Friday 24th Mar 2017 - Wine Cellar Sins
Common mistakes can be made by individuals who have an existing cellar or who are thinking of installing a wine cellar, whether to their private residence or as part of a commercial operation. Over the years, we have experienced various ‘wine cellar sins’ which can offer a useful guide for anyone considering investing in a wine cellar (or upgrading their current cellar).
1. Plan the wine you want to store
If you are starting from scratch, do not rush and buy wine in bulk for the sake of filling the cellar. For most avid collectors, this will not be an issue as they will already have a substantial collection they have built over the years. But for the beginner, the high investment of a wine cellar could lead to poor purchasing of wine to grace the shelves simply for the sake of making the wine cellar look full. Plan your wine purchasing first, know your wine cellar capacity and the wine that you want to fill it with and get it delivered only when the cellar is completed.
2. Store the wine properly
You need to think not just about the look of the cellar and it’s racking, but also the practicality of how the bottles are stored. Wine bottles ideally should be stored lying down and side by side, so consider racking that allows this. Often there are different styles of racking that can break up the monotony of the same design against a given wall for instance, but will providing for the best methods of storing your wine. Wines with corks should always be led down, screw cap wine can be stored upright. Consider non-standard bottle sizes such as magnums and above, also maybe a feature wall. However you do not want bottles stored in a way that could result in them moving or falling over and therefore disturbing the wine inside.
3. Store the wine for the right amount of time
We often see owners who are very meticulous with their records of their wine, some that have been collecting and purchasing wine for many years and decades. There is a reason for this! Different wines age over different periods of time. You must take advice from your supplier if the wine you have purchased is ready for drinking, will age over 1 or 2 years or even 25 years! Opening wine too early can result in missing out on the many benefits of storing wine – not only taste, but also the financial investment.
4. Store the wine in the right conditions
It is not just enough to create a superb looking cellar, it needs to maintain the ideal climatic conditions for your expensive wine collection. Think of it as a larger wine cabinet, a perfectly sealed room protecting your wine from the adverse effects of temperature fluctuation, poor humidity, inadequate ventilation and UV light (see below). Wine should be stored ideally between 12-15⁰C and humidity 65-75% to prevent corks drying, bacteria forming and to protect and ensure your wine ages perfectly and meets its full potential. In our experience there is only one way to ensure these conditions are met and that is by installing a climatic control system.
Also consider the effects that these ideal wine climate conditions may have on neighbouring rooms (to the sides, above, below). If you are constructing your cellar form new or converting an existing area, you need to install a vapour seal to the outsides borders of the walls, ceiling and floor of the room and use the correct thermal insulation to 100% guarantee no condensation will form on the internal structure of your building.
5. Do not let light into the cellar
Your wine cellar must be void of windows, or at least ensure windows block out sunlight, as together with UV rays from fluorescent lighting for instance, these will penetrate the bottle and affect the quality of the wine. Use lighting that is non UV and try to keep your wine in the dark as much as possible. Think of the classic French Chateaus with their underground cellars – perfect conditions for wine!
6. Secure your wine!
Most customers know or have an idea what is in their wine collections, either through purchasing or monitoring records or via their wine supplier. What they may not be able to ever do is replace it if the wine is not available in the marketplace. Therefore the extra cost of an alarm system or more secure door entry system when compared to a standard door lock can seem insignificant in hindsight should your cherished wine collection ever be at risk from theft or vandalism. Often the cost of such systems pails into insignificance when compared to the replacement cost of the wine itself.
7. Selecting the correct wine too drink and serving it correctly
Every bottle of wine has a story to tell. It is obvious to us that most of our customers love wine, love sharing wine and enjoying it with friends and family. It is important not only to plan and select the correct wine for your intended use, whether food pairing or as a gift, but also to make sure it is served at the correct temperature. We often supply dual temperature wine cabinet(s) for our cellar customers so they can move wine ready for drinking and bring it to the ideal serving condition. This can be very subjective, but remember that chilling white/rose wines can kill the taste and red wine will normally warm a little when it hits the glass or is held in the hand. Each wine is different, reach grape variety has its own style and there are many useful guides readily available. It would be a shame to care for your wine over many years through investing in a wine cellar without putting a little thought into that final key moment – the tasting!
WineWalls.co.uk can assist you in your wine cellar design, installation, racking and temperature/climatic control systems. Please call us for further advice and information.
Friday 10th Feb 2017 - WHY INSTALL A VAPOUR SEAL TO YOUR WINE CELLAR, WINE POD OR WINE ROOM?
If you are looking to create the perfect storage conditions for your wine collection, WineWalls will advise you on why a vapour seal is very important in the construction of your wine cellar, wine pod or wine room. Installed during the construction phase, a vapour seal is critical in controlling the temperature and humidity inside the wine store. It acts as a barrier from the internal conditions of your home, which in turn are a factor of more external influences. If you have a humid climate, then the seal will prevent warm moist air from entering the space – this can cause mould and bacteria forming. In drier climates, it helps to regulate the humidity within the wine storage space.
A vapour seal is achieved by effectively wrapping 6mm polyethylene around the space. This is achieved by applying the 6mm poly to the warm side of all the wine cellar walls, ceiling and floor on the surface behind the insulation. For interior walls, wrap the 6mm poly around all joists and studs completely, that’s all the exposed areas both between and around every single one. This is the only way to guarantee a complete and therefore impenetrable vapour seal – and there is only once opportunity to install the vapour seal before the plasterboard is fixed – it is therefore important to gain professional advice and ensure professional contractors are employed.
But why go to all this trouble, what could happen if you don’t plan and take these steps?
The ideal storage condition for your wine collection will be between 12⁰C and 15⁰C, and 55-75% humidity – it depends on the wine and personal preference largely, also external factors that may limit certain extremes of these ranges. These conditions will not be the same as those found inside your home, which typically could be kept at 21⁰C. Therefore you’re trying to make a portion of your home - the wine cellar, wine pod or wine room – cooler than the rest of your home. This will mean that the moisture and humidity that is created inside your home will move towards the cooler wine store and will inevitably condensate on contact with the much cooler fabric of the wine store.
Also, consider fluctuations of temperature and humidity within your homes as the seasons change, heating and air conditioning systems are switched up or off, more sunlight entering the home, windows and doors left open – these factors mean a fluctuating environment which is normally never noticed or generally accepted by you and your family. However, you will need to prevent these fluctuations from affecting the wine store, as the key to creating ideal storage conditions for your wine is not only establishing the correct temperature and humidity levels, but maintaining them all year round.
Without the right barrier between your wine storage space and the rest of your house, condensation will build up within your walls and quite literally destroy them as it penetrates the materials and they start to decay. A vapour seal is therefore very important, to protect and maintain the ideal wine storage environment within your wine cellar, but also to prevent the environment from outside your wine storage space from getting in!
Monday 6th Feb 2017
We've been to Bexhill today installing a beautiful Parete Vino wine display at The Waterfront Private Members Club. Here you see in our before & after images how detailed planning to the millimetre results in a trouble-free installation. Features to this stunning wine showcase include gold leaf shaped frame, coloured RGB lighting, custom sized central open shelving & temperature controlled storage for inclined bottle positions - red wine one side, white wine & champagne on the other. Now waiting for the wine delivery! Good luck to Claudio & the team for opening later this week!