This is a “two birds with one stone” post.
Firstly I’d like to welcome my newest sponsor: Joseph & Curtis. The specialty of these two gents (Joseph Kline and Curtis Dahl) is building custom wine cellars and racks for both residential and commercial clients, to suit any budget. Their work speaks for itself (as you’ll see from some of the stunning photos in this post). Needless to say I’m extremely proud that they’ve chosen to work with little-old me!
Secondly; cheeky as I am, I thought it only right that I put Joseph & Curtis to work from the get-go!
No, I didn’t ask them to turn my spare bedroom into one of their custom cellars/tasting rooms, under the guise of it making for “a really good blog post” (although the thought did cross my mind)!
Instead, I thought I’d start small, and pick their brains on the most common mistakes they encounter when vinophiles “have a go themselves” and decide to build a wine cellar.
I’m therefore going to sit back and leave you in the capable hands of Cellar-Builder-Extraordinaire Curtis Dahl for the rest of this post. Enjoy!
When deciding to build a wine cellar, people most often under-estimate the importance of where the wine cellar should be situated, both in terms of conditions and flow.
As the wine cellar has become a “destination”, it’s important to build a space where guests can frequent and not site it in the corner room in the back of the basement. This also makes it easier to avoid windows, mechanical rooms (heat is the enemy of wine), and of course areas which you cannot physically build a proper vapor barrier and insulate effectively.
Tasting Room or Not?
Along the lines of flow, we find time and time again that people are asking for tasting tables in the wine cellar, yet not realizing how cold 58 degrees really is!
If you’re just building a wine cellar to store wine it isn’t an issue, but we’re finding that more and more people enjoy being around the wine and crave a tasting area. Do yourself a favor; try to incorporate a dedicated space outside of the refrigerated area where you can enjoy your wine, or as I like to call it, the “adult playroom”.
Under-Sized Cooling systems
More often-than-not, people buy a cooling unit that just isn’t able to handle the stresses of maintaining their wine cellar environment. This is a big and potentially very costly problem!
By not taking into consideration the type of insulation, glass, lighting etc., the unit will have to work harder than normal and the compressor will most likely fail prematurely.
Blown-in spray foam is our preferred insulation, as it acts as both a vapor barrier as well as an insulator, encapsulating everything and virtually eliminating the potential for mold growth. Insulation is one of those areas where people have a tendency to cuts corners. Don’t take wine cellar insulation lightly or you have a much higher chance of mold!
Good cellar lighting serves to accent your prized wine collection, but too much light can actually heat up the environment you’ve worked so hard to create!
All wine collectors know that light and heat need to be kept in check in a cellar, and so we prefer LED lights wherever possible. We also favor air-lock cans for the ceiling fixtures, as many times I see regular cans in the ceiling which will almost certainly corrupt the vapor barrier.