Paraphrasing Benjamin Franklin, wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.
Regardless of your beliefs, opening a red is as close to heavenly taste as some of us get here on Earth. So it’s not unexpected that the new trend with home design is planning dedicated space for wine collection.
Whether you live in a sprawling country estate or a tiny city apartment, your home probably has a space that can be converted into a personal wine storehouse.
Determine the location.
- Location is your most important consideration. You’re going to want to find a corner of your home that has no direct sunlight — basements are perfect.
- Choosing a location for your wine collection involves understanding the fundamentals of building a wine cellar. If a wine cellar is built properly, it will do a few tasks consistently and efficiently.
- Your cellar should maintain a temperature of about 55 degrees Farenheit. As long as you stay within 3 to 4 degrees of that, your wine will be fine. Any warmer and your wine will age faster; any cooler and your wine will age slower. (I wish I aged like that; I live in Canada.)
Do the framing, insulation and drywall.
- The framing of your space can be handled with just some basic 2-by-4 or 2-by-6 walls. Either works, but a thicker wall will allow for thicker insulation, which means you’ll have a more controlled environment. Once your walls are up, I highly suggest using a spray-foam insulation. Spray foam is both an insulator and a vapor barrier — essential for your cellar.
- If you choose not to go with spray-foam insulation, it’s a little more complicated.
- You’re going to want to use a 6-millimeter poly moisture barrier on the outside of all the framed walls. If you can’t apply it to the outside because of the space’s configuration, then simply wrap it in, out and around all of the studs. You want your insulation, not the poly, to be on the inside of the poly barrier. Then, using green board (mold- and mildew-resistant drywall), board the interior of the cellar.
- Your cellar must control humidity — the ideal level is 57 percent. Humidity levels above 70 percent can actually cause mold to grow in the cork, and your wine can be ruined. On the other hand, a humidity level below 50 percent can cause a cork to dry out, spoiling the wine. Everything about building a wine cellar is about how efficiently it controls temperature and humidity. If it does that well, your maintenance costs will be far lower.
- You’ll also need a space suitable for the size of cellar you need. You may be surprised that a wine cellar can take up less room than you thought. Collections with 200 to 250 bottles can be housed in as little as 30 square feet. But don’t forget that you’ll need to have an adjacent room (also known as the exhaust room) that’s larger than your cellar space. I’ll explain this later.
Install a wine cooling unit.
These are not the same as normal cooling units, because they also control humidity. They can’t add humidity to the room, but they can remove excess moisture. There are many different products and methods you can use to cool the space, but the easiest is a through-wall unit like a Koolspace KoolR, pictured here. It works using a simple premise: creating a cold room on one side of the wall and a warm room on the other.
Units like these are installed simply through the framing of the wall. The unit cools and controls humidity in the cellar, while exhausting heat into the exhaust room that I mentioned before. The exhaust room has to be large enough to absorb this heat.
Choose your lighting.
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Wine cellars are designed to be cool, but we also want them to look cool.
- If you love your cellar, you may want to leave the lights on and admire it, so the style of lighting you choose is paramount. Normal incandescent and halogen bulbs emit a lot of heat — way too much for a cellar.
- There are many incredible LED lighting options, which emit virtually no heat. Track lights, puck lights and LED strip lights can all light a space in interesting ways and show off your collection.
Create a doorway seal.
This is where the designer in me takes over. Frameless 10-millimeter glass doors allow for the best viewing into your space. They help showcase your collection and look extremely good doing it. That being said, at a minimum you need to create a seal in the doorway. Proper techniques mean using an exterior-grade, insulated door, and if you use any glass, it must be dual paned.
Indoor Wall Fountains
This can be done in a couple of different ways. A basic humidifier can actually provide you everything you need. But why not do something with more of a wow factor?
Try using an indoor fountain or waterfall to help add that moisture you need. It will serve an important function and become a showpiece in the cellar.
Decide how to display your wine.
- What will ultimately make your wine cellar stunning is how you store your wine.
- Using multiple methods — racks, bulk storage and display — will add interest. The very best cellars showcase their finest wines while still finding ample room for everyday choices.
- If custom shelving doesn’t fit your budget, try ready-made metal or pine racks.
- Either way, your wine cellar will be a constant conversation piece every time you entertain, and as I’ve found, a wine cellar is a great way to make friends.
More from Houzz:
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- Discover innovative wine storage solutions, kitchen cabinets and cool bar stools to add to your home
BY: Brad McCallum, Business Insider