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By
Sarah Ward

How To Build a Wine Cellar: 9 Factors of Wine Cellars

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Learning how to build a wine cellar isn’t for the faint of heart. It is, however, something any wine lover can benefit from. After you’ve collected wine and you know the best type of red wine, you need a place to put all your wine. 

For restaurants, wine bar businesses, and bar business owners, learning how to build a wine cellar gives you a better understanding of your wine collection. Your in-house sommelier will benefit the most from this information. Any wine connoisseur customers will also be impressed with your knowledge of wine storage. This will even come in handy in the hotel industry. The top 25 Michelin Star restaurants also use this sort of information.

This BinWise blog post is the place for anyone with an interest in the anatomy of a wine cellar. 

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What Is a Wine Cellar?

A wine cellar is, in plain terms, a cellar for storing a large quantity of wine. It’s built for safety in wine storage and longevity for wine. When you’re learning how to build a wine cellar, you’ll want to consider room temperature and sealing techniques. 

Keeping your wine at the right temperature will help you avoid problems like wine oxidation. It keeps your wine ready for a wine tasting party.

Wine Cellar Alternatives

If you’re looking into how to build a wine cellar but you’re not sure you need a cellar yet, there are alternatives. You can use standard shelving and look into wine display ideas. A bar cart or cabinet can also be ideal for keeping wine secure and displaying the best wines for a cocktail party.

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9 Factors of How To Build a Wine Cellar

When you’re embarking on the journey of how to build a wine cellar there’s a lot you need to know. In many cases, it’ll be more prudent to hire someone, or even consult to get an idea of everything you need for your space. If you’re set on doing the build yourself or you want to do most of it, these nine tips will get you started.

9. Consider Your Locations

When choosing the location for your wine cellar your main focus should be on how the wine will be affected by the space. You want a cool, dry spot with no natural light. Ultimately, you want a space where your wine won’t have any outside factors coming in.

8. Look Into Cooling Systems

A wine cellar cooling system plays a substantial role in the quality of your wine cellar. A wine cellar cooling unit is designed to act as a thermostat and main air control unit for your wine cellar. It controls the humidity and temperature, to keep your wine in the best condition possible.

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7. Be Careful of Leaks

In terms of wine cellar leaks, you need to be careful of leaks in air, light, and water. Any outside factors can result in your wine going bad. Your wine cellar won’t be airtight. The build should focus on maintaining the space and avoiding the potential for outside factors to come inside.

6. Install Insulation

When it comes to fortifying your wine cellar, insulation is key. A closed-cell foam insulation will often do the best job of keeping your wine secure in the room. Closed-cell foam insulation is particularly good for maintaining the humidity within your wine cellar.

5. Seal Your Floors

From the top of your wine cellar down to the floorboards–or tiles–you want to do everything you can to secure the room. Sealing your floors with a building material like concrete sets you up for wine cellar success. Above all else, avoid any carpeting, as it is an open invitation for moisture seepage. 

4. Pick Your Doors

There are so many options for doors out there. For your wine cellar, the best option is to find the doors that are designed for wine cellars. They’re specific, and pricey. If you want a cheaper option, the next best choice is an exterior-style door, which is built for keeping a good moisture barrier.

3. Consider Temperatures

This step deserves its own spot on this list because of how important it is. From your wine cooling system to the door, every part of a wine cellar is about keeping your wine at a controlled temperature. The temperature of the room should be a part of every decision you make.

2. Plan for Your Wine Collection

Whatever your reasons are for building a wine cellar there’s one thing you’ll need to plan for: the size of your wine collection. Whether you have a collection of 200 or 2000 bottles, when you’re planning your wine cellar, plan for the space you’ll need.

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1. Find Your Unique Touch

All the other steps on this list are about the technical aspects of building a wine cellar. For the number one spot, it’s important to remember that this wine cellar is specific to you. There are plenty of factors you need for the security of your wine, but don’t forget to build a wine cellar that suits you!

"Key Takeaway: A wine cellar is, in plain terms, a cellar for storing a large quantity of wine. It’s built for safety in wine storage and longevity for wine."

Frequently Asked Questions About Building Wine Cellars

The process of building wine cellars takes creativity and technical planning. It can be a lot of work, and for the sake of your wine, it’s not something you want to be unsure about. These frequently asked questions touch on some key points you’ll want to consider. They can help you decide how to build, and whether you’ll want some outside opinions and support.

Can I Build My Own Wine Cellar?

Yes, you can build your own wine cellar. You’ll need a lot of specialty equipment, and plenty of general construction knowledge. In many cases, even if you’re planning to do the majority of the work yourself, it’s helpful to consult a professional builder. That way you can make sure you’re not missing any steps or unique parts of your build.

What Is the Best Material To Build a Wine Cellar?

Some of the best and most common materials used in building a wine cellar are slate, tile, marble, and vinyl. Reclaimed wine barrel wood can be a unique and personal touch. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that won’t retain moisture to an extreme degree. You want it to work with the temperature and climate of the wine cellar.

How Much Does It Cost To Install a Wine Cellar In a Basement?

The installation cost of a wine cellar ranges from $15,000 to $180,000 depending on what type you want. On average, the cost is around $30,000 for a quality wine cellar. This cost may change if you source materials yourself and do a lot of the work. However you go about it, building a wine cellar is quite an investment. 

How Deep Does a Wine Cellar Have To Be?

The average depth of a wine cellar is around 26 inches. The ceiling should be between 8 and 10 feet high. Your storage space will take up around 6 feet, so that unused space above can be used for lights, decoration, or anything you like. These dimensions may also vary depending on the room you have to work with in your wine cellar space.

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Building Wine Cellars: Where To Keep All Your Wine 

The process of how to build a wine cellar comes in handy for home wine lovers and restaurant and bar owners alike. A wine cellar is one of the best ways to have a dedicated space for your wine collection. In the hospitality industry, it helps to improve the customer experience.

It also makes it easier to take inventory if you’re tracking your wine collection. That way, you'll know your reorder point if you’re ordering for different menu types through restaurant tech.

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