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Making It Perfectly Clear: Considerations for Wine Cellar Windows

I have two examples I want to share with everyone currently planning on building a wine cellar.  Whether new construction, a remodel or an addition to the home, it is important to review all aspects of construction with a wine cellar specialist.  These two examples both have to do with heat load and wine cellar windows.

The first example is from a wine cellar on the coast in Southern California.  A general contractor was responsible for the cooling, construction and preparation of the wine cellar.  I consulted with the interior decorator and the home owner on a racking design.  The concept was beautiful with stone, artistic tile and an amazing floor.  The wine cellar windows were tinted glass. The racking was hand made cabinetry, distressed, stained and waxed to create an antique effect.

I recently received an emergency phone call from the client to discuss condensation building up on the outside of the cellar on the 2 large tinted glass windows. After a brief conversation, I discovered the wine cellar window glass was a single pane glass. 55 degrees inside a wine cellar and 80 degree moist ocean air will create condensation, guaranteed.

The second example is from a dry desert climate. There were many factors that had to be considered to meet the clients design requirements. Part of that was a near invisible cooling unit.  In this example, the cooling unit was working 23 hours a day and only keeping the cellar at 59 degrees.  The wine cellar was constructed with the front wall done entirely in ½ inch thick glass. There was not enough BTU’s in the cooling system to compensate for the heat load coming through the glass.

In both situations, the glass was the key problem ingredient. Vintage Cellars recommends using a dual pane thermal insulated glass for any wine cellar windows or doors. The exterior environment can have a dramatic effect when the goal is to keep a room at 55 degrees. Consult with a wine cellar expert before making decisions that can affect your favorite room.

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