American writer, Ernest Hemingway, once told us: ‘Wine is one of the most civilised things in the world’. And as every wine connoisseur knows, the storage of this sophisticated tipple is key to its quality. To get the most out of your wine collection, it’s best to create a designated wine room where your favourite vintages can age with care. Here are a few things to consider when putting together your own cellar.
To prolong the life of your wine collection, you need to keep it away from the damaging effects of natural light. This means choosing a corner of your home without any windows, such as a spacious cupboard or – as is conventional – a cellar. Traditional stone or concrete cellars, like the one in this estate on Mallorca, provide an ideal basis for the required 50-70% humidity and 10-15 degrees Celsius temperature. Modern basements tend to be drier and are more likely to need an air-conditioning unit to be installed to maintain these conditions.
Wine is sensitive and any on-going vibrations in the wine room can affect its ageing speed. Avoid using any rooms that are disturbed by constant traffic or train vibrations. Even slight movements caused by appliances in your house can have an impact, so it’s worth checking with a cellar designer or architect whether you’ll need to make any changes in the room above to benefit your wine collection.
Converting the room
If you already have an old cellar you may have the natural properties required to keep your wine collection in prime condition. Otherwise you will need to consider installing some insulation, vapour barriers to keep the desired temperature and humidity steady, and cooling systems.
The door will also need to be exterior grade or solid wood, and sealed on three sides. A glass door should be thermo-paned, or double-paned, to ensure there’s no condensation.
Low voltage or LED lighting is recommended to minimise any damage caused to your wine collection. Motion sensor lighting is a practical way of making sure its on for as little time as possible.
The temperature and humidity of the room will need to be constantly reviewed to avoid any corks expanding, cracking or growing mould. To keep an eye on these factors, install a thermometer and a humidity moderator on one of the walls.
Designing the room
The layout and material of your wine storage units offer room for ample creativity. Rich wooden options such as mahogany provide a traditional aesthetic, while both metal and glass have been used in more contemporary layouts to provide a contrasting high-shine finish. The cellar in our contemporary villa on the Costa del Sol fuses both timber and glass in its wine storage units and provides multiple placement and stacking options for bottles.
It’s best to store corked wine in an angled or horizontal position to avoid cork degradation. However, as many fine wines are available in screw-top form nowadays, you may also want to factor in some upright wine storage units in your cellar.
If you’re searching for a property that can house your wine collection, finding one with a cellar already, like our new-build villa in Antwerp, could be the answer. Take a look through our extensive range of properties to find more homes with those little extra luxuries that make all the difference.