Wine is not just an alcoholic drink poured into a glass, it’s a lifestyle. Yachting is also a lifestyle that often runs parallel with the wine lifestyle. One can only assume that people who own 100 foot yachts may have custom wine cellars in their home. I wanted to bring them together…
After engineering a seaworthy wine cellar at the beginning of 2009 (on a 124 foot yacht), I wanted to see if there was a marketplace to design and build wine cellars on “mega” yachts. It took some education on my part, but I believe the term “mega” yacht or “super” yacht means the vessel is over 68 feet in length. So I headed to the biggest boat show in the United States.
I attended the Ft. Lauderdale Boat and Yacht show down in sunny Florida. I wanted to educate myself on the industry and discuss the idea of designing wine cellars on really big boats. I suspected that most yachts had wine cabinets and after discussing the idea with builders, designers and naval architects, I was right. To my surprise, many industry experts have never even considered putting a wine room, or wine cellar, on a yacht. Sure, it is commonplace for a nice high end Eurocave or Sub Zero to be located in the galley or entertainment room.
I think the future is bright bringing the wine cellar industry and the yacht industry together… I’ll keep you posted.
In late 2008, Vintage Cellars was contacted about building a wine cellar on a 124-foot motor yacht. After several meetings with the captain & the owner, we decided to take out an existing steam shower (just outside of the rec room) and create a temperature controlled wine room.
After the contract was awarded, there were still many issues and obstacles to over come:
What is behind the steam shower?
How are we going to insulate, vapor barrier and prepare the room properly (since the soon to be wine cellar was on the lowest deck down a narrow spiral staircase)?
How are the bottles going to remain stable in a wine cellar on a yacht that encounters rough seas?
Where do we get cooling equipment for a yacht with European power specs now in dry dock in San Diego?
How do we maximize the bottle capacity while keeping safety and the highest quality standards in mind?
The Vintage Cellars design team, wine cabinet maker and carpentry team spent the next several weeks developing a design and a plan. Due to the tight space and location on the yacht, we decided to prefabricate an interior shell in our shop. Each wall would be built out of marine grade plywood with each section vapor barriered and insulated properly. Basically, we created a modular wall, floor and ceiling to seal the room. From there, we could line the room with cherry wood to keep the high quality finish consistent with the rest of the yacht.
Cooling… well there was another mountain that we had to climb. With over 20 years experience, Vintage Cellars has developed relationships with companies all over the world. These relationships were crucial for us to secure a ceiling mounted evaporator coil and compressor with enough BTUs to cool the room properly. It took several long discussions with the yacht engineer to create a mounting bracket in the bilge to support the compressor. We finally had the proper cooling for a complete wine cellar.
As the design continued, we tested and retested ways to secure the bottles in high seas. Based on that testing, we decided building individual storage on a 5 degree cant with a horizontal spacer bar at every space. We don’t ever want to test this in action, but we believe the yacht would have to flip on its side for that wine to come out. To maximize the space, and create show storage for large champagne, we developed