With so many of us travelling and hosting parties nowadays, one thing you may find yourself in excess of are wine bottles. And we mean good wine bottles. Ones that deserve to be opened on special occasions and sipped with close friends. The only problem? You don’t know how to store them so that they maintain their taste profile through the months and years of storage.
Enter the wine cellar. A specially made cabinet in your house that’s worth the effort for oenophiles who want nothing than the best taste every time they taste wines. The entire effort might seem daunting the first time you come across installing one for your house, but as with wines, things aren’t as complicated as people make them out to be.
With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about building a wine cellar at home. So, first things first: a cellar is about aging wine. If you haven’t spent much time drinking wines that have aged in the bottle, then explore and experiment a little, and take your time to pick your favourite wines that you want to enjoy over a longer period of time. If you get excited while tasting old wines, then cellaring might be for you.
There are few other things to be taken care of when designing a wine cellar such as:
- A good wine cellar must preferably be in a dark, closed space, not subject to vibrations, noise or smells, well ventilated but protected from drafts. Basically, as far away from the children’s rooms as possible.
- The cellar must be well ventilated, so that it never becomes too damp, to avoid any musty smells that could contaminate your wine bottles. This goes without saying, but the cellar should have no windows to avoid direct light that could be bad for maturing wine.
- Not every wine is worth cellaring. There’s a specific timespan until when the wine can be cellared. Typical examples include Cabernet Sauvignon ~10–20 years, Merlot ~7–17 years, Syrah ~5–15 years and Pinot Noir ~10 years.
A further deep dive into the milieu of the wine cellar requires you ensure the following things:
1) The atmosphere of the room and the factors affecting it are of paramount importance when it comes to cellaring. You must make sure no light, water or air leaks can take place. Also, make sure that the ceiling is well insulated. The floor should be concrete and be sealed with a proper concrete sealant.
2) Vapour barrier plastic sheets to be installed behind the insulation on the warm side of the wall (the interior of the wine cellar being the cold side). The vapour barrier acts to protect both the warm and cold side of the insulation.
3) Seal the concrete floor. A floor can be surprisingly porous and you cannot risk anything. Penetrating sealers (silanes and siloxanes) and most high-performance coatings, such as epoxies and urethane, should only be applied after the concrete has fully cured, typically in four weeks’ time.
4) Remember to furr the walls. Use either 2-inch by 2-inch strips or a 2-inch by 4-inch strips of foam and begin furring the walls. It’s best to use the so-called rigid foam board version for insulation. Thicker the walls, the better the insulation for the wine cellar. It will help the cellar adhere to varying temperatures and humidity levels of the room.
5) A wine cellar’s door needs to be an exterior grade front door with weather stripping and a proper threshold. It’s important that when closing the door it makes an audible seal and blocks the heat and warmth of the house from entering the cellar space.
6) No matter what size the space, a cooling unit for the wine cellar is a must. Wine cellars are always chilly, so you’ll need one of these mini-refrigerator units to maintain a constant chill in the generally tropical Indian weather.
7) If you’re looking for brands to do all the heavy lifting for you, look out for established players in the market. EuroCave is one of the leading names in the wine cellaring business with prices in the range of INR 1 lakh to INR 5 lakh and above. A slightly more economical option is Vestfrost Solutions.
Moving over to the furnishing and other amenities part, your wine cellar must have that wine o’clock vibe no matter what time of the day it is. A few things that will elevate your wine cellar include:
1) Wine racks, shelving or custom cabinets
2) A Wine glass box
3) A bar table and stools or some armchairs for serving and lounging
4) Good lighting that create the right ambiance
5) Barware like corkscrews, glass decanters and other accessories
6) A small wine refrigerator for champagne or fragile aged wine
That’s pretty much all there is to get you started on your journey to have a wine cellar at home. Print this story if you’re planning to create a wine cellar at home for yourself and share it with your oenophile friends. Lastly, do share your wine cellar pictures with us on Instagram by tagging us with #getgurglin .
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Gargi Shanbhag is a polyglot and bibliophile who is always up for discussing regional movies - preferably over many cups of filter kaapi.