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The good guide to wine cellar design

Being a wine connoisseur, you always found it unacceptable that you do not have the appropriate storage place for your collection of vintage wines. All your dream home now needs to make it absolutely perfect is a wine cellar were you can store all your wines bought over the holiday season for later enjoyment or to toast a later special occasion. You might also consider having fun experimenting and analyzing the wine as it matures and make notes of its changes in tastes and structure as it matures over time. By adding such a storage room to you home enables you do buy young wines and allow it to mature to its optimum state and derive the greatest benefit from it.

If you are planning a new home it might be easier to allow for this space within the architecture of the building for optimal ambient results within the cellar, but even with a little initiative a lot of futile spaces in your existing home can be converted to a wine cellar. All that is required for such a cellar is temperature which can be controlled, moderate humidity, good ventilation and to be as dark as possible. If you have a large enough space you could even include a table or comfortable couch for the occasional private wine tasting in peace and quiet.

Below follows a few key factors to consider when planning you own wine cellar:

Temperature

Temperature is at the top of the list for the reason that it is the single most important factor to consider when planning or installing your own wine cellar. The wines should be stored at a constant temperature as far as possible as fluctuations in temperature will damage the wines over time. It is said that the most favorable temperature range for a wide variety of wines is between 6 and 18 degrees Celsius, the higher the temperature the earlier the wines will mature. It might be wise to get a more accurate opinion from a wine maker for a specific type of wine that needs to be stored.

Humidity

To keep the corks of the wines elastic and to prevent shrinkage thereof an optimal humidity level of 70 per cent is most often specified. Depending on the type of wine collection in your cellar a humidity level of between 60 and 80 per cent would also suffice to keep the corks resilient enough to allow the most advantageous ‘breathing’ of the wines.

Light

Wine ages prematurely when subjected to too much light during its bottled lifetime, hence the darker colored glass bottles for packaging. Ensure that your wines are kept in complete darkness as far as possible especially if there are clear bottled wines in your collection. The most favored source of lighting for any type of wine cellar is incandescent or sodium vapor lights.

Ventilation

A constant airflow though the cellar is imperative for the non-contamination of the corks of the bottles and keeping the impurities in the surrounding air out of the wines. Never store food or other goods even if it is packages in your cellar as this could also penetrate the wines through the corks especially when the ventilation in the room is not sufficient. By ensuring a steady air flow in your cellar you can be sure the wine maintains its original taste.

Position

As far as possible plan your wine cellar as far away from noise and vibrations for example next to the garage or if your property faces a busy main road rather try to place your cellar at the back of the house where it can have peace and quiet away from vibrations that will disturb the red wine sediment and spoil the wine. The wines should be stored in a horizontal position in shelves so that the wine stays in contact with the cork and should be moved as rarely as possible.

Future planning and expansion of the wine cellar should be carefully planned beforehand so that the existing precious wines are not disturbed when shelves are added onto the space.