Wine collecting is usually seen as an ‘exclusive” hobby requiring vast amounts of space and an unlimited supply of cash.
This does not have to be the case. There are plenty of excellent wines, even collectable labels, that cost between thirty and a hundred bucks apiece. Sure, you may want to occasionally splurge and purchase a bottle or two of vintage awe inspiring wines, especially if you have an appropriate place to store them — but truly, as wine consumption increases in America, the average price per bottle (even good bottles) continues to dip.
A true collector of wine will want a proper wine storage facility. Known as “wine cellars”, these areas are usually protected from the elements by being located inside a collector’s home.
Where Should I Install My Wine Cellar?
While many collectors are going against the norm and installing wine storage areas in large closets or other areas inside their home, the traditional wine cellar is located in a basement or cellar, hence the name.
This article will run down the basics of constructing a traditional wine cellar — an area for storing wine located in a basement. As with any major construction project, you may need to hire electricians, carpenters, and other helpers. This rundown of the basics is meant as an educational too only.
Because many of us are already lacking plentiful storage for our home items, the cellar described here is meant to take up just a portion of the average household basement. Besides the space issue, there are few beginning wine collectors who own enough wine to justify the conversion of an entire cellar.
Supplies Needed To Build A Wine Cellar
- 6” x 6” ceramic tile (enough to form the floor of your wine cellar area)
- 1 bag dry quick-set tile mortar
- 8 wine racks (custom ordered to fit your space)
- exterior grade door, insulated and double paned
- cooling unit (can be found through home improvement stores)
- lighting fixture
- four pieces of 1/2” drywall
- 4 R-13 insulation pieces with vapor barrier
- 2 R-19 insulation pieces with vapor barrier
- twenty-four 2” x 4” x 96” studs
- 1” x 3” baseboard molding (amount will vary)
- bulk 8d common nails
- bulk 1-1/4” drywall screws
- bulk 2” drywall screws
- bulk 3” drywall screws
- 1 bag drywall mud
- 1 roll of drywall seam tape
- 2-3 gallons of primer
- 2-3 gallons of paint
Wine Cellar Building Considerations
When building your wine cellar, take the following four features into consideration:
- Doors and Floors
- Climate control
These four factors will help to control the climate in your wine cellar space — remember that wine cellars have different requirements from most interior rooms in your home in order to properly age and protect wines. Controlling light, humidity, and temperature is important. Too much heat, humidity, or natural or artificial light can quickly spoil your expensive collection.
Wine Cellar Rack Kits
If you want to avoid installing or custom ordering your wine racks, consider purchasing one of any number of do-it-yourself wine rack kits. This not only makes your job easier, but allows you a certain level of customization in terms of how your wine will be stored.
In order to keep your wine cellar at the recommended temperature and humidity levels, a proper cooling system is a necessity. Quality cooling systems will be one of the more expensive parts of your cellar project, as they run between $1,000 and $12,000. Your wine cellar should be kept between 55 and 58 degrees fahrenheit, with a relative humidity of 75 percent.
Wine Cellar Building Steps
- The first step is preparing your floor. Remove any carpeting or padding in your potential wine cellar space. Once you’re down to a bare concrete floor, you can begin construction. Using two existing walls of your cellar will cut down on materials and construction, as long as those walls have an insulation rating of at least R-13. Assuming they do, check the insulation of the floor and ceiling. A minimum R-19 insulation is required for a wine cellar. If your ceiling fits the bill, remove any existing lighting, as this is another feature of the cellar you will want to control.
- After installing your own light fixture (both style and heat are important factors in choosing a lighting fixture for a wine cellar), you can decide how you want the floor to look. Ceramic tile is the best material, although pretty much any flooring besides carpet will do. Carpet will get wet and mildew and add a nasty flavor to your wine.
- Frame your two new walls with studs, remembering to double stud the wall where your door will hang. The door you order should come from the factory pretty much ready to install, with hardware attached and the door itself pre hung.
- When insulating the room, remember that a vapor barrier should be added after the insulation, to maintain humidity. Over the vapor barrier, install playwood with drywall screws.
- Next, turn your attention to the floor. If using ceramic tile, spread a layer of tile mortar before installation. Select tile that will match your cellar design.
- With the door, floors, and ceiling ready, its time to install your wine racks. Make sure your cooling is installed level so that it works optimally.
- Crown and floor moldings will add a final beautiful design touch to your cellar. With racks installed, the cooling system go, and the door hung, you’re at last ready to stock your new wine cellar.
Some key points to consider when installing a wine cellar — insulation minimums (R-13 for walls, R-19 for floor and ceilings), temperature control (via cooling units), humidity control, the overall design of the cellar, and your wine rack design.
With proper installation and insulation, the wine in your wine cellar could very well outlast you. Now gather your friends and toast your new space.
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