A Guide to Building Your Wine Cellar

pouring wine to the glass

Starting a wine collection requires care. If you want to preserve the taste of vintage wine, the best way to do it is to put it in a controlled environment. If your wine collection has grown and you see it growing for years to come, then you might need to consider building a wine cellar. Here are a few things to consider for this project.

No Cave Necessary

You don’t need to build a cave for your wine cellar. You need a space in your home or maybe outside for you to create the structure. If you’re very particular, you can consider hiring wine cellar designers or having doors custom-made by door manufacturers, among other things.

Know that this project could set you back some $40,000 when it’s finally completed. But you’re protecting valuable stuff, so it’s well worth the expense.

About the Build

wine cellar

As mentioned, space is the most important consideration for building your wine cellar. Here are more ideas to consider:

  1. What’s your purpose? Have some clarity first in your head as to why you are making your wine cellar. This is the first step. Is it for storage, or do you aim to entertain? Answers to these questions will dictate the cost as well as the look of your cellar. If it’s for everyday storage, then you can keep it simple. If it’s to entertain, you will have to consider the kind of racking system (e.g., wood or metal) and how much you will invest in temperature control systems. Aesthetics matters, but it comes with a price.
  2. Temperature is king. The reason why you are moving your collection to a wine cellar is that you want your wine in a controlled environment temperature-wise. Some of your finest vintages could easily turn due to overexposure to heat. The recommended optimum temperatures would be between 12.7°C to 15.6°C with humidity at around 60% to 70%. Refrigeration equipment would cost between $1,000 to $10,000. Temperature and humidity control units cost you up to more than $3,000.
  3. Build considerations. There are three main components when building the chamber: insulation, moisture barrier, and airtight seal. Make sure that you use the right wood studs, spacing, and proper padding (e.g., R-values of 12 and 19 are recommended). Use polyethylene sheeting to prevent moisture from seeping in. The entryway must be shut tight using weather-stripping or sweeps to prevent air from going in.
  4. Racking. Wood or metal? They come in a few design options, but there are set storage types, like individual bottles, diamond bin, or case storage. Make your style known with the right choice of a racking system.

In the end, you are going to have to think about storing larger bottles or smaller ones. The cost of maintenance of the cellar should now be part of your regular household budget. Inputs from wine cellar makers will help you make the final preparations, but this list sets you on the right path. If you need more information, seek the advice of experts.

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