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The Reason for Rose

November 12th, 2014 No comments

The first question one might ask is, “Why does anybody need a reason for wine?” Wine, whatever variety you prefer, is a reason unto itself. Having said this, there are those who might feel some wines need justification, namely roseʹ. This wasn’t always the case, and it’s certainly not the case in southern France, now or at any time. Roseʹ became the pink stepchild of the wine world in the 1970s, when white Zinfandel came on to the scene. Zinfandel, a too-sweet white wine, did its best to replace roseʹ as the summertime drink of choice.

The Reason for Rose’Just what is a Roseʹ Wine?

Contrary to popular belief, roseʹ is not a mixture of red and white wines; it is its own genre. Roseʹ is made from many of the same grapes used to produce red and white wines, but the processing is different. The juice of all grapes is clear, or ‘white’; the skins of the grape contain the color. Red wines are produced by leaving the juice in contact with the skins for long periods of time; whites are produced by removing the skins from the juice immediately, and rosesʹ are produced by leaving the juice in contact with the skins for short periods; the longer the contact, the darker the roseʹ. Rosesʹ range in color from pale pink up to copper, but never as dark as a red. Rosesʹ can be dry, and those coming from Europe usually are, but they can also be semi-sweet; rosesʹ produced outside of Europe may fall into this category.


Why Would You Want a Roseʹ?

Roseʹ is usually touted as a summer drink; its lighter flavor pairs well with heat and summertime foods, which are not as heavy as meals in the dead of winter. Roseʹ is equally at home at your backyard barbecue or the elegant summer dinner party you throw for the boss. However, this is not to say you pack your roseʹ away with the flip-flops and bathing suits; there are fall, winter and spring meals where roseʹ fits right in. Most meals in the colder seasons call for the force of a prime red wine, or a white, if the entree is not a red meat, but you can serve a lighter fare where a wine that complements, rather than overwhelms, is preferred.

Age Matters

Unlike red wines and women, roseʹ doesn’t age well. A roseʹ three years old is most likely past its prime, so don’t look at it as an investment wine, or one you can enjoy drinking down the road. It’s actually difficult to find rosesʹ over three, for this very reason: fresh roseʹ is the best one to drink. A too-old roseʹ loses the acidity and freshness of its flavors and becomes bland.

Price Matters, Too

Perhaps because of its undeserved reputation, or the inveterate snobbishness in the wine community, roseʹ is a good buy. You can find rosesʹ from southern France for $16 to $25 a bottle, and that’s a darn good price for an import. You can find quality rosesʹ for $15 a bottle or less on the domestic market, and for a neophyte wine drinker, it’s a good way to get started without breaking the budget.
Are there lousy rosesʹ out there? Of course. Are there lousy reds and whites? You betcha. The genre of the wine is not a guaranty of good or great quality, nor is it a guaranty of bad quality either. Ask for help when you visit a wine shop; they’re usually quite happy to assist you any way they can, and asking for a good roseʹ for around $15.00 won’t get you thrown out of the shop. It will, however, get you a good wine.

How to Decide on Wine Storage

November 7th, 2014 No comments

If you’re like most Americans, you don’t know squat about wine. You know you like it, but you tend to just buy it when you’re ready to drink it. Storing wine, whether for the short or long term, never enters your thought processes. You may, however, find yourself getting more interested in keeping wine on hand. It beats running out to the package store or the grocery every time the urge for a glass hits you. You may also be thinking about wine as an investment strategy, and this means holding wine in storage, sometimes for years.

 

Wine StorageHow Should You Store Wine?

Unless you’re fortunate enough to own a house built in the 1800s or early 1900s, with its attendant basement or wine cellar already there, you’re going to have to build your own storage environment to house your wine collection. Where did our ancestors store wine? In deep, dark caves or in deep, dark wine cellars. There are good reasons for this: wine hates light, heat, and motion. While storing wine on top of your refrigerator is convenient, it’s the absolute worst thing you can do to a poor, innocent bottle of wine. The mantra for wine storage is cool, dark, still, and sideways. The reasoning behind this is as follows:

Cool

Wine hates heat; anything above 70° Fahrenheit wreaks havoc on the wine. 55° Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature, but don’t freak out if it varies a degree or two either way. Humidity is also important; the proper humidity keeps the cork from drying out and letting oxygen seep into the bottle. Oxygen will oxidize a wine, the same way it will a peeled apple. A brown apple is unattractive, but edible; an oxidized wine is not drinkable. It won’t hurt you, unless it’s truly spoiled, but it won’t taste good at all.

