BY MEGHAN STREIT, “Make It Better” Magazine, August 2016
Not just a place to store vino, the right wine cellar can be a stunning focal point in your home as well as a spot to entertain.
They say the kitchen is the heart of the home, but if you’re passionate about wine, the cellar may very well be the center of your house.
Before you add a wine cellar to your home, it’s important to think about how you intend to use the space. Michelle Labriola, director of sales and marketing for Glenview Doors, works with clients to create custom wine cellars. She begins the process by talking to people about their existing or planned wine collection and how they envision the cellar in their home. “Some people want it to be a showpiece, and want to have parties and show off their collection,” Labriola says.
“For other people, it’s very personal and private. We try to identify those objectives before getting to things like the cooling system.”
Seth Deysach, a custom furniture designer who has created wine cellars for several clients, says to give some thought to the number of bottles you intend to store to determine the right size cellar for you. While 100 bottles might initially seem like a lot, if you’re going to be traveling to wine regions and bringing home cases of wine, you may find you need a larger cellar. Deysach also says it’s important to work with an experienced team because even some reputable architects may not be versed in the specific design requirements for wine cellars.
“I had a client, they were almost done with the house, and the architect designed in the middle of a room a four-sided glass box with a door that was supposed to be the wine cellar,” Deysach says.
Labriola says her company works with HVAC experts to select the right cooling systems for clients’ wine cellars. Glenview Doors sells doors specifically designed to maintain the proper temperature and humidity level in wine cellars.
“It’s so important that the door has insulation and functionality,” says Glenview Doors owner Greg Wozniak. “We can make those doors insulated and functional, but we can also make it very pretty. Once we know style of house, we can make the door to complement the wine cellar and overall feel of house.” In September, Wozniak is planning to open Glenview Haus, a Chicago showroom with a significant emphasis on wine cellars. In addition to full wine cellars, clients will also be able to purchase smaller wine cabinets that are ideal for condos and smaller homes.
Mick Ter Haar, a sommelier and beverage director at Schaefer’s, says wine cellars should kept at about 55 degrees, and 70 percent humidity is ideal. Sunlight is bad for wine, so cellars should not be near windows. It is critical that corks remain moist, so bottles should be displayed horizontally, Ter Haar says.
As for what to stock in your wine cellar, Ter Haar says that about 75 percent of bottles should be for everyday drinking and 25 percent should be special bottles you intend to age for a while. He says most whites can be stored for three to five years, while red wine lasts up to eight years, and some bigger-bodied reds like Bordeaux can be kept even longer. “It’s nice to have options down in the wine cellars for a Tuesday night as well as for special occasions,” Ter Haar says.