Building The Ultimate Wine Cellar

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Building The Ultimate Wine Cellar

Some of the greatest estates in Greenwich, Westport, Darien and New Canaan are outfitted with wine cellars that are second to none. Having access to a wide range of fine wines is one of life’s great perks. Some of us enjoy just having access to a variety of wines for different occasions. Others are more involved and enjoy conducting research on vintages and vineyards and pay close attention to the pairing and presentation of wines. Whatever your level of involvement, your wine storage will play a critical role when it comes time to pour. If you’re considering building a wine cellar as part of a new custom home project, renovation or addition, chances are that your existing wine racks are reaching capacity or just don’t provide the environment and storage solution that you’re ultimately seeking. Here’s a rundown of what’s involved in creating the perfect wine cellar for your Fairfield County home.

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Location


Ultimately a wine cellar can be located anywhere in the home. But ideally, you want to position it in the coolest and most humid spot. That will allow you to minimize the amount of cooling and humidifying power required to maintain the proper environment for your wines.

Cooling Unit


There are two basic approaches to cooling your wine cellar: a self-contained unit or an external air handler. A self-contained unit is installed much like a window AC unit, with a power source, drain line, and drain. For larger wine cellars, you run ducts which link to an air handler in a mechanical room or other space, which in turn is connected to a condenser that’s placed outdoors.

Humidity Control


It’s essential that your wine cellar maintain a humidity level between 50% and 75% in addition to a temperature in the mid-50s. Many larger cooling systems come with built-in humidity controls. But if you are relying on a self-contained cooling unit, you should probably invest in a separate humidification system. 

 

Wall and Floor Materials
One of the most important aspects of a wine cellar is its insulation, which can be achieved either with spray foam or a six-mil vapor barrier with fiberglass batts. After setting up the insulation in the walls and ceilings, use moisture-resistant drywall (like that used in bathrooms) to cover them. Flooring should be a material that stands up to humid conditions such as porcelain tiles, hardwood floors, brick, stone or concrete.

Doors
Even though your wine cellar is only accessible from inside your home, you will still need an exterior grade door to protect the fragile environment. This door should have weatherstripping along with a threshold and sweep near the bottom. If you want to see inside your cellar, you should use at least double-pane insulated tempered glass, which is resistant to condensation.

Lighting
A wide range of lighting and fixtures are available depending on your aesthetic tastes. Special lights can be placed to illuminate certain areas. It’s wise to place all lights on dimmer switches and timers to minimize the amount of excess heat being emitted.

Wine Display


Again, there are several options available, but mahogany, teak, cedar and redwood are frequent picks because of their natural resistance to cool, humid interiors. Shelves and racks can be constructed to store and display bottles however you choose. Wire racks and lattices also work well.

If you’re looking for a homebuilder to help you construct your wine cellar, be sure to choose one with specific expertise in building wine cellars. Here at Wright Building Company, we have often worked with architects that specialize in wine cellars. The company should also be fully licensed and stand behind its work. Once your wine cellar is completed, you can feel free to pour a glass and expand your collection