Dark

Wine hates sunlight like a vampire, and pretty much for the same reason: light, particularly UV light, prematurely ages wine. Whites are more susceptible than reds, but reds fall victim to UV light as well. Ever wonder why wine is sold in colored bottles? The colored glass acts like sunglasses, and filters the UV light out.

Still

Why would wine care if you shook the bottle? Two reasons: too much shaking can prematurely age it, and not in a good way, and if the wine is a red, sediment gets disturbed from the bottom and distributed around the bottle. The result is a glass of grit instead of a glass of wine. So don’t store your wine where vibrations, good or bad, abound.

Sideways

There are two good reasons for storing wine on its side: first, storing the bottle this way keeps the cork in contact with the wine and this keeps the cork from drying out and shrinking. A dry cork allows oxygen in, and this is not a good thing. Second, storing wine horizontally saves space, letting you keep more bottles in a smaller space.

Given that most of us don’t have a wine cellar already built into our house, where should you store your wine? If you have a basement, and dampness is not an issue, putting wine racks in a cool, dark corner fits the bill nicely. If a basement is not an option, use a cool, dark closet. If the closet is too hot, you can get a cooling unit designed for wine to cool things off.

What Kind of Storage Do You Need?

The type of storage you need is determined by how much wine you’re storing, and for how long you’re planning on holding it. If you’re only planning on keeping it for a few months, a wine cooler or a wine rack in your basement is fine. If you’re planning on keeping it for years, you’ve moved into the professional storage arena, and you need to do some research. You will need the conditions described above, and they will need to be consistent over the long haul. You will need undisturbed space for storage racks, proper lighting, and climate control.  We at Vintage Cellars are wine cellar specialists, and will be happy to walk you through step-by-step, how to build a wine cellar and choose a proper cooling unit.  We build wine cellars from start to finish, from functional to elaborate, so let us know what your needs are and we’ll be happy to assist you!  Also note that if you’re looking for one, one of the best cooling units on the market today is the Wine Guardian.

Buying Wine for Investment

November 2nd, 2014 No comments

Wine InvestmentWhen you think of investing, wine is not the first thought that comes to mind. Most of us think of investments as stocks and bonds and not much else. There are alternative investments to the ones we typically put our money in; these are precious metals (gold, silver, copper), fine art (paintings, sculptures), and rare coins. Wine falls into the alternate investment category, and if you do it right and don’t need an immediate return on your money, can be a good way to hedge your bets in uncertain economic times, such as the ones we’re having today.

How Do You Invest in Wine?

There are two ways to invest in wine: purchase and resell the wine yourself, or participate in a wine investment fund. The fund pools the money from its members and handles the purchase, storage, and resale of the wine for the investors. The investors receive returns based on the amount of money they invest in the fund.

If you have the time, money, and storage space, being your own investor is not a bad idea; you choose the wines you want to invest in, and you decide when to sell. You will be the sole recipient of the return. You will also be the sole bearer of the costs – insurance and storage – while you hold the wine, waiting for it to mature and the price to rise. If you can afford it, and you’re a budding oenophile, it may be a really good way to invest your time and money.

If you have limited funds, but like the idea of investing in wine, participating in a wine investment fund is the way to go. Someone else makes the decisions and handles the issues, and you take the returns. As long as you do your due diligence and choose a sound fund, this is the way for you to invest in the wine market.

What are Investment Grade Wines?

There are most likely tens of thousands of vintners producing wine globally today. Only 250 of these vintners produce investment grade wine, and ninety percent of the investment grade premium wines come from the Bordeaux region of France. More vintners are making it into the investment grade globally these days, but the numbers still work out with France holding ninety percent of the premium wines, and the other ten percent is vintage port. While wine has been around for centuries, the buying and selling of wine as an investment really came into being in the 1970s. It is still difficult to be a personal wine investor in the United States today, as most states have strict regulations on the buying and selling of wine, but there are ways to legally sell wine in a private sale, even in those states with the strictest laws. This is one area where a wine investment fund shines over being your own wine investor: the fund knows how to make sales legally.

