Wine is big business and wine cellars are increasingly popular with home buyers. I have friends who are dedicated wine connoisseurs. They bought a home for the 1950′s bomb shelter in the basement. A little remodeling and it now houses their growing wine collection.
The installation of refrigerated and climate controlled wine cellars is the current rage. According to the Wine Market Council, per capita wine consumption in the U.S. reached a record high last year. Homeowners are remodeling basement nooks, under stairway space, spare rooms and (like my friends) bomb shelters to house cases of their favorite vino. Many builders are including wine cellars in new upscale home plans.
To protect wine and keep precious vintages from turning into expensive vinegar, wine cellars must maintain a temperature of 52 to 55 degrees and a humidity of 50% to 70%. Wine cellar walls must be insulated, a cooling unit and racks installed, often a custom floor and lighting are included, and special doors that seal in the temperature and humidity are required. Wine cellars run the gamut from utilitarian pre-fab kit rooms to opulent custom cellars with mahogany racks and tasting bars with seating.
Even if a full wine cellar doesn’t fit the budget, many homeowners are adding a small wine rack and a wine cooler to the kitchen or bar. A few tips from wine connoisseurs:
- Store bottles horizontally so the cork stays moist which keeps oxygen out and prevents the wine from turning to vinegar.
- Place racks out of the sunlight which can prematurely age wine.
- Keep wine at a constant temperature. Red wines at 50 to 55 degrees; whites slightly lower.
- Keep wine at a humidity of 50% to 70%.
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