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If you love a good bottle of wine, you’ve probably spent time wondering How To Build Your Own Home Wine Cellar, attended numerous wine tastings, and scoured food and wine magazines to find new and interesting varietals to add to your collection.

And however small your collection may be, you probably have dreamed about having your very own wine cellar with room to build on to that collection. Perhaps you dream of hosting your own wine tasting parties in the wine cellar, complete with the requisite bread, cheese and fruit tray.

How to Build Your Own Wine Cellar for Storing and Aging Wine

Build your own wine cellar

Wine cellar

A true collector and appreciator of wine is also interested in the correct storing and aging of wine so that the vintage carries its characteristics, complexity, and quality from the time that you purchase the wine until you decide to uncork it and enjoy it.

Many companies exist that will install a wine cellar in your basement, an extra closet, or other unused space in your home, but the price tag on these installation may be more than you want to fork out. If you are any kind of do-it-yourselfer you may be better off keeping the money in your pocket and using it on your next ten bottles of wine, and learn to build your own wine cellar.

You’ll find numerous step-by-step instructions on how to build your own wine cellar across the Internet, but in reviewing the websites, I found that some were missing key elements of a true, quality wine cellar, one that will keep the wine at its best throughout its life or aging process. But there was one guide that I’ll tell you about, that covers step-by-step instructions for installing essential aspects of a proper wine cellar environment, such as refrigeration, insulation and vapor barriers.

If any one of these essentials is missing from your wine cellar you risk damaging your wine collection as well as the walls in your home. So you want to build the cellar under the direction of someone who understands the value of having a well-constructed, worry-free wine cellar.

After all, you want to get to the actual wine tasting and know that when you’ve pulled the cork from the bottle in front of the guests you invited to your wine tasting party that you won’t find a rotted cork, rancid smelling wine, or the like. You’ll want to dip your nose into a glass of wine with a beautiful bouquet that has been slowly aged to perfection.

How to Build Your Own Wine Cellar Cheaply and Easily

Build Your Own Home Wine Cellar is a do it yourself guide written by Chris Miley, a self-proclaimed oenophile. It’s an electronic guide that you can easily download after purchase.

The e-guide covers the full process of installing a wine cellar cheaply and easily, with explanations for the reasoning behind all aspects of wine cellar construction. The guide includes step-by-step directions that include everything you need for a custom-built home wine cellar:

  • Building a stud wall
  • Selecting and adding insulation
  • Installing a vapor barrier (prevents moisture damage to cellar and walls)
  • Installing wall lining
  • Selecting a door
  • Selecting and installing lighting
  • Installing a cooling unit

Also included in the e-guide are extra tips on topics ranging from inventory control and wine cellar management to wine tasting, to wine glass selection, and many interesting topics in between.

If you purchase the book, you’ll have everything you need to create a beautiful home wine cellar. The following tips for learning how to build your own wine cellar may prove useful as well.

How to Build Your Own Wine Cellar Considerations

Cellar Wall & Ceiling Covering

Build your own wine cellar

Wine cellar

The ceiling must have R-19 minimum insulation and a vapor barrier (read more on the vapor barrier below). The interior ceiling and wall covering material must be rot and mildew-resistant. A good rule of thumb when building a cellar is that the thicker the walls, the better the insulation, and the better the cellar will hold a consistent temperature.

Drywall green board is sometimes used and then painted with latex paint, redwood, or granite or other stone walls are attractive choices as well, all depending on the décor you intend for your wine cellar. Whatever you choose for your walls and ceiling, all cracks must be filled in. An expanding spray foam works well for closing off those cracks.

As a rule, Cedar is NEVER used because of its strong scent; it will taint wine.

The Vapor Barrier

To create a vapor barrier, install 6-8 mil plastic sheeting on the warm side of the insulation. Wrap the entire interior with the plastic, leaving it loose at a stud cavity because insulation will be set between each stud. To ensure a complete vapor barrier, all walls and the ceiling must be fully wrapped in the plastic.

Finished Wall Surface Materials

All paints and stains used on the interior walls and ceiling must be water-based and the cellar must be completely aired out after application and before adding wine to rid the cellar of odors that will affect the wine.

Wine Cellar Flooring Materials

Just about any type of flooring can be used in your wine cellar, accept carpet. NEVER use carpet. Good choices include slate, marble, tile, and vinyl. Carpet is prone to mildew and mold under the damp, cool, environment of a wine cellar.

If the wine cellar has a concrete floor on the ground floor of your home, you’ll need to seal the floor with a water-based sealant. And if you are going to lay vinyl or tile on top of the concrete, you’ll want to ensure that the sealant used on the concrete is compatible with their adhesive.

In addition, the concrete floor will need a vapor barrier applied to it, but may not need insulation. Above ground floors (like a second story wine cellar) need R19 insulation and a vapor barrier.

Wine Cellar Doors

Wine cellars with cooling systems require an exterior grade door of 1 3/4” with air-tight weather stripping completely surrounding all 4 sides of the door’s doorjamb. A frequent cause of continuously running cooling systems is due to the door not being properly sealed. Solid core, insulated, or double-paned, insulated glass doors are used most often. A sweep at the door’s bottom edge, or a threshold, is also very important to have in place.

Also seal around vents, light switches, pipes, and other places that might cause a breach in the air quality of your wine cellar. You can’t over-insulate or over-seal a home wine cellar.

Wine Cellar Cooling Systems

For a climate-controlled wine cellar, you will want to install a cooling system that will keep the cellar temperature between 55 and 58 °F and humidity at 50 to 70%. Many cooling systems come with built-in humidity management, but if yours does not, you may need to consider a humidification system.

Refrigeration requirements are determined by room volume (cubic area), climate and your wine cellar’s total R factors. Cubic area is calculated by: Width  x  Depth  x  Height.

Wine Cellar Racks

Wine cellar racks

Wine cellar racks

Wine racks or racking is available in a variety of wood and metal designs. Mahogany and Redwood are commonly used in wine racks as both are rot- and mildew-resistant. Wire lattice is sometimes used, as well. Again, Cedar should not be used because of its odor.

Wine Cellar Lighting

If your wine cellar has a recessed ceiling, air-tight “can” lights are popular, as is track lighting. To control brightness in the room, install dimmer switches.

These tips should provide a good start to learning how to build your own wine cellar, and for more information check out Chris Miley’s e-guide:

How To Build Your Own Home Wine Cellar

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