Is wine a good investment? Over the long haul, the numbers bear it out as a good way to invest money in an alternative way. Even if the bottom fell out of the market, if you were your own investor you could at least drink the wine; if the bottom falls out of Wall Street, all you have left are bad memories.

Best Wines for Fall Gifts

October 28th, 2014 No comments

September is almost over, and fall has arrived. The leaves are turning, the days are getting shorter, and the temperatures are beginning to cool down. Soon, the holidays will be here; have you thought about what gifts you’ll be giving this season? It’s always a problem, albeit a fun one, to choose gifts for friends and family they’ll appreciate and enjoy. Then there are those gifts for people you don’t know all that well, but feel obligated to give a gift – your husband’s boss, a healthcare professional or caregiver, or a teacher. Have you considered giving these folks a bottle of wine?

Best WineA Little Wine History

Wine is a venerable beverage. One of the earliest known traces of wine was found in modern-day Georgia (the country, not the state) around 6000 BC. This is two thousand years before the wheel was invented in Mesopotamia, and five thousand years before the Trojan War. The earliest wines were made from wild grapes and berries; grapes weren’t domesticated until the time of the first dynasty in Egypt – around 3200 BC. Wine has been prized for pretty much its entire history; in ancient Persia, wine was considered a divine gift. Wine grew up with the world; by the Middle Ages, wine was served at every meal, both red and white. Granted, it was watered down a good bit – after all, one couldn’t spend every day drunk as a skunk. It was also not aged during this period, as consumption threatened to outstrip production. Aging of wine began at a later period. Wine’s history continues to the present day, where it is a global industry now, not just a French one. The major wines of the world still originate mostly in France, but wines from the New World are gaining in acceptance.

Giving Wine as a Gift

Before giving wine as a gift, you need to know if the recipient likes the idea. Giving a bottle of Dom Perignon to a teetotaler is not the best idea in the world. Gourmet cheese or chocolates would be better suggestions in this case. If your intended recipient does drink wine, knowing their level of expertise in the subject is useful; if you give a gift of rare vintage to a newbie, it’s not going to be appreciated as much as it would be to a genuine oenophile. Conversely, giving the oenophile a bottle picked up at the grocery store will fly like the proverbial lead balloon. So, first know if the intended recipient drinks wine, and then learning about their level of expertise is a good start. Finding a good wine shop with an expert sommelier on staff will help prevent gaffes.

Know Your Price Range

Before choosing a bottle as a gift, you need to know how much you can afford to spend. A gift for a true oenophile can cost a bundle, so let the person helping you choose at the wine shop know your range before he starts making suggestions. A hostess gift can be purchased at the grocery store – some stores have really good wine sections – or at a package store. A gift for ̀someone you want to impress, you should look at a store dedicated to wine.

What Type of Wine to Choose

The genre of wine you select depends on the recipient, you, the time of year, do you intend for them to use it immediately, or did you buy it for their cellar. Reds are investment wines; they get better with age, and better translate to more valuable. Reds can be bought for the recipient’s cellar, if they have one; any good Bordeaux works here. Whites are also good for long-term storage; be sure to know if your recipient likes whites, and if they store them. Roses are not intended for aging; your recipient may like one anyway, but if you’re looking for a cellar item, skip these wines. Where your recipient lives is also a factor; in some large wine producing countries, such as Argentina, wine is considered too common for a gift. However, other wine-producing countries, such as South Africa and Portugal, consider their wines as superior, and would not appreciate a gift of French wine, for example.
Wine is always a good gift idea, but you need to know a few things about your intended recipient before purchase. Wrap it in pretty paper, or put it in a gift basket with other wine-associated items, such as cheese, crackers, and chocolate. You can find a wine to suit both your pocketbook and your intended recipient, and this, as Martha would say, is a good thing.

In The Mood For Wine? Chill Out

October 23rd, 2014 No comments

Chill OutThere is nothing more decadent than enjoying a glass of wine, paired perfectly with a scrumptious meal. Wine has an indescribable way of extricating the most subtle flavors from the cuisine you’re enjoying and from the spirits themselves. Traditionally, white wine is served chilled, whereas red wine is presented at room temperature. Red wines don’t typically fall under the umbrella of refreshing, chilled beverages. But did you know that some reds actually benefit from being chilled? Some reds, such as Pinot Noir, Boujulais, and some Zinfandel’s taste wonderful and more robust when sipped chilled.

