Wine Cellars & Wine Tasting Rooms – Coming Of Age

In wine there is truth and in wine cellars there are many truths.  

Wine collecting and having the “right” bottle on hand, requires a special space of its own and more homeowners are installing wine rooms in new and existing homes.  With today’s technology, refrigeration, and modern materials, wine can be stored in almost any location.  However, this ancient beverage still requires tender loving care.

Wine Is Fussy – The Basics 

Wine “breathes” through the cork and ages in the process. Too much oxygen makes the wine bitter.  The pace of this breathing is faster at higher temperatures and slower at lower temperatures.  Fluctuations in temperature and humidity accelerate this aging process.  

Wine Storage – The Basics

Wine requires a cool, dark space with higher humidity than the average living space.  Wine does not like noise or vibrations from any source.  

It doesn’t like any temperature extremes.  45F to 65F degrees are the temperature for serving wine.  55F degrees is the ideal storing temperature for long-term storage, regardless of your wine style.  Wine storage rooms come in two types:  passive and active.

Passive Wine Cellars such as caves, basements, closets are naturally cooler and only receive indirect sunlight.  They minimize swings in temperature and damage to the wine. 

Active (Cooled) Wine Cellars are fully climate controlled and can be set to the perfect storage temperature and humidity level that ensures ideal conditions.  They are more flexible and can fit into any large, small or odd space in your home. 

Modern Design Trends

  • Glass enclosures allow you to show off your wine collection and can be built as tall or wide as you want. The choice of tempered glass used is extremely important. The insulation value should maximize the refrigeration, humidification benefits, and UV protection that is required for wine rooms that are in direct contact with sunlight. Etched or frosted glass are decorative options.
  • Integrating wine cellar design into your space for that ‘wow’ factor.  Placing wine storage in living areas, man caves or kitchens, allows you and your guests to engage with your wine collection and show off your expensive wine bottles. 
  • Label-forward, displays the label art facing out.  It creates an intimate interactive experience with the user and the bottle of wine. 
  • Metal and acrylic wine racking.  These materials are gaining popularity in contemporary wine cellar design.  They provide the same quality for storage as wood and can be much more cost effective.
  • Bridging old & new – Combining wood with metal or acrylic allows for more flexibility in project design that is less stuffy and ornate and more contemporary and inviting.

Modern Design And Construction Considerations

  • Use LED lights and UV film for glass enclosures.  
  • No vibrating wall speakers and no noisy air conditioners nearby.  Insulate your mechanical air ducts or use a ductless air conditioner. 
  • Vent equipment heat outside the storage area.
  • Storing a large number of bottles requires a reinforced wall behind. Many choose plywood backing for wall installation. 
  • Make sure you have proper wall insulation, a vapour barrier, and moisture resistant, green board walls.
  • Easy access to electricity.
  • Flooring is to be moisture resistant, consider the insulation value of the floor and materials.

Return On Your Investment (ROI)

A wine cellar is a high-end investment, and in some homes, it is a must-have upgrade.  With an average bottle price of $95.00, it pays to design your investment so that it can add value to your home.

Galileo tells us that:  “Wine is sunlight, held together by water.”  Then together, sunlight and water hold the truth in wine.  Take good care of your truth.