If you’re a serious wine lover and you’d like to store a few (or a few hundred) bottles, having your own in-home wine cellar is essential. Wine doesn’t keep its flavor, aroma and color for weeks on end, but if your wine is stored in a dark, cool, humid place, it will.
You can put a wine cellar anywhere in your house. Most folks naturally consider the basement, but any room where you can create the right conditions will work. It can be an attic, a storage room, an unused part of the house, or even a corner of the garage or a hall closet.
The Right Conditions for Your Wine Cellar
Your in-home wine cellar should be in the coolest, most humid part of the house. The right temperature is 55 to 58 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity should be from 55 to 75 percent. This is a bit cooler than room temperature and much more humid. If the room you use as your cellar doesn’t meet these conditions, you’ll have to keep it cool and humid, which means more expense. If the room is already quite cool and humid, you’ll save.
Because this is going to be quite humid, the building materials you use need to be able to withstand this humidity. Redwood and mahogany are two types of wood that are often used for wine cellars because they’re strong. Another wood that’s quite tough but not recommended is cedar. The problem with cedar is its smell, which can taint your wine bottles.
Humidity and temperature need to be carefully controlled and consistent. You don’t want to have fluctuations. For this reason, the room needs to be well-insulated with a tough external door. It should also be a part of the house that people don’t commonly use. People going in and out of the room will mess with the temperature and humidity. The room should be dark and it’s best if there are no windows. Light causes wine to age prematurely.
One more building material consideration is the flooring. It’s best to use wood, tile or marble. Carpet is a bad choice because the humidity will cause mold growth. Another thing that will help to prevent mold is if there’s good ventilation.
Building a Wine Cellar
Turning a room into your house into a wine cellar involves insulating and building the necessary shelving. Once this is done, you’ll have to monitor the room to make sure the temperature and humidity are at the right level and adjust as necessary. With wine cellar shelving, you usually see wine stored horizontally. This prevents the corks from drying out and cracking, and thus allowing air to get into your wine bottles.
One consideration before you build is whether your wine cellar will be simply functional or whether you’ll entertain people in there. If all it needs to do is store wine, it doesn’t need to be anything fancy and it can be something as small as a closet. If it’s going to be a wine-tasting room, you need to give some consideration to interior decorating. Make it a room that’s comfortable and has a good atmosphere for hanging out.
If you’re not sure how to do it yourself, there are wine specialists and consultants that can help. They know wine cellars, so they can help you make the right decisions and get yours built.