Designing a Wine Cellar: 7 Tips to Ensure a Smooth Project

Building a wine cellar is a great way to boost the value of your home while providing a space to showcase vintages, entertain guests, and preserve or age your wine.

Modular wood wine racksmetal racking systems, and combo kits are ideal for creating your dream wine cellar or wine room.

With these innovative products, you don’t need to know how to build a wine cabinet. DIY wine racks by top brands like InstaCellar and CellarVue come with everything your contractor needs to start building out your wine cellar.

There are many things to consider as you map out the design of your wine cellar. In fact, installing racks is one of the last steps in the process. Our wine storage experts have put together this list of tips to help ensure your project goes smoothly.

1. Choose your cellar location wisely.

A wine cellar should be located in a cool, dark area of your home with no direct sunlight, such as a closet, pantry, or basement. Choosing a space that maintains a consistent temperature throughout the day will minimize the amount of work you need to do to create optimal conditions for wine storage.

Basements are ideal since they tend to be much cooler and more humid than above-ground floors. They’re also typically free of other issues, such as food smells, natural light, and vibration. 

If you don’t have a basement, not to worry. It’s possible to build a fully functional wine cellar within the main home. However, you may need to insulate the space and outfit it with a wine refrigeration unit (more on that ahead).

If you’re wondering how to build a wine rack in a cabinetstackable wine racks are a good option for small wine collections.

2. Get help with cellar design.

Building a cellar, even a relatively small one, can feel overwhelming. There are so many DIY wine rack options, it’s hard to choose. If you’re not sure where to begin, get expert help.

Jot down the following:

  • Where you want to build the cellar or wine room
  • The dimensions of the space
  • How many bottles you need to store (and your future needs)
  • Whether you’re leaning towards traditional wood racks, stylish metal racks, or a combination of the two

Take some time to browse photos of finished wine cellars online for inspiration. If you already know how you want the space to look and feel, sketch it out on paper. All of this will help you get started in creating your ideal wine cellar.

3. Think about your future storage needs.

It’s one thing to take stock of your current wine collection, but you also need to plan for your future needs. Think about how many bottles you open every week or month for yourself, how many bottles you use for dinner parties or give as gifts, etc. If you aren’t turning over enough wine, space becomes a premium.

You’ll want plenty of storage space for new bottles you plan to drink 3, 5, or 10 years from now. Without room for turnover, you’re left with the expensive option of buying mature wine, which offers no guarantees on how the wine was stored or treated.

4. Use different style racks to create a dynamic space.

Old-school wine cellars were utilitarian, designed to store as many bottles as possible. Today, wine rooms are dynamic, visually interesting spaces used for entertaining.

To show off your finest bottles, use showcase displays with backlighting. To create the illusion of depth and increase storage capacity, use waterfall racks facing into the room. Waterfall racks are also great for creating nooks within the room, for a more immersive experience. 

If you’re concerned about the aesthetics of empty space, you can address this with the right combination of wine storage racks. For example, keep eye-catching label-forward displays well stocked. For bulk storage, choose double deep racks, with the front row well stocked.

5. Invest in a proper cooling system.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is not insulating or properly cooling their wine cellar. If the space you choose for your wine cellar is above ground in a room that’s on the perimeter of the home, you may need additional insulation—especially if the room is on a south or west-facing wall (in the Northern Hemisphere).

Work with your builder or contractor to determine what kind of special insulation the space might need. Keep in mind that you are essentially trying to create a cavern—cool, dark, and relatively humid.

wine refrigeration system will help maintain the ideal cellar environment. Unless you’re building a wine cellar in the basement, you will likely need a cooling unit. Thankfully, there are options today for every application, including through-wall, split, and ducted systems, as well as humidifier units.

6. Catalog your inventory.

If you have a very large wine collection (1,000 bottles or more) and plan to grow your collection in the future, inventory management becomes critical.

Wine should be stored on its side, and the most efficient way to do this is by storing the majority of your bottles in traditional wine racks (with the cork facing outward). But storing wine this way makes it impossible to see the labels.

You’ll need a catalog system, so you can retrieve bottles quickly.

First, decide how to sort your wine. You can do so by color, by grape, by region, by wine producer, by expiration, or by price.

Next, you tag your bottles with an organized labeling system that includes the following information:

  • Name of the wine
  • Type of wine
  • Vintage
  • Region
  • “Drink by” date
  • Price
  • Date purchased
  • Wine seller

Finally, catalog your collection digitally. There are lots of wine inventory software apps to help you catalog your wines and monitor consumption. Some apps and software even suggest ideal drinking windows.

7. Show off your best vintages.

A modern cellar is more than just a place to store wine. It is an integral feature of a home, contributing to its aesthetic (and economic) value. Thankfully, there is no shortage of options when it comes to building a beautiful wine cellar.

Forward-thinking brands like CellarVue, VintageView, and InstaCellar make it easy to create stunning displays with wine wallsarcheswaterfall racks, and showcase displays.

Full-height displays make the most of vertical space, while bins and cubes hold a variety of bottle sizes and help balance the space. And of course, you’ll want to put the finishing touches on your wine cellar with a tasting table—perfect for entertaining.

Build Your Dream Wine Cellar with Wine Racks America

Wine Racks America is a leader in innovative wine storage solutions. We offer a huge selection of DIY wine racks from top names in the industry, from VintageView to InstaCellar. Our modular CellarVue collection combines traditional wood and metal racking systems, with beautiful results.

With decades in the industry, our expertise has made us the premier manufacturer of wine storage solutions. We offer DIY kits, cooling systems, and full cellar designs. Wine Racks America is your one-stop shop for everything wine storage—explore our products and services online.

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