Years ago, wine cellars and natural room temperature is what determined the febricity of wine. White wines were served at cellar temperature, or perhaps chilled in an ice bucket just prior to drinking. Reds were served as is, without tampering with their temperature. However, today castles and wine cellars are few are far between. Consequently, white are served at refrigeration climate, which is generally in the 40s. On average, a centrally heated apartment or home is likely to be in the mid-70s range, so most red wines end up being too warm and white are too cool.

Why not enjoy both reds and whites chilled? Chilling both wines can bring out luxurious flavors and enhance your wine drinking experience. But careful, you don’t want to get them too cold, or it can kill the flavor. Follow these steps for chilling your wines for the ultimate in wine satisfaction!

Reds

Red WineFull-bodies reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Bordeaux exhibit their flavors well between 60° and 65 °, however, if you serve it a bit colder, the acidic and tannic flavors surface even more, releasing all kinds of hidden flavors. Store your red wine at room temperature, but simply lay it in the fridge for 15 minutes before serving to enhance the flavors. More tannic reds like Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon should be a bit warmer, but with Pinot Noir and Merlot, go ahead and chill them down an extra 15° to 20°. Don’t fret if the wine gets chillier than you intended because it will warm slightly as you hold it in your hand. If you’re serving chilled red wine at a party or dinner, just lay it on top of an ice bucket in between drinking, but not plunged into the ice. This will keep it relatively cold, without dropping its temperature too far.

Whites

White WineWhite wines are a smorgasbord of flavors when they are served chilled. They pair harmoniously with lighter fare, such as chicken, turkey and fish. The best way to chill white wine is to fill a bucket ¾ full of ice mixed with water. Simply bury the bottle into the ice, base first, and let it sit for 20 minutes. Whites can also be chilled in the refrigerator but it will take a solid three hours to get cool enough. Never put a bottle of wine into the freezer thinking that you’ll speed up the chilling process. The freezer will alter the flavor of the wine, essentially ruining it. Place the bottle back into the ice bucket in between serving to maintain its temperature.

Whether you’re in the mood for light and fruity white, or robust and bold red, you can enjoy the opulence and richness of either wine, chilled to perfection! View our info-graphic on chilling both red & white wines and visit us as www.vintagecellars.com, contact us or call 800-876-8789 for personal service.vintagecellar.com

Wine Cellar FAQs

October 8th, 2013 No comments
Traditional Wine Cellar in Memphis, TN

Thinking about building a wine cellar, but find yourself bogged down by questions? Never fear. Below, we’ve compiled the questions we are asked most frequently about building wine cellars. Find the answers you’ve been searching for below. Have a question that’s not on this list? Contact us and we’ll answer it for you!

Q: Do I have to have  to store wine in a wine cellar?

A: If you’re a casual wine drinker who consumes bottles soon after you buy them, you probably don’t need a wine cellar. But if you’re a collector (or aspiring collector) or wine, you should protect your investment by storing it in the correct conditions. Wine stored in too-hot or too-cold conditions, at the wrong humidity, or in an environment in which temperature and humidity fluctuate, can mold, evaporate away, turn rancid, or undergo chemical changes that can make it taste unpleasant.

Q: Does a wine cellar require special construction?

A: Yes. Wine requires a unique environment different from that of your home. Wine cellars must maintain a temperature of between 55 and 78° Fahrenheit and humidity between 55 and 75 percent. This is far colder and more humid than your average house. A wine cellar has to be specially constructed to maintain and control this unique environment. The most important part of this construction is a vapor barrier, which keeps the high humidity in your wine cellar from migrating to the low humidity environment in the rest of the house. Vapor barriers are often overlooked by inexperienced wine cellar builders, leading to ruined wine and high repair costs for the owners later on.

Q: I don’t have underground space. Can I still have a wine cellar?

A: Absolutely. Long ago, people used to store wine underground because conditions were usually more optimal there than above ground. But with today’s technologies, we can create a wine cellar with perfect conditions in many different locations in a home. However, wine does need to be protected from light, heat and vibration, so picking a cool spot away from windows and excessive noise will save you on construction and energy costs.

