Crafting the perfect wine cellar: A comprehensive guide to storage and design

While refrigerators from appliance stores can serve as a quick solution, there’s nothing quite like crafting a genuine wine cellar. Imagine a space with gravel flooring, specialized racks, and the perfect ambiance for your wine collection. Let’s explore how to make this dream a reality.

Wine cellar
Reagan M

Consulting the experts

Before embarking on this venture, we sought advice from wine storage specialists. The unanimous recommendation was clear: the primary step is to ensure the room housing the wine bottles is adequately insulated.

Insulation and humidity control

1. Walls and ceiling: Begin by insulating the walls and ceiling using polystyrene panels. Don’t forget to cover the door to make it airtight, adding a draft excluder around the frame for added protection.

2. Climate control: Next, you’ll need to regulate the cellar’s climate. An electric air conditioner, which draws air from outside or another room, can be a great choice. This involves creating an opening in one of the cellar walls. The primary purpose of this device is to maintain the room’s natural humidity without generating additional moisture—crucial for preserving wine.

Adequate humidity levels hover around 70% (ranging between 50% and 80%). Excessive humidity can lead to moldy corks, while too little can dry them out, resulting in leaky bottles and spoiled wine.

Designing the ambiance

3. Walls: To camouflage the polystyrene panels and set the right mood, consider painting the walls with an odorless, dark paint, ensuring the room remains dimly lit.

4. Flooring: If you’re working on a budget and stone flooring seems extravagant, experts recommend opting for a gravel bed. Gravel not only provides an authentic feel but also absorbs any excess moisture. While beaten earth could also be an option, avoid using carpets or wooden flooring at all costs.

5. Lighting: When it comes to lighting, subtlety is key. A single low-intensity, energy-efficient bulb should suffice. Remember, wine and light don’t mix well, so halogen lamps are a definite no-no.

Storing the bottles

The pivotal question remains: how should you arrange the wine bottles?

6. Racks and Storage: While brick niches can be a classic choice, if your cellar space is limited, consider modular terracotta racks. These racks ensure bottles remain horizontal, keeping the wine in contact with the cork and preventing oxygen intrusion. The modular design allows for efficient use of space, from floor to ceiling. You can also space them out, segregating reds, whites, and rosés. The terracotta material aids in humidity regulation.

For screw-cap bottles, vertical storage is perfectly acceptable. Once your cellar is set up, the fun part begins: stocking up on your favorite wines. Now, it’s your turn to play sommelier!