide on a nautical theme or the standard concrete and paint, whatever you choose is sure to please your senses while the wine commands the attention of your taste buds.
8. Special Considerations
Depending on the location of your wine cellar, you will have extra things to take into consideration. If you are setting up below ground, you need to ensure that the humidity doesn’t get too high.
Valuable collections of wine have been reduced to worthless because of moisture and high humidity. Once the labels peel or the corks expand, the vale of the wine will drop.
You also need to decide if you are a wine drinker, a wine collector or a combination of the two. If you are a drinker, then you have less to worry about. In a standard cellar at normal temperature ranges the wine will keep for a good decade. Long enough for you to open and consume the wine.
On the other hand, if you are a collector, you need to make sure your wine cellar will stand the test of time. Temperature and humidity should be the main focus. Using solid sealing doors to prevent unwanted temperature changes is vital.
You might spend a little more than you anticipated, but it will be worth it in the long run. You can view our galleries of wine cellars and the DIY section for inspiration and ideas. We hope you find what you are looking for to create and design the wine cellar of your dreams.