Q: I don’t have a lot of extra room in my house. Can I use a closet?

A: You can! Small space should never limit your wine cellar aspirations. It is possible to convert a small space like a closet into a fully-functional and beautiful wine cellar. For proof, check out this 800-bottle cellar Vintage Cellars wine cellar constructed in a San Diego home.

Q: Do the wine racks have to be custom-built for my space? That sounds expensive.

A: No. While custom racks are certainly an option, there are many other kinds of racking systems available on the market today. A modular system like Vintner wine racks can give you the gorgeous custom feel without the high price tag. Vintner offers a variety of wine rack sizes and styles, such as columns, bins, and diamond racks, that can all be fitted together to perfectly suit your space.

Q: I love wine but I don’t have an eye for design. Can you help?

We’d be honored! Most of our clients know that they want a unique and beautiful space, but they don’t know exactly how to achieve that. We specialize in listening to what our clients want, then working with them to create a beautiful design that suits them and fits seamlessly into the rest of their home’s design. Contact us today to see what kind of wine cellar we can make for you!

 

Wine Cellars for Small Spaces

June 14th, 2013 No comments

You’re a wine lover who’s dying to start a collection. You drool over photos of others peoples’ expansive wine cellars, with their rows upon rows of bottles just waiting for the perfect day to be opened. But you don’t have a handy underground space, or an extra room that can be converted into the wine cellar you covet. You might live in a small house or even an apartment. But just because you have a small living space doesn’t mean you have to give up your big wine cellar dreams.

 

Vintage Cellars is no stranger to the challenges of building a fully-functioning, temperature- and humidity-controlled wine cellar in a small space. For homeowners in San Diego, CA, Vintage Cellars had just 80 square feet to work with, but managed to build the perfect space to neatly house 750 bottles.

 

Of course, no space, no matter the size, can be a successful wine cellar without the proper sealing, vapor barriers, and installation. Vintage Cellars experts took the care to outfit this small space just like they would a more traditionally-sized wine cellar. And just because the cellar is small doesn’t mean it’s lacking in the looks department. Clean-lined glass doors both show off the wine and open up the relatively small space. Vintage Cellars also installed adjustable shelving to house the homeowners’ special collection of large-format bottles. The shelving allows the clients to showcase this unique aspect of their collection, giving it a personal touch.

 

But what if you don’t have the ability to knock out a wall to build the small-scale wine cellar of your dreams? Even if you’re renting a small apartment, you still have options. One great space-conscious choice is a wine refrigerator. This wine cabinet by Vinotheque holds 448 bottles, and can be housed in an out-of-the-way corner or even a garage. Still too large? This credenza-style wine cabinet holds 216 bottles, and can double as a buffet in a dining room, or even act as a console table in a hallway. Still don’t have room? This small-scale wine refrigerator from Marvel slides right underneath a kitchen counter, and takes up just 15 inches of space, while holding an impressive 23 bottles.

It may seem like you need an enormous mansion to house a wine collection. But that isn’t true. With a little imagination, you can store your bottles no matter what your living situation, whether by building a small-scale cellar into your house, or by simply sliding a tiny refrigerator underneath an existing counter.

Custom Accents for Wine Cellars: Doors

November 13th, 2012 No comments

If you’re thinking about installing a custom wine cellar in your home, you know that you want the space to be functional, but also beautiful. After all, your collection will represent wines from around the world, careful hand-picked by you, and aged to their utmost in the perfect conditions. Shouldn’t you show them off a little?

Much of what goes into your wine cellar is based on function. Your cooling system, insulating design, and even your wine racks are all chosen to create the ideal environment in which your bottles will age. So even though you want to show off your collection, it might seem hard to find a design opportunity. Decorative cellar doors are a great way to put your personal stamp on your wine cellar. After all, they’re the first thing anyone visiting your cellar will see. And though your cellar will mostly be closed, your cellar doors will always be visible. Gorgeous doors are a great way to reflect the beauty within your bottles. You can choose from a variety of cellar door styles to truly make your door stand out:

Classic Doors

If you’re looking for wine cellar doors that blend seamlessly into the deign aesthetic of your home, classic doors might be the right choice for you. Most classic doors are constructed of a combination of wood and glass, allowing you to peek inside at your collection. The glass can be etched with custom designs to really set your cellar doors apart: think your initials or even a fanciful family crest. And don’t be concerned that the glass-and-wood design isn’t ideal for maintaining the temperature and humidity inside your cellar. Though they are beautiful, these doors were designed with function first: each door is two inches thick, and the glass is constructed of two glass panels, 3/16ths of an inch wide, with an insulating airspace in between. Classic doors are a great choice for a collector looking to put a beautiful, personal touch on his collection.

Ornate Doors

For someone looking to make his cellar doors the showpiece of his cellar design, ornate doors are a great choice. Ornate doors are constructed of sturdy glass panels, just like classic glass wine cellar doors. Then, that glass is decorated with wrought-iron scrollwork. Doors can be made in an arch, soft arch, or square designs. And a variety of customizations in the iron work are available as well, meaning that you can work with a designer to create one-of-a-kind doors that put an unforgettable stamp on your collection. Distinctive ornate cellar doors are a beautiful way to showcase your wine collection.

Wine Barrel Doors

Looking for something so fabulous and unique that it will always be a conversation-starter when you have house guests? Wine barrel doors might be the right choice for you. For wine barrel doors, a mission-style frame is created, and then the spaces are filled with sections of reclaimed wine barrel. Besides reflecting the wine collection that resides behind the doors, this reclaimed wine barrel wood has beautiful, unique characteristics from its years of use. A variety of wine barrel door styles allow you to show off these characteristics in whatever way you choose: cooperage wood is cut to show off authentic stamps and markings from old oak barrels; wine-infused wood is taken from the inside of barrels to show of the deep, rich color it has gained from years of holding wine; and stave wood is careful refinished to keep the natural qualities of each barrel stave intact. For something unique that reflects the natural beauty of wine, wine barrel doors are a great choice.

Wine cellar doors are more than just a way to keep your collection at the correct conditions for aging. The right wine cellar doors will not only keep your collection safe and secure, they’ll say something beautiful about you and the collection you’ve so carefully curated. Interested in a custom wine cellar door? Call us today to speak to a wine storage expert about your cellar needs.

 

The Case for Custom Wine Cellars

August 25th, 2009 No comments

Building a personal custom wine cellar has increased in popularity in recent years, but so have wine storage facilities.  There are many advantages to a storing your wine in such a facility, including 24 hour temperature monitoring, walk in or locker style storage and even pick up and delivery service.  There are equally as many disadvantages that may accompany such a facility, including access to your collection, available wine racking, rent and available rental space.  A wine storage facility can be a great short term solution or even temporary holding facility, but for the real enthusiast or budding collector is it time to consider a personal custom wine cellar?

A custom wine cellar is the wisest investment one can make if you have a large or growing collection of wine and vintages that require aging and proper storage to reach their full potential.  Truly, a wine cellar will add to the enjoyment of wine and wine collecting.  Starting from scratch, you can design and build a custom cellar specifically for your wine collection, taking into account available space, budget, cooling unit application and the convenience of ready access to your collection.

Recently, the wine cellar became the number one new addition to a luxury home, just passing the theater room.  Though a wine room should be built for your personal enjoyment, it does add to the resale value of a home.  A custom wine cellar can come in all shapes and sizes.  Racks can be designed using racking kits or Vintage Cellars Distinctive Series Hand Made Racking.  The great thing about a wine cellar is that it can be designed and built to fit your collection and match your personality.  Analyze how much you will grow your collection over the next 10 years, how much space you would have to rent in a storage facility, where in your house could you build a cellar.

Back in August of 2008, I met with a client that wanted to consider turning an interior closet space into a wine cellar.  The space would hold about 300 bottles and it was going to be near impossible to install a cooling unit.  In the same meeting, we ventured into the laundry room to look at using 10 feet of wall space and closing it in glass.  Once again, project cost versus the number of bottles stored did not add up.  We then walked outside to talk about an entire addition onto the home.  What we ended up with was an addition onto a house, complete with an tasting room, flat screen TV and custom hand made wine racking for 2400 (including a library ladder to reach up to 11 feet).

Dream about your personal wine cellar and find a way to make it come true.

Making It Perfectly Clear: Considerations for Wine Cellar Windows

July 30th, 2009 No comments

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.