are many ways to store wine in your home.
type of wine enthusiast that you are often determines whether or not you
store your wine in a floor rack, special cabinet, kitchen cabinet, wine
refrigerator, or a full blown wine cellar. If you are serious about your
wine, need to age it properly, and have quit a bit of wine to store, than
a cellar is for you. Construction of the cellar is crucial to maintaining
proper climate control and really isn't too expensive. What gets expensive
are the racks and accessories that go along with it. Simple homemade shelves
may not look as attractive, but the wine does not know the difference.
to build your own wine cellar
protect and preserve your wine collection
wine requires a controlled environment to age properly, it is imperative
to a cellar to the following design parameters and installation be followed
& Ceiling Framing
Build wine cellar walls using standard 2" x 4" or 2" x
6" construction methods and ceiling joists following the guidelines
of local and state codes in your area. The general rule for a cellar is
the thicker the walls, the better the insulation factor, the better the
cellar remains at a consistent temperature.
A vapor barrier is REQUIRED if a climate control cooling unit is installed
to keep the cellar at the correct temperature. The 6 mm plastic sheeting
is applied to the hot side of the cellar walls. The vapor barrier must
be either applied to the outside walls and ceiling, or if it is impossible
to get to the outside, then the plastic must be applied from within the
cellar. The most common method is to wrap the entire interior, leaving
the plastic loose in the stud cavity so the insulation can be placed between
each stud. All walls and ceiling must be wrapped in plastic for a complete
Insulation is REQUIRED if a climate control cooling unit is going to be
used. The R-value or thickness of insulation is determined by the thickness
of the walls and ceiling. For example, fiberglass insulation of R13 is
designed to be used in a 2" x 4" wall and R19 is used in a 2"
x 6" wall. It is important to use the correct insulation for the
wall thickness. A minimum of R13 should be applied to the walls of a cellar.
R19 to R30 is recommended in the ceiling. Standard "Fiberglass"
or "Rigid Foam" insulation is normally used in cellar construction,
or in some cases, blown in insulation is used. It is very important that
all walls and ceiling be insulated to keep the cellar temperature as consistent
as possible during the summer and winter months. NOTE that cement
walls/floors are not good insulators. We recommend preparing the room
with vapor barrier and insulation on top of the cement walls/floors.
Wall & Ceiling Coverings:
The interior wall and ceiling covering is determined by the decor theme
of the cellar. Often times drywall (green board) is applied, then painted
(always use latex paint) to match a color theme of the cellar. Most commonly
used is cedar or redwood (depending of the racking materials) tongue and
groove material applied to the walls and ceiling. This T&G 1"
x 4" paneling is the same wood species as the racking material, which
makes for a very uniform look throughout the cellar. Stone or granite
is also used as a wall covering material.
a cooling system is installed; an exterior grade (1¾") door
must be installed as a cellar door. It is very important that weather
stripping is attached to all 4 sides of the doorjamb. A bottom "sweep"
or threshold is also recommended. The door must have a very good seal
to keep the cool cellar air from escaping out of the cellar. One of the
most common problems with cooling units running continually is due to
not sealing the door properly. Solid core doors or doors with a full glass
insert are most often used. Glass doors must have at least double pane-tempered
All types of flooring are used in cellars. Most commonly used is slate,
tile, marble, or vinyl. NEVER USE CARPET. Carpet will mold and mildew
in the cool, damp climate conditions of a cellar. As with the case of
wall coverings, flooring is normally chosen to match the overall decor
colors of the cellar. The flooring should be applied to a level surface.
It is best not to apply base trim or moldings to the walls behind the
Lighting a wine cellar is an important part of the overall cellar decor.
"Air Lock" recessed ceiling lights are the most popular. These
should be put on dimmer switches to control brightness. In most cases,
these are used as the main lights within the cellar. Also popular are
various display lights to accent different areas of the cellar. Some cellar
contractors offer display "rope" lighting that is specially
designed and built to fit into the display angle of individual bottle
racking. Different types of spotlights are used to highlight picture openings,
table areas, or large format display bottles. It is recommended that all
lighting be on a timer system so they can't be left on for long periods
of time. Lights cause excess heat and will cause the cooling equipment
to over work itself.
Climate Controlled Systems
a climate controlled cellar is required, we can provide cooling equipment
to properly keep the cellar at constant temperature about 55-58° F
and humidity at 50%-70%. For cellars less than 2000 cubic feet in size,
there are two main types of units: "Through The Wall" systems
and "Split Systems". For larger cellars, some cellar contractors
provide commercial refrigeration equipment that must be installed by a
certified refrigeration expert. Contact our Wine Cellar Consultants to
assist with sizing the correct cooling unit, and to get installation and
power supply instructions. We recommend that the customer consider purchasing
a system with a larger capacity to compensate for the design limitations.
Passive cellars are rooms that are built below ground level. The natural
ground temperature will be consistent at about 55° F to protect your
wine for long-term storage and no cooling equipment is required.
The necessity of dissipating heat away from the system is critical to
the unit's performance. As the unit operates and cools, an equal or greater
amount of heat is generated on the exhaust side of the unit. Adequate
ventilation is required in order to dissipate heat away from the unit.
If ventilation is inadequate, the exhaust will heat up and adversely affect
the unit's inability to cool. Also make sure there is a 3 foot horizontal
clearance in the front and rear of the unit. This will assure the unit
can vent air in an efficient manner.
cooling system should be mounted at least 18 inches from the top of the
room in order to achieve sufficient cooling. As the room cools down, the
warm air will rise to the ceiling. By mounting the unit high in the room,
the system will capture the warm air and cool it creating a cool environment.
Mounting the unit low in the room will result in a temperature variation
in the room due to the unit's inability to draw warm air from the ceiling
of the cellar to the unit itself.
The system is designed to exhaust into an open area. Any attempt to ducting
the exhaust ports in an effort to redirect airflow is not recommended.
The fans of the cooling system are not designed to push air through a
restricted duct system. The fans will be over worked and may result in
Most systems require a dedicated 110-volt, 20-amp circuit. The system
draws a large amount of amps at initial start up. By designing a dedicated
circuit breaker, you will guarantee the system has enough power to run
efficiently. Contact your electrician for installation of this dedicated
electrical circuit. As with any sensitive electrical equipment, we suggest
purchase of a surge protector because the circuitry may be damaged by
power surges and spikes.
wine racks are either All Heart Redwood or Western Red Cedar. Both woods
are very resistant to rot in the cool, damp environment of a cellar. Customers
usually choose one over the other due to matching decor colors in the
cellar design. Cedar is more of a brown tone and lighter in color, whereas
redwood is a smooth wood with more of a reddish, darker tone. Other woods
are available on a special order basis. The racking design ideas are endless
so dream away.
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