Pro Vision designs feature in this article on wine cellars published in My Home Extension

26th September, 2019

Drinking wine is one of life’s great pleasures. So, it’s not surprising there’s a growing trend to incorporate a sizeable space for a wine collection into the design of homes.

Bespoke wine cellars are becoming increasingly popular. The term ‘cellar’ can be misleading as dedicated wine storage areas can vary from a basement to an entire room, cabinet or even a trapdoor in the kitchen.

What is the right environment to store wine?

Location is a key consideration as bottles need to be protected from heat, light and humidity. The ideal temperature for storing wine is around 55°F (10°C). It’s fine to stay within three to four degrees of that. Too warm and the wine can age faster; too cool and it will age slower. Cellars and basements are nearly always the correct temperature naturally. The kitchen is the worst place to keep wine as it alternates hot and cold, according to Andy Chamberlain manager at the wine merchant, Wine Utopia. He said: “Wine should be stored somewhere dark and cool where the temperature fluctuates the least. A cellar is ideal.”

Brick-lined vaulted wine cellar in new country home designed by Pro Vision 

Digging deep

Forget dark, dusty wine cellars of the past. Today’s wine cellars offer the opportunity to create a luxury entertainment area with a tasting table, solid oak shelving and LED-lit display cabinets. Ask yourself if you want to take guests into the cellar or simply use it as a functional space to store wine. “Wine cellars can become great entertaining spaces, usually centred around a tasting table,” said architect Scot Masker, director of Pro Vision.

Digging a new wine cellar can cost tens of thousands. If you are a serious wine buff and have the cash to splash, it can be a worthwhile investment. A cellar will give you space to store thousands of bottles, to age young vintage wines at home and create a unique, feature room.

Consult an architect along with a wine specialist company for expert advice on your cellar design to ensure the optimum lighting, temperature and insulation to store and protect your wine and champagne collection. Check if you need planning permission.

Wine tasting table in vaulted cellar of new-build country mansion, designed by Pro Vision

Wine cellar renovation

If you are already blessed with a suitably dark and cool cellar or basement and want to entertain in it, then interior design is important. George Clarendon, partner at Knight Frank estate agents, has seen home owners renovate old cellars, hiring builders to plaster and waterproof the area so they are more welcoming spaces. He said: “People love going down the older wine cellars with brick arches or ‘bins’ as they are called and seeing the bottles stacked up. The newer cellars don’t usually have the same authenticity as the older ones but can be pretty cool spaces with glass walls, temperature control and amazing racking systems.”

Vaulted wine cellar in ancillary games annex to home designed by Pro Vision

Customised wine room

Having a home wine cellar doesn’t always require digging deep. Wine can be stored in a customised, climate-controlled room next to the kitchen, lounge or hallway. Glitzy, glass walls can turn the wine room into a showcase in the centre of the home. And what better way to create a big, bold statement than highlighting an impressive wine collection. “If an individual likes to entertain frequently, he or she may like an accessible wine storage area next to their dining or entertainment area. If it’s a serious hobby for one plus a select few, then a bespoke basement space for tasting and storage might be more appropriate,” said Masker.

Wine Room, Spiral Cellars

Spiral wine cellar

If you don’t have an existing cellar or dedicated wine room, a spiral cellar is an eye-catching, space-saving option. It features an impressive underground descending spiral design with a trapdoor right into your kitchen, hall or garage – wherever you choose.  Spiral cellars are dug into the ground floor of a property and like the traditional wine cellar, use the earth’s natural temperature to create the optimum conditions for cellaring. So, there’s no need for mechanical climate control. There’s a choice of concealed or stylish glass trapdoor options with understair LED strip lighting and can provide enough storage for up to 1,900 bottles. Imagine the ‘wow’ if you suddenly disappear into the floor of your kitchen only to emerge second later waving a bottle of vintage red. Just remember to shut the trapdoor!

Spiral cellar with glass trap door, Spiral Cellars

Wine walls and display cabinets

For homes where space is at a premium, a ‘wine wall’ or customised shelving is an option. They range from wardrobe-sized to full length glass partition walls. These wine libraries can hold hundreds of bottles, so the wine is organised and easily accessible.  Wine walls come customised with temperature and humidity controls for optimum storage conditions for bottle ageing. If you drink wine within weeks (or days) of buying it and don’t need much storage space, the humble wine rack is probably enough. Look for a suitable dark space to keep it, such as a little-used closet under the stairs. Alternatively, wine cooler units can accommodate between 30 to 300 bottles.