• How to Build Your Dream Wine Cellar at Home

    Add to My Luxx Living
    Cape Associates
    Cape Associates is a full-service Cape Cod custom homebuilder that offers design, permitting and cost-estimating services.
    Cape Associate’s Matt Cole shares his thoughts on wine cellars.  

    Wine cellars do not necessarily have to be large cavernous places as the name implies.

    A cellar project could be as small as a few cabinets, or a reach-in closet or a full walk-in
    room with space to taste and enjoy.

    Wine cellars do not need to be cold or dark places for your wines to age. They can be
    functional, vibrant oases of enjoyment for you, your family, friends and guests.
    Properly planning your wine cellar or storage facility will assure both utilitarian and
    aesthetic pleasures for years to come.

    A comprehensive planning process helps meld construction standards with lifestyle preferences and personal tastes. No two projects need be the same, but there are fundamental building blocks to assure the highest quality and flexibility.

    Here are some key considerations:

    • Lighting. New LED lights are energy efficient and emit less heat than traditional
      incandescent bulbs. Where temperature control is critical, considering the heat
      generated by your lighting becomes important.
    • Conditioning. Consider the room envelope. Don’t skimp on insulation, HVAC
      and waterproofing. Wine collections are expensive, and you certainly do not want
      to jeopardize them with a poorly conditioned space.
    • Temperature zones. Do you plan to accommodate both reds and whites at
      serving temperature? Do not underestimate how different the temperature will be
      in the cellar from the rest of your house. If there is glass separating the cellar
      from other zones of the house, it needs to be an insulated glass unit to avoid
      condensation issues.
    • Wood species. Does the cellar take cues from wood selections from other areas in
      the house, or should it stand alone? This is an aesthetic decision to ponder.
    • The projected size of your collection. What will be the eventual bottle count?
    • The size of bottles. Do you plan to accommodate large or oversized bottles?
    • Display cases. Do you want to have special displays for particular bottles?
    • Aesthetics. Do you want to display art, sculpture?
    • Location. While basements are ideal, you can build one elsewhere in your home.
    • Organization. If the cellar is large and you plan to store wines of different
      maturities, it will be important to know the locations of specific bottles – and find
      them easily. For a larger cellar, consider a “row and column,” approach labeling
      each column with a letter, perhaps, and each row with a number. This will give
      each location a specific coordinate for you to identify the bottle within a tracking
      spreadsheet or app.
    • Protection. What kind of physical and digital security do you want to protect
      your collection? What is the location of access controls? Do you plan to monitor
      it remotely?
    • Tasting area. Do you want a sitting area? Standing area? Where do you want to
      store your tasting implements?

    With these and other questions fully answered, you are ready to set a clear budget for
    your special project – from initial construction costs to annual maintenance expenses.
    Then, you will be ready for the fun part – enjoying your new wine cellar.

    Matt Cole of Cape Associates in North Eastham, Chatham and Yarmouthport can be reached at mhcole@capeassociates.com.

    May 19, 2013