Building a wine cellar at home is an ideal way to store a wine collection. A cellar should be designed to correctly store wine as it ages, ensuring that the wine develops complexity and depth and does not spoil.
Building your own wine cellar from the ground up – or more likely, the basement up – may seem like an overwhelming task, but the proverbial first step is usually the most difficult. It usually starts with collecting the first bottle and eventually finding that your collection has grown to a point that you cannot store it without a cellar.
A well-constructed wine cellar can cost many thousands of dollars but so can a large refrigerated wine cabinet so often a custom built wine cellar at home can be the most economical and cost effective way of storing your wine.
There are several things to consider before you start building a wine cellar.
Cellar temperature should be a chief consideration and also the amount of natural light. Ensure the room is well insulated - extruded polystyrene insulation is ideal. If you live in a mild climate you may be able to build a passive wine cellar that requires no cooling system.
A wine cellar is usually built with thicker walls. Two-by-six construction provides space for quality insulation, allowing the cellar to remain at a constant temperature. In an active wine cellar, major factors such as temperature and humidity are maintained by a cooling system.
Temperature swings will quickly destroy your precious wine collection. Small temperature fluctuations from season to season will not damage the wine but those same temperature fluctuations on a daily or even weekly basis will cause your wine to age prematurely. Temperature should always be between 45 and 60 degrees F, and avoid direct sunlight. Thus, you can often successfully create a wine cellar in a closet and a humidity level between 50% and 80% is ideal for all types of wine.
Your must avoid vibration when storing wine; it agitates the bottle and speeds up the chemical reactions taking place inside the bottle - and not in a good way.
Vibration is a major issue during the transportation and is the reason winemakers recommend allowing your wine to rest after travel. This is important, also, when you buy wine from a winery or even from your local wine outlet. Never take it home and pull the cork out without allowing it to rest. In fact, all wine should be immediately placed in your cellar.
Note that it is not just your wine which is valuable; the cellar itself will improve the value of your home. So, the bigger and better your cellar, the more the value of your house goes up as well.
Unless you live in a very cold climate a wine cellar is generally a lower temperature environment compared with its surrounding living spaces and therefore must be treated differently in relation to those spaces. If the temperature in your wine cellar suggests that it requires cooling do not attempt to cool it by using a domestic air conditioning unit. Domestic air conditioning removes the humidity from the air and will quickly destroy your wine collection by drying out the corks. There are many brands of wine cellar cooling units available to cool any size wine cellar. Your wine cellar is a personal statement, and will become one of the most important areas in your home. It is the place where you will indulge your passion for collecting fine wine and where you will display your precious acquisitions. Discover how to build your own home wine cellar and, if you have the space, why not consider incorporating a bar and tasting area.
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