You can't be an official oenophile if you don't know how to build a wine cellar in which to store your precious stash of delicious wines. Building a wine cellar is actually pretty easy and can be as elaborate as your wallet allows. A simple wine cellar may be constructed in a weekend but fancier rooms may take a while to put together.
To build a wine cellar, you will need:
- A suitable room which can be temperature and moisture controlled, such as a cellar
- Appropriate treatments for floor: Either R-19 insulation (for non-concrete floors) or concrete sealant (for concrete floors)
- R-19 insulation for ceiling
- Shades or window treatments for any windows to deflect UV rays
- A refrigeration system
- Wine bottle shelving for storage. Buy more than you'll think you need
- Insulate the ceiling with a minimum of R-19 insulation. To store wines for the long term, wine cellars must remain at a constant temperature and moisture content. The ceiling should contain a vapor barrier and then insulation to keep the humidity at the right level. A 6-8 mil sheet of plastic sheeting will work perfectly as a vapor barrier.
- Prepare the flooring to be suitable to a wine cellar. If you're making a wine cellar from a cement basement, you must create a vapor barrier by applying concrete sealant to the floor. If your wine cellar is being built above ground, any flooring my have a vapor barrier and be insulated with the same R-19 insulation you used in the walls.
- Install lighting and cooling equipment. UV light will destroy wine so windows are not a particular accoutrement in a wine cellar. Instead, shade any windows and install dim light within the room. Select the right sized refrigeration system to keep your wine cellar between 50 and 60 degrees F.
- Select your shelving. Wine bottle storage has evolved to many sizes and types over the years but the best wine bottle storage systems will always store your wines on their sides to keep the corks moist. Install more shelving than you think you'll need as you can always store more wine.
- If you plan to use your wine cellar to entertain guests, install furniture or possibly a wet bar. Adding candles and a few attractive wine glasses and trays for cheese and crackers is sure to impress your friends.