Wine Walls vs Wine Cellars and Wine Rooms
Wine cellars, wine walls and wine rooms—what’s the difference and what should you build? The answer comes down to personal preference—what do you plan to use it for?
- Space-related storage solution
- Style & interior design
- Aging your bottles
- Fun, function or both
The beauty of all 3 wine storage solutions is that they are completely customizable to each connoisseur and are all about wine. There are several environmental factors to consider when selecting which of the 3 options is best for your space:
- Proper temperature for wine storage is 12–14°C (55-59°F)
- Proper humidity for wine storage is 55-75%
- Lighting (or lack thereof)
- Sound and vibrations
Wine walls are aesthetically pleasing, often smaller in magnitude and can still be temperature controlled if behind a glass wall or cabinet.
Materials and labeling configuration are an important factor in wine wall construction. Before getting started, consider:
- Will you be using a peg system or column racking?
- Are the pegs going to be affixed to wood, concrete or drywall?
- Are you planning to have the labels or the corks face outwards?
Avoiding direct sunlight is also a critical component of building a wine wall versus a wine cellar. If your wine wall location will be receiving direct sunlight, you may want too move it. You may have to consider devoting an entire, enclosed space, like a basement wine cellar, to your collection instead.
A wine wall can offer you just as much storage space as a standard sized wine cellar and climate control is not impossible provided it is in glass.
Wine walls are not necessarily the most cost effective solution but this is often the case due to square footage and, if omitting this portion, the lack of humidity control and glass.
If you want your wine hidden away in a basement, stored in a traditional european-style wine cellar or as a decorative focal point, or stored in an otherwise “walk in” space, you’re going to want to begin exploring wine cellar options over a wine wall.
As noted above, a wine cellar isn’t necessarily the only way to store a larger quantity of wine, but it will give you more space to play with.
Movement and vibrations are another consideration. Those familiar with Frequency Winery will have heard how the son of award-winning winery Vibrant Vines owners would use his parents’ wine cellar for band practice until they noticed how the vibrations were altering the sedimentation process. While this brand has worked to weave this fun twist into their wine and vines, excessive vibration can, if left unchecked, cause damage to your wines in storage. While proper building techniques and insulation should be implemented in every cellar, selecting the best location for your home is the place to start, for example:
- Adding a wine cellar under the stairs of the classic and common Okanagan-standard: a1960’s suite-able split level home, is an ideal storage solution for many
- Adding a wine cellar under the high traffic of stairs in a busy home with upstairs sleeping quarters such as those built in Kettle Valley, Glenmore and other newer developments might not be best for vibrations, and at the very least will add in considerations of where to place the bottles
The difference between a wine room and a wine cellar can, at times, be merely a matter of interpretation. Across the pond in Europe, where the practice gained much of its original popularity, Sebastian Riley-Smith, Smith & Taylor Chelsea Bridge Cellars in London puts it down to location and linguistics: “The term room also implies a twist of display. Cellar implies storage.” Typically, cellars are underground whereas rooms are usually part of your main floor living.
In short, in Europe it is generally felt that a “room” is for human use and in this case, entertaining; a cellar is merely a dark space for storage.
In North America, and increasingly in the Okanagan, a wine room is a functional place to store your bottles, enjoy a space dedicated to wine, and entertain your guests. Things to consider when deciding whether to build a wine room are:
- Cleanup: Should your wine room have a wet bar or dishwasher?
- Comfort: Your wine room will be chillier than others. Is there a place to store warm blankets? Will a faux fire add to the cozy vibe?
- Layout: Your wine wall, cellar or room can all be organized alphabetically, by region, variety or style.
- Impulsivity is a real consideration for most clients when it comes to entertaining. Special bottles and those left to age are often left out of sight or in hard-to-reach places to be left out of mind (and well away from being underappreciated during a 2am “good idea” during a late night of entertaining).
Several bottles of intact wine have been recovered from the infamous RMS Titanic and various other wrackages.
This has given rise to a new aging technique of ocean aging or aquaior first attempted by Napa Valley’s Mira Winery and popular in Croatia
A wine room is a luxury entertaining space. As Okanagan cellar building experts, we know that no two wine cellars are created equal — and it’s a challenge we love to rise to:
- Wine-Cigar Room Combo this duo combines luxury and tradition with limitless possibilities.
- Faux exposed rockwork to give the impression you have truly tunneled under your home (and your guests will never know!)
- Library Wine Room Combos are when Beauty and the Beast meets an upscale hotel lounge and the result is almost always a grand man cave complete with leather and low lighting accents.
- Spiral In-Floor Wine Portals have been gaining popularity in small spaces and can store an incredible amount of wine.
- Secret Speakeasy style wine rooms take a fun 1930s theme while also adding a second unique feature to your home: a secret passageway!
- Wine house: now that’s something else! The sky’s the limit when it comes to wine and while we’ve built commercial distilleries in the Okanagan, we haven’t had the pleasure of building an entire wine outbuilding like this 648-square foot cottage one in Utah just yet.
Is it better to build a wine wall or wine cellar in the Okanagan?
How do you decide which is a fit for you: a wine cellar vs wine room? The devil is in both the functional and stylistic details:
- Is this a place solely for storage, or guest entertainment? A room with entertaining space might be your answer.
- Would you like to omit climate control? A dark corner of your basement is absolutely the preferable location.
Essentially, the biggest consideration when choosing between a Okanagan wine wall, wine cellar and wine room in 2022 is personal preference in terms of style, storage and usage. All 3 options can maintain the correct temperature, humidity and store any number of wines.
If you have a wine collection and are looking for a custom solution, contact our team for a free no-obligation consultation.