What Are the Best Woods for Wine Racks?

| September 14, 2011

At Vigilant Woodworks, we choose the best materials for our wine storage products so they will last a long time. Our individual wine racks, wine cellar doors, Tuscan tables and modular wine cabinets are made from mahogany, a wood known not only for its beauty but its durability. We also offer our wine racks in pine, which accepts stain well and can be sourced locally. Here is a closer look at these materials.

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What Are The Steps In Designing My Own Wine Cellar?

| May 24, 2011

A home wine cellar can be a useful — and stylish — addition to any home.  It can also add significant value. Taking a few minutes to consider the process of a custom wine cellar construction will go a long way in insuring that you will be happy with your new room for years to come.

1. Decide on a budget. How much can you comfortably afford to spend on your new room? Consider all of the elements: wine racks, construction, cooling, build-out and any extras.2. Choose a site. Choose a place for your room that will be convenient, yet unobtrusive. Also, consider the space for the cooling system and duct work, if necessary. Don’t let space deter you from building a cellar, as closet conversions are still a great option.

3. Determine how large you’d like the wine cellar to be. How many bottles would you like your wine cellar to hold? This will be somewhat determined by your space and your budget. If possible, allow space for your collection to grow.

4. Choose a contractor. Unless you are extremely handy, you’ll also need someone to build out the wine cellar and install the cabinets and cooling system. A general contractor will work for most of the project. Some cooling systems, however, require an HVAC technician to install them.

5. Pick finishes, lighting, a cooling system and a few extras. Last is the best part: choosing the details. Decide whether you’d like natural wood in your wine cellar or perhaps a maple or cherry finish. Choose lighting (at least two types). Pick out the cooling system that best suits your needs and add artwork, decorative moldings and wine cellar furniture to put the finishing touches on your new wine cellar.

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Controlling Wine Cellar Temperature

| March 23, 2011

[caption id="attachment_664" align="alignleft" width="266"] A wine refrigerator can be added to a wine cellar to store white wines.[/caption]

Maintaining a constant, cool temperature is the best way to preserve your wine collection. After all, wine is an investment and certain conditions are needed to keep it that way.

Temperatures over 70 degrees Fahrenheit should be avoided, as that will age wine too rapidly. If heat is trapped in your wine storage area or wine cellar, it can have an effect on the taste of the wine. Also stay away from drastic changes in temperature. The rapid change from heat to air conditioning will force a wine cork outwards, allowing air to enter the bottle (air permits wine to oxidize). A little air, at the proper time, is good—as when letting a wine breathe before consuming it. Long-term exposure destroys the fruit flavors in a wine and gives it a brownish color. 

If you have a single rack or wine tower in your kitchen, dining room or living room, make sure that it sits away from the heating vents and air conditioner units. When storing wine in any kind of kitchen racks, keep wine bottles as far away as possible from heat sources and cooking units.

If you have, or are planning, a self-contained home wine cellar, consider temperature control for your cellar. Some sites are better suited for wine storage than others, such as a cool, dark basement, or space beneath a stairway. Others will need the help of a temperature control system to make sure wine is stored properly.

There are a few steps you should take before installing a wine cellar cooling unit. The cellar’s interior walls should be covered in R-11 minimum insulation, while the exterior ones should be covered in R-19 minimum insulation. The walls and floors should have vapor barriers. For walls, vapor barriers are made of polyethylene plastic sheeting and should be installed on the warm side of the wall to gather any condensation that forms from the wine cellar cooling unit. For flooring, concrete only require a vapor barrier with a concrete sealant, while other types may require R-19 insulation to protect against condensation.

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What Size Wine Cellar Will Hold My Wine Collection?

| March 9, 2011

[caption id="attachment_645" align="alignleft" width="347"] The size of your wine collection will help you determine the size of your wine cellar.[/caption]

Before you begin finalizing your wine cellar plans, it’s important to calculate the probable size of your wine collection. Figure out how large or small you would like your collection to be and the number of bottles you are currently storing. This will help you estimate the cost, size and materials needed to construct your wine cellar. A large-scale wine storage area isn’t necessary if you are planning on storing a few bottles in your home.

For smaller collections, there are a few options. Consider smaller storage options or wine racks to store your wine in an existing space in your home. Wine should be stored away from heat sources and vibration if possible. Wine cubes also work well for smaller wine collections and can easily be incorporated into the décor of any room. See our tips on storing wine for the best ways to store wine in your home.

Consider a larger wine cellar if you already have a decent amount of wine, plan to grow your collection or buy wine in bulk. Buying cases of wine is a good way to save money versus buying bottles individually and can give you access to vintages that may not be available later. Wines that age well in a wine cellar are also a wise purchase, as it can be enjoyed at a later time. For recommended aging times for common varietals, see our post on wines that age best in a wine cellar.

Use our wine cellar construction chart to help get an idea of how many bottles you can store in a certain amount of space. For example, a five foot by five foot room (with 25 square feet) will have 19 feet of usable wall space and store approximately 500 bottles. A five by ten foot room will hold about double the amount of wine bottles.

Another thing to consider is the size of the bottles you’ll be storing. Will you have all standard sized bottles or some magnum (1.5 liter) bottles? View our wine bottle sizing and storage chart to see what size bottles fit in each of our wine racks.

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Building a Wine Cellar?

| April 13, 2009

If you are thinking about building a wine cellar, there are a few important details to go over prior to making the final decision. The decision to build or not to build extends beyond the desire to store wine or entertain to the climate conditions where you live to the potential equity you are adding to your home. This means that you need to build the right way to guarantee that your money is being invested wisely.

Do your wine habits include collecting?
If not, then you might not need a private wine cellar, but may want to build some nice cooled wine cabinets into a wall in your dining area, den, study, or game room. The expense will be less and the storage conditions and ability to showcase to friends and guests will remain.

Do you live in a very dry or humid climate?
If your climate is arid or extremely wet, than you will need to take special precautions when you build-out for wine storage. These adverse conditions mean that active control for temperature and humidity in the wine storage environment will need to be controlled and constantly monitored to ensure optimal condition.

Are you going to entertain in your new wine cellar?
If the answer is yes, there are considerations that need to be made regarding the environment surrounding the cellar and the equipment within. If you will hold parties and functions, you may want to consider a wine tasting room just outside of the wine cellar. The conditions will be better for guests, as a wine cellar needs to be kept at 55 degrees F, the room surrounding does not. A tasting room is a great space to decant and serve wines, it may have a bar area with a wine refrigerator and it may even have cooled or un-cooled wine cabinets for short-term storage.

Do you have an expensive collection that needs security, safety and long-term preservation?
If yes, then a wine cellar is the way to go. Considerations needing to be made include the build-out of the room. You must make sure when building out the space that you create an air tight environment that will always meet the optimal storage conditions of 55 degrees F and 60-65% RH. You can find build-out information on our www.vigilantinc.com that will provide you with the specific guidelines you must follow to achieve this.

You need to consider how many bottles you will want to store in this new space, and also what conditions you have for cooling and humidification. The importance of the proper wine cooling system cannot be overlooked. Choosing the right cooling system for your space and requirements can mean the difference between a collection that appreciates in value and one that is ruined over time.

In addition, choose our wine cellar door wisely. This is not only the grand entrance and first impression for your guests when they see your wine cellar, but it is also the seal that separates the climate controlled environment from the rest of your home. Vigilant carries the best and highest quality wine cellar doors in the industry and the expertise to understand the environment and the must have’s for any door.

Check out the Vigilant wine storage education center for complete wine cellar construction information. Contact our experts to ensure your wine cellar project is successful.

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