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9 Things to Decide BEFORE You Start Creating Your Home Wine Cellar

9 Things to Decide BEFORE You Start Creating Your Home Wine Cellar

Maybe you started your wine collection with a few special wine bottles you picked up here and there. Then as time went on, your collection grew, bottle by bottle. And now that you have a sizeable collection, you realize there is no better time to install a home wine cellar to protect this growing investment! However, before you jump in and start randomly purchasing racks and wine cooling units, there are a few more decisions you should make. Thinking ahead will save you time and money and make the design, planning, and installation process much smoother.

9 Things to Decide BEFORE You Start Creating Your Home Wine Cellar

1. How Much Wine Do You Have?

First, in order to properly plan your home wine cellar, you should figure out the approximate number of bottles you want to store and decide if you'll be growing your collection or keeping it around the same size. This is the most important decision to make, as everything starts from here.

2. What Kinds of Wine Are You Storing?

Even though all wine types should be stored in similar conditions, whites, rosés, and sparkling wines are more susceptible to UV light and may need extra considerations depending on your storage plan. Incorporating Dual Zone or Multi Zone temperature-controlled coolers will also allow you to keep them more chilled and closer to drinking temperature than your reds.

3. What Kinds of Bottles Are You Storing?

Because bottle sizes vary, pay attention to any oddly shaped bottles that might not fit well in commonly sized racks (champagnes, Burgundy bottles, and icewines, for instance) and make sure they have a place in your plan. Also, the key reason for storing bottles horizontally is to keep the cork from drying out and allowing excess oxygen in the bottle. If you have a lot of screw-top bottles, you can store those vertically and save horizontal space in your wine rack.

4. How Long Will You Age Your Wine?

Some wines are meant to be aged longer than others, and because vibration and movement can damage your wine, once you store your wine, it's best for it to stay put. Your wine cellar might look different if you are planning on keeping your bottles a few months versus 10 years or more.

Long term storage will require a stable and highly controlled environment and might be a bigger investment, but it will protect your more valuable, longer-aged wines. Shorter-term storage might be a little less expensive and more portable if you need to sell your home.

5. Where Will Your Wine Storage Live in Your Home?

As mentioned before in our blog, your wine storage can be anywhere in your home, although typically, creating this space is easiest in the cellar. Temperature, humidity, and protection from light are important factors in wine storage, so keep those things in mind.

If your collection is sizeable, consider any necessary changes to existing infrastructure (electrical systems and outlets, drainage, insulation, waterproof paint, and floor finishes, and structural support, for example). Integrating your collection into your home's decor and key living areas is fine too, and there are plenty of attractive cabinets and coolers available.

6. How Often Will You Access Your Collection?

You should also estimate how often you'll need to access your wine. If you have closed storage (versus an open rack), every time you open the door, you will affect the inside environment. As such, your storage plan might look different if you're entertaining friends weekly versus enjoying a bottle once a year, or If you're adding to your collection all the time versus once every 10 years.

It's also prudent to think about any extra security measures, like locking wine cooler cabinet doors, for example, to deter underage curiosity or to protect a more valuable collection.

7. What's Your Style?

Is your style chic and modern or classic and "old world?" Is your wine collection going to be part of your home's quirky charm or kept out of sight? Even if you decide that the cellar is the best place to store your wine, that doesn't mean it has to be dreary!  

Maybe you just prefer function over form and design aesthetics isn't an important factor for you. Whatever your preference, there is a home wine cellar design that will fit your taste and still keep your prized bottles safe and properly stored.

8. How Will You Organize Your Bottles?

If your collection is small enough to manage each bottle's characteristics, you might be tempted to simply add a newly acquired bottle to any available space in your rack. But as your collection grows, the way you organize your bottles can affect the storage you are building.

Will you want separate racks or coolers for each type of wine? Or perhaps you want to divide them by vintage year, or region. Will you keep your entire collection together or keep a small portion of it in a more easily accessible location?

9. What's Your Budget?

This can be a hard question to answer when considering any new purchase, but you should have a range in mind before jumping in with both feet and buying something you might not need. When considering your budget, it's also smart to keep in mind the value of the wine in your current (and future) collection.

Properly protecting your investment will maintain its value, even if it might cost a little more in the initial set up of your wine cellar. Thankfully there are many wine storage options for budgets of any size, with room for potential growth.

As you can see, there are many things to consider when planning your home wine cellar. Reach out to our expert team of design consultants at Wine Cellar HQ and schedule a free 30-minute expert consultation. Our expertise in every phase of the home wine cellar design and installation process can save you time and money and get you started on the right foot.

Randy Green

Randy is a true wine storage aficionado and expert in wine cellar design. He gained construction experience as a partner in a general contracting business before niching into and passionately focusing on creating wine storage solutions for clients in 2016. He takes great pride in bringing these designs to life, and is dedicated to ensuring that every wine cellar he creates is not only functional but also a beautiful addition to any home or business. The Wine Cellar HQ team also includes refrigeration sizing experts and licensed HVAC technicians to ensure optimal climate control for your wine cellar, so that your wines can age to perfection.
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