Make Your Wine Cellar A Focal Point In Your Home
It’s true, when I used to think of a wine cellar, I pictured an underground, almost cave-like room full of vats, barrels, and, of course, bottles of wine. And it may have been that way in days past, but now, many homeowners are requesting the wine cellar a focal point in their home design plans. A wine cellar protects your wine from humidity, temperature, and light to provide the perfect atmosphere to age properly.
In the home, a wine cellar can be as small as an under-the-stairs wine nook to as big as a large basement alcove. If you have, or are thinking of starting, a wine collection, there are many aspects to consider when creating your own personal wine cellar.
How to Organize Your Cellar – One big question, after you decide where you will put your wine cellar, is how to organize your wine. You can sort the bottles by region of the country, grape varieties, price, or wine type. You’ll want to keep track of many aspects of your collection. You can keep digital notes, for example, in a wine inventory app, but as your collection grows, you also may want to display a record of limited information with the bottle. So to not handle every bottle every time you’re looking for a particular label, you could attach the name on a display tag. In addition, to help avoid opening bottles too soon or too late, include the consume-by date. Some collectors also include the purchase price and the current value. Organizing your wine in a grid system allows you to easily locate your bottles. Giving each row and column a letter and number, similar to an Excel spreadsheet, will allow you go directly to the bottle you’re searching for within your digital records/app. Although there is no “right way” to organize your wine cellar, it will be a benefit to keep a well-organized cellar.
Other items you’ll want to consider putting in your cellar are:
- A built-in wine opener.
- An attractive shelf or glass-door display to showcase your opened bottles.
- A wine glass caddy or cabinets.
- A sink for washing glasses and cleaning up.
- A bar or drinking table, with stools, for serving or armchairs for lounging for you and your guests.
Pegs vs. Racks –The optimal position to store wine is on its side. The wine will make contact with the cork and keep it moist. Although there are many free-standing storage solutions, there are two main options for wine cellars.
Built-in racks – There is a certain luxury to built-in, permanent racks. There are many material options including wood, clear acrylic, and metal cable materials. Although there are a handful of woods that are used for wine cellars, the two most popular are Redwood and Mahogany. Leaving them unstained can not only be attractive, but also can give off the smell of an old wine cellar. If you choose to stain the wood, be sure to use a water-based stain. Within the racks and shelving, consider installing ambient lighting for an upscale look.
Configurable pegs – When using the peg system, wine bottles sit on top of “pegs” giving the illusion that the bottles are floating in air. One of the first steps to decide when using peg wine racking system is to decide whether to install the pegs directly into the wall or into a panel. Custom panels can stand off the wall and include backlighting for additional ambiance. Next, you’ll choose the material and style of peg and then determine the wall coverage available and bottle capacity. For example, do you have the space to display your bottles horizontally with the label out, or would you prefer to have them laid “neck forward” with the cork facing you. With tight spacing, using the “neck forward” layout, you can estimate up to 10 bottles per square foot. Many manufacturers have designers that can help with figuring the layout and pegs needed. Here is where you can get creative and design a gorgeous, featured design.
Room Specifications – Wine does not do well with temperature fluctuations. The ideal temperature to store and mature wine is between 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the ideal range where wine ages at the normal pace. When designing your wine cellar, consider investing in a good cooling system with venting. There are many systems that help minimize energy expenditure. Taking it one step further, think about a backup system in case there is a power outage. Humidity also plays an important role, specifically for the cork. If there is not enough humidity, the cork can dry up prematurely. If there is too much humidity, the cork can become moldy as well as damage the labels. Direct light can react with a wine’s phenolic compounds and spoil it. You’ll need to consider the packaging the wine is in and keep them, especially lighter colored bottles, away from strong light sources. Wine also does not like vibration. Sediments are not able to separate from the liquid when they vibrate. This lowers the acid levels which gives wine its specific and deep flavors.
Adds value to your home – As of 2015, Americans consume 913 million gallons of wine per year. In a recent report from the National Association of Home Builders, 31% of new-home buyers that earned over $150,000 per year, named a wine cellar as their most desired amenity (first on the list, at 45%, was a media room). Builders consider wine cellars a no-brainer in any home over $800,000 (Realtor.com). Even non-drinkers are attracted to having a wine cellar because it gives the impression of a homeowner with discerning, high-end tastes and good for resale. There is a trend for the wine cellar to be part of the main living space and even a ‘wow’ factor in the design.
Many homeowners are moving towards making their wine cellar a focal point in their homes. Of course, it’s personal preference and, ultimately, whether your home can accommodate it into the floorplan. As you’re looking forward to wine-o-clock in the evening… CHEERS to you!
If you’d like to see more of our projects, follow us on Instagram at @bgidesigner.