Lately we have had a lot of people asking about how to set up their wine cellar. Not everyone has a heap of space in their house or an underground old tank they could convert so where do you start if you are looking to stow away some of those special wines for a rainy day?
While you are considering your cellar no doubt the only question on your mind is where to put it? Once you know where it must go it is as simple as setting it up.
To decide the best location we recommend thinking about the following:
Step 1 / Temperature control
This is the first and most important part of the planning and largely it will depend on how much wine you have to store. In an ideal world your cellar should be a consistent 12 degrees (varying up or down by a couple of degrees is ok). You will want to find a space which will help to keep the wines in a stable environment; so think anywhere away from the windows and natural light.
Step 2 / Humidity Control
In addition to a consistent temperature is also a consistent humidity level. This is really important if you plan on having some corked wines in there. Not so critical if you have everything under Stelvin cap. The recommended humidity is between 55-57% to avoid any moulding (if too high) or drying out of the cork (if too low).
If your house has high humidity you will probably notice fogging and condensation on your windows and mould popping up (aka in the bathroom). If your house is a bit dry that’s when you notice cracking in the paint work, a bit of static under foot. A hygrometer will help you determine the humidity if you’re not sure. It’s worth getting one and placing it around the home to see what’s happening. Once you know the humidity level there are a lot of ways to manage keeping humidity stable.
Step 3 / Space
How much wine do you have to store or think you will store? If you are like Alister Purbrick you will need about 6 cellars dotted around the place! But if you are planning on doing this as a hobby you’ll probably find you don’t need too much space. As a guide around 200 bottles of wine (approx. 17 dozen) can be comfortably stored in around 2.5 square meters of space.
Step 4 / Find a location
Considering all of the factors above will hopefully help you find a location in or outside of your house or apartment which is suitable.
Step 5 / Set it up
Now the fun part (depending on your personality style – you might be a planner not an actioner!). There are a few things to think about when building your cellar or wine storage area.
- Do you need insulation?
Insulation acts as an insulator and vapour barrier.
- Do you need a wine cooling unit?
Controlling both temperature and humidity a cooling unit could be helpful if you have decided on a tricky location or your house is not suited to cellaring and storing wine. If you go this way you will need a space for an exhaust room.
- What sort of lighting do you want in there?
Remembering you don’t want to boost the temperature in there stick to LEDs, lighting tracks and ways you can show off your collection of wine.
- Make sure the door is sealed.
And that would be about it!
It’s never too late to get your wine storage sorted.
What are you waiting for?