The ruby wedding anniversary is a special one. Spending 40 years together gives a couple a wonderful reason to celebrate and my parents are off celebrating their 40th with a month long trip to Europe. That gives my siblings and I just 30 days to install their anniversary gift – a built-in wine cellar. They have been wine enthusiasts for years and have outgrown the freestanding wine cooler bottle holder long ago.
They live in one of those Craftsman style homes with only a crawl space so the cellar will be on the main living floor. We plan to transform a room close to the great room into a wine cellar with space to entertain. We are all somewhat “handymen and women” so building the cellar should not be very difficult. I spent hours researching all the things to plan for, shared it with my siblings and once decisions were made I ordered what was needed so the day they left we could begin.
I would hate for all the research to be packed away so thought I would share what I found so when you are ready you have it at your fingertips. There is a lot to take into consideration including insulating, ventilating, electrical, HVAC, millwork, carpentry, lighting, engineering, interior design, and so on.
Basically a wine cellar is a big refrigerator. It has to be insulated and ventilated properly so humidity is kept at a constant or it won’t function properly and could possibly cause damage to your home’s walls, ceilings, floor, and most importantly, your wine. The temperature should range between 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit so the wine will age slowly, enabling it to fully develop. In order for the temperature to remain constant proper insulation with at least R-19 rating needs to be installed as well as a vapor barrier on the warm side of the insulation so condensation will not develop. If this is not possible you may have to use a dehumidifier to control the condensation.
It is also important that the doors in a wine cellar be solid core or insulated. It is not suggested to have windows in the door or glass doors so if that is what you want make sure the glass is dual pane insulated glass. They also must be weather-stripped and air tight. When checking for air leaks keep this in mind that you can never over-insulate or over-seal your wine cellar.
Once you have the cellar designed it is crucial to purchase the correct wine cooling system. In order to do this room volume, climate and total R-factor need to be calculated. To calculate volume, use width x depth x height to get cubic area. If you have any doubt on what type of unit to purchase my suggestion would be to contact a professional company for advice.
When it comes to wall and floor surfaces carefully consider your options. Rot and mildew resistant materials are a must. For the walls and ceiling green board drywall painted with water based paints works best or if you prefer wood choose Redwoods. The same thing goes for the floor. Choose materials that will not rot or mold such as cork, tile, Redwood, or mosaic. Some wine enthusiasts go all out and create custom ceilings as well as floors. This all depends on your budget. However you decide to finish your cellar make sure everything is completely dry and odor free before the cooling unit is turned on. If not the odors will never leave the room.
Wine racking is something you can start out small with and add units as you add to your collection. Racks come in all sorts of styles and are usually wood or metal. If you already know what you want there is always the option of pre-built, semi-custom or building your own custom racks.
One last feature is the lighting. Low-voltage track lighting is usually preferred so that the unit is contained on its own. Recessed lighting is usually not a good choice due to the fact that cutting into the ceiling will invite air leaks. Remember – think airtight!
Colors and patterns that you choose are personal choice. For our parents décor the walls will be painted a deep, dark, ruby red with black and chrome accessories. We choose their décor to match the symbol of their 40th anniversary, which is a ruby. Rubies are thought to possess an eternal inner flame, which is a symbol that the passion in a marriage is still very alive and strong after 40 years together.
When they return they will be absolutely amazed with their new wine cellar. This will be the best gift ever – one that will add value to their home and that they can enjoy with family and friends for years to come.Pin It