Just about any room in your Chicago home can be converted into a high-capacity and great-looking wine cellar.
A residential ‘custom wine cellar’ by definition means creating a unique place in your home to store your wine collection with the racking customized to the shape and size of the room.
There is, however, much more to create a custom wine cellar than that. A true wine cellar will be climate controlled, efficient, and potentially also a place to show off your wine collection by creating a beautiful display.
On this blog, Custom Wine Cellars Chicago will, through a series of articles, talk about all aspects of creating and using customized wine cellars. In this article, we will focus on the first step, ‘picking the right room to convert in the first place. We will discuss the primary things to think about when making this initial decision.
The bottom line is that the room you pick to convert can make a significant difference to the annual cost of maintaining your wine cellar’s climate-controlled environment.
In most climates, a wine cellar cooling system of some kind will need to be installed. This is particularly true for Chicago but also relevant to most locations in the U.S. This is because wine needs to be stored in a stable environment of about 56 degrees Fahrenheit, 13 degrees Celsius. Steady humidity of about 60% is also an important factor. Most homes vary dramatically outside of these levels, through day/night and seasonal cycles.
The room you select therefore needs to be structurally converted with appropriate insulation, correctly installed vapor barriers, and sealed around all access points in order to maintain this environment continuously. Getting this wrong can lead to higher costs due to:
- An overpowered Wine Cellar Refrigeration Unit that otherwise might be necessary
- A cooling system that runs far too much due to climate leakage, can lead to excessive cooling costs and the cooling system breaking down through over usage
- Mold forming in the room over time
- Your wine collection not aging correctly or even spoiling
These are common problems caused by custom wine cellars being installed by general builders and inexperienced contractors.
It’s important to take all these factors into account when starting a home wine cellar project.
For example, selecting a room that is poorly insulted on a south-facing external wall can therefore be a maintenance nightmare.
Getting a great wine cellar design can make a big difference to the overall capacity of your wine room, how good-looking the final result will be, and most importantly how stable it is.
The design plans of the wine cellar should include all factors important to your wine cellar, not just the racking. Consider insulation, vapor barriers, a wine cellar door that will seal and withstand the difference in climate over time, and lighting that will both look good but not upset the climate by generating too much heat.
In future articles, we will discuss these topics in more depth and many other aspects of wine cellar design. Up for discussion will be aesthetic choices of materials and products you can make use of to make your wine cellar one that stands out from the crowd.
Some of the topics for future discussion:
- The correct size and type of wine cellar cooling system
- The size and use of your wine room
- The floor of your wine cellar
- Wine cellar lighting ideas
- Planning for the wine your cellar will need to store
- Different types of wine racks
- Sizes: 750ml, magnum, smaller split or half size
- Materials, wood species, metal types
- Styles, standard, display, ‘X’ cube, ‘X’ bin, horizontal label forward, solid, lattice, case storage, waterfall displays, and many more
- Special features, display tables, arches, hand-carved features
- Purpose-built wine cellar doors
- Glass walls
- Budgeting and growing your wine collection
- Wine parties and entertainment
- A wine cellar as a feature in your home and its impact on resale value
Clearly, there is much to think about from both aesthetic and engineering perspectives when building a wine cellar. Everything starts with a great custom wine cellar design that takes into account where your room is situated in your home, its current construction, and how you plan to actually use your wine cellar.