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Things that you always needed to know before you build a wine cellar

Always do your homework before venturing onto building a wine cellar. Know your builder and the materials used before you start.

A lot of people do not know to consult a professional wine cellar builder when venturing out on a project of this nature. Remember your ultimate goal is to properly store that wine for future consumption or possible sale.

When I visit a client, the first thing we talk about is the right space to construct the new wine cellar. It should be in a place where outside light or vibration would not be an issue.  Once you have found that “perfect spot”, start thinking about the how many bottles you would like to store. The number you have in mind should for the most part, be tripled. Most people think that a 500 bottle wine cellar would be enough; all of a sudden they find great buys on cases, now they have more wine then space. The cooling of your wine cellar should never be cheapened or downsized. The “life or death” of your wine cellar depends on this portion of your decision. Here is a simple formula to decide on the size of the cooling unit. (Unit Size = Room Volume + Heat Load).  You may think that this is a hard formula to understand, but a qualified person would know exactly what this means.

Now comes one of the most exciting stages of you new wine cellar, deciding on which racks to be used. The least expensive of all the racks on the market are kit racks. A lot of home owners use these and spend more money on wine. Remember a wine cellar builder could make these look like the expensive racks with a little bit of imagination. Your choices of racking are individual racks, diamond bin racks, magnum racks, display racks, case storage, and anything you could imagine. You and your designer will spend hours just to find that perfect look for you. Don’t forget to accent with murals, lights, crown molding. So when it all comes together, it will be your dream wine cellar. But again, the more options you choose, the more money you will spend.

Now is the time to pick out your floor. The floor could be slate, marble, tile, or even a cork floor. The floor should be sealed no matter which choice you make. When using a cork floor, a vapor barrier should be used, before installing the cork. You can find some great buys at your local floor store. This is a place where you can save some money and still make your cellar look great.

Building the walls of your wine cellar would start with either a 2 x4 or a 2 x 6 wall (preferred), insulation (2x6 wall), would be 5 ½ inches thick, with an R-factor of R-19. Spray in foam will give you a much higher R-factor, but this is more expensive. Be sure to insulate the ceiling also. Before the insulation goes in, install a vapor barrier, very important step. This is to be installed on the warm side of your cellar. Mistakes are made here over and over again. The warm side is the outside of the wine cellar. Make sure to install the vapor barrier on the ceiling, again the warm side only.  When installing drywall, green board or water resistant drywall is recommended.

Once it all comes together, your wines will have a safe and proper place to mature to old age. Wine cellars are usually built for life. Unlike a kitchen or bathroom, this might be changed after a few  years.

This is why I always tell anyone interested in building a wine cellar, be wise with your investment. Get some input from someone that had a wine cellar built, whether it was good or even a bad installation. Most importantly get the right person to build your wine cellar. A builder that is familiar with climate controlled rooms.

Your wine cellar should be a place of refuge, a place to relax and immerse yourself in a thing of beauty. When it’s built right, it can be an entertaining and charming feature of your home. Here you can let your wines mature to great taste. Have those wines ready for all those special occasions. Now you will have a place to invite your friends to share in some great wines. When your friends enter your wine cellar for the first time, they will be amazed. What I always like to hear from my customers, “This is more beautiful than I ever imagined”.

So isn’t your next project worth your time and money to have someone build your wine cellar correctly? Feel free to contact me to answer any questions about wine cellars.

    As I leave you, just remember one thing very important

                     "Never drink great wine out of a Dixie cup"

John Seitz

Master Wine Cellar Builder

The Magnum Company In

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Carpenter for over 40 years

Master Wine Cellar Builder for over 15 years.

Author of over 25 articles published on wine cellars.

Author of book "Life On The Road With The Master Wine Cellar Builder"

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