So, you live in the Okanagan, drank the kool-aid that is delicious Okanagan wine, or international gems; your wine collection has amassed and you are considering how best to store it? You’ve reached the right place! Below we have put together a few simple things to think about and keep in mind when planning your very own home wine cellar.
There are two types of cellar systems; Active and Passive. Active – this type of cellar uses heating or cooling units and humidifiers to control the temperature. Passive – this type of cellar has a naturally stable temperature and humidity thanks to its location and elements. Much like the ones that have been used for centuries throughout France. Depending on your cellar’s location, you will need a more or less active cellar system to keep it in the optimal conditions for storing wine. This is a constant temperature between 45-65 degrees and a humidity level between 50-70 percent, protection from vibrations and light. For example a cellar on a heavily trafficked main floor will need more insulation and a more powerful heating/cooling unit than one located in a less-trafficked, cooler basement.
Firstly, you need to figure out the bottle capacity you need for the cellar. Keeping in mind that anyone who loves wine knows that it is a never-ending love affair, and an ever-growing wine cellar is a simple fact. So, leave room for expansion (if your space will allow it)!
Secondly, how are you going to organize your wine? If you have a love affair with Riesling, perhaps that will take center stage? Or perhaps you would rather have your wine organized by region? Think about these things and bring them to the design table!
Thirdly, what type of bottles do you need to display. Do you need room for Magnums? Do you have any spirits that you would like included in the display? This will affect the end design and is essential for your designer to know.
When it comes to the storage of your wine, it’s important not to take short-cuts. It is imperative with climate-controlling factors such as insulation and finishings like mohair on glass doors. The extra money spent here can save you some serious heating and cooling costs in the long term. It’s important to speak to specialists about these items because, although you can build a wine cellar without proper insulation – it doesn’t mean you should!
When it comes to heating and cooling units, bigger is not always better. There are several factors to consider when purchasing. If you over-shoot with your system, your unit may suffer a shorter life due to over-work, and your energy usage will be unnecessarily high.
There are also several other options to consider, such as ducted or split systems. These are all decisions an expert can consult with you on based on the size and locations of your cellar. Essentially it is important to consult an expert for this step.