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Build Your Own Wine Cellar: Home Wine Cellars

Updated on July 4, 2014

Some people think of wine simply as a fancy drink for special occasions or a night on the town. For other people, wine is an engrossing hobby. If you consider yourself a wine afficionado and are looking to take the next step, perhaps you should consider learning how to build your own wine cellar!

Building a home wine cellar will give you a convenient and safe place to store your collection and let it continue to age in the proper conditions. It keeps your home free from clutter and it's something your friends and neighbors will envy you for.

This article will talk about how to build your own wine cellar in your home or on your property. We'll talk about all the various things a home wine cellar will need to operate properly, and how you can effectively implement those in your home. We'll touch on cost and the workload involved.

Let's begin!

What It Is and Why You'd Want One: Home Wine Cellars

Before anyone considers building a home wine cellar, they need to justify the expense and labor involved with such a project. Let's talk about what a home wine cellar is and why you might want one.

A home wine cellar is a special room or alcove in your house where you store all or most of your bottles of wine. This is not a new idea, wine cellars have been around for millenia. In the past, these rooms were an absolute necessity; without electricity and refrigeration, wine could not safely be stored anywhere else without risking spoilage. Nowadays home wine cellars are more about storage and aesthetic than anything else.

There are many reasons why you might consider learning how to build your own wine cellar: first, if you have any sort of collection you'll need somewhere to put it. Leaving it in cupboards or in the back of the fridge is just asking for disaster, and the varying temperatures and light conditions of your home will eventually damage the drink. Secondly, home wine cellars are made to protect wine and allow them to age properly. Lastly, they are very cool and will impress your friends and improve the value of your home.

Build Your Own Wine Cellar: Project Requirements

In order to build your own wine cellar, you'll need to consider a few things.

Space:

First, you'll need a space to do this project in. The word 'cellar' implies a space underground, but this isn't entirely necessary. An underground space is usually ideal because the further down you go the cooler the room will be naturally, saving on refrigeration costs. However, just about any room will do nicely.

Insulation:

Your in home wine cellar should be considerably cooler than the rest of your home, certainly much cooler than you'll likely be comfortable living in. You'll need to insulate your home wine cellar fairly well for two reason: it will keep your room temperature constant and preserve the contents, and it will keep your energy bill from being astronomical. If you build your own wine cellar remember to insulate: a well sealed room will hardly need any cooling at all.

Racking:

A bottle is best stored when placed on its side, especially if it has a cork instead of a screw top. If you build your own wine cellar, you'll want to put together some racking options to keep your bottles horizontal and easy to find and read. Racking is expensive, but worthwhile; if you have guests over you don't want to be searching for a half hour for the right bottle. A home wine cellar with good racking is a breeze to use.

Refrigeration:

You'll likely need two types of refrigeration if you build your own wine cellar. First you'll want a refrigerator for any whites that you're storing. Wine cellars are more often used to keep reds, but if you have a few whites in your collection it's nice to keep them cool with a small under counter wine fridge.

Secondly you'll want a home wine cellar cooler to keep the whole space at an even temperature. Wine cellar cooling units could more accurately be seen as air conditioning. Significant variance in temperature is a bad thing for aging wines, so keeping the ambient temperature constant will help.

Cost and Ways to Save: Build Your Own Wine Cellar

If you plan to build your own wine cellar in your home, don't expect this to be a cheap project. You can control costs by managing the scale, but even the small necessities (cooling, racking, and insulation) will set you back if you undertake this project.

Some ways to save money:

-If you have a basement, sub-basement, cold room or uninsulated garage, these can all make excellent 'shells' for your home wine cellar project. They should be naturally cooler than your home, especially if they're located underground.

-Repurpose shelves or build them yourselve. Shelves are not complicated, but commercially available wine racking will set you back. You can learn how to build your own wine racks fairly easily, so all you'll pay for is lumber.

-Start small: you don't have to populate a massive room all at once. If you have a basement or cold room, keep it cool and start small. Taking a modular approach to building your own wine cellar is a great way to mitigate cost.

Good Luck!

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