A personal wine cellar is more than a place to store your favorite beverages for special occasions. It’s an ideal way to keep your investments from spoiling. Unlike other alcoholic beverages, you wouldn’t want to store that $200 bottle of elegant wine in the freezer next to the vodka. When it comes time to develop your wine cellar, there are several things you need to consider before planning to convert your basement.
When setting up your wine cellar, you need to take into consideration the ambient temperature of the area. Storing wine next to furnaces or water heaters could inadvertently spoil the liquid as it may be too hot. Using insulated walls between your collection and the household heated appliances may provide protection from those high temperatures. Cooling systems are also ideal for your wine storage in order to keep the liquid at a specific temperature regardless of where you set up your wine cellar.
Lighting Can Be Problematic
Wine requires a certain level of light as it can cause chemical reactions within the bottle itself. Sunlight is especially dangerous to wines as it could greatly alter the composition of the liquid and possibly dry out the cork. Your lighting should be bright enough to see inside your cellar, but not too bright. Many home wine cellars utilize low wattage bulbs or dimming switches that are able to reduce the light. Of course this is dependent on the effect you want to have for designing your own cellar, but keep in mind the effect your lighting scheme can have on expensive bottles of wine.
Know Your Limitations
If you’re new to collecting wine, you must anticipate your own limitations. Only serious collectors plan on developing a large area that can handle hundreds of bottles simultaneously. Before investing the money to build a large and elegant area for wine storage, you may want to consider smaller storage units until you’re absolutely sure you’re ready to invest in building a separate room. Wine cabinets, refrigerators and credenzas are excellent ways to get yourself started on collection without committing the monetary and space investments to build a full-sized cellar. After you decide to commit to a larger area for your collection, these smaller units can be used to store your common wines while keeping the more expensive and luxurious bottles stored in the wine cellar.
Flooding and Moisture Considerations
If you plan on building your wine cellar in the basement of your home, you must consider the possibility of flooding. This can compromise labels, corks and the wood used for shelving. Small leaks in various pipes could cause moisture to condense allowing molds to grow. While dehumidifiers can assist in reducing the onset of molds in heavy humid areas, you need to address the possibility of a flood from a broken pipe. By installing a drainage pipe and elevating the floor of the cellar from the basement surface, you may be able to prevent possible floods from causing damage to your wine cellar.
When you consider the amount of money you will spend on purchasing various bottles of wine, you need to analyze how you’re going to keep it safe. Don’t assume that your basement alone will provide adequate protection for your bottles, and do what you can to keep your investment from spoiling or breaking. The right conditions could easily destroy your collection if you’re not paying attention.