If you have an oenophile or two in the family, then keeping a couple of table-ready bottles of wine in the kitchen or dining room simply isn’t enough which is when you take it to the next level with wine organization. A lot of wine enthusiasts dream of and create their own home wine cellars to both store their finest vintages, as well as keep high-quality table wines close at hand.
If this sounds like the sort of thing you’re going for, then it helps to take a strategic approach to design the best home wine cellar money can buy.
Choosing Where to Put Your New Home Wine Cellar
There are a few different locations to consider when it comes to deciding where to put your new home wine cellar. Of course, the most obvious option is to carve out or completely claim the basement. Though depending on your home and where you live, the basement isn’t the only place you can design a home wine cellar.
Basement Wine Cellar Benefits
There are a few great things about a typical home basement that make it a good candidate for hosting a wine cellar.
- It’s a seldom-used room
- Little to no natural light
- Easy to climate control
A Guest Bedroom
If your home doesn’t have a basement, the next best option is to choose a lesser-used guest bedroom or your adult child’s old bedroom. Ideally, you want a bedroom that has a good relationship with the home’s HVAC system, or you’ll need to consider adding a separate climate control system.
A garage is an interesting and tempting place to put a home wine cellar. There’s often extra space in the garage, and it usually has easy access to the kitchen and family dining room where you are most likely to enjoy a good bottle of wine. Though you should strongly consider upgrading the insulation and creating a truly self-contained space with its own HVAC climate controls. Otherwise, the seasonal temperature swings in an average home garage will ruin your finest bottles of wine in a matter of weeks.
Know Thy Space
It can be tempting to look at a large basement enclosure or a disused guest bedroom and simply go wild wanting to stick it to the rafters with your favorite bottles of wine and glassware. Though as you go through the process of designing your home wine cellar, you’ll find that things like sturdy shelves, humidifiers, HVAC upgrades, and drinkware storage take up a lot of space.
This is definitely a time to measure and measure again. Then lay out all the dimensions on graph paper. This lets you play around with the layout and design of your new home wine cellar in your mind, long before you’re wrestling with wine racks in the real world.
Installing Separate Climate Controls
Climate control is key when it comes to maintaining shelf stability in wine. Ideally, you want your wine cellar to always be between 55 to 57 degrees. This is rarely the temperature range that you’ll find in a home. So, it’s nearly impossible to use your home’s HVAC system as the primary means of climate control in your home wine cellar.
Your best option is to seal off the room with either glass panels or insulation with a moisture barrier. Then you can invest in a self-contained wine cellar climate control system. The cost of one has come down in recent years to the point where it is no longer prohibitive for you to keep your wine cellar within 1 to 2 degrees of the ideal temperature range.
Be Mindful of Humidity
Humidity is one of those things that is easy to forget about when you’re designing your own home wine cellar. Especially if you’ve chosen to put it in your basement where there always seems to be some ambient humidity present. Yet once you seal the room off, and you start using self-contained HVAC climate controls, you need to also monitor and adjust the humidity.
Here again, modern-day technology has advanced to the point that home wine cellar humidifiers are more affordable and easier to use than ever before. Just bear in mind that any permanently installed humidifier is going to need an incoming water line to supply it with the moisture it needs. It will also need some type of drain to manage potential overflows and condensation.
Be Kind to Your Floors
On its own, a single bottle of wine weighs between 2.65 to 3.25 pounds. It’s when you start putting several bottles together and compiling them into a rack that the numbers start to jump exponentially.
This means that a large wine rack with a theoretical 100 bottles could weigh up to 325 pounds, plus another 100 pounds of wood. All in a relatively small footprint that might only be 16 to 20 inches wide.
This is another reason why basements with a concrete floors a preferred location for a home wine cellar are. So, if you are going to repurpose a bedroom, you might want to also consider reinforcing the wooden floors and/or using cabinet anchor hardware to help the walls bear some of the load.
Choose a Wine Rack with Good Bones
A single bottle of wine can be a serious investment. All the weight of dozens of bottles can add up easily. So, you need a wine rack that can handle the weight of dozens of bottles bearing down on it at all times. Then you also need to make sure that the wine rack doesn’t tip over. This either calls for reinforced feet and/or securing the wine rack to the wall via heavy-duty attachment hardware.
Reserve a Place to Enjoy
One of the soft-spoken joys of having your own home wine cellar is the chance to be alone with and appreciate your favorite bottles. So, while you’re designing the floor plan, make sure to leave space for things like corkscrews and wine-preservation devices. Not to mention stemware, flutes, and other drinkware.
They also consider the ambiance, as well as a place for you to sit with a friend or two. Accent lighting atop the wine racks and recessed lighting can help boost the ambiance, while also adding just the right amount of functional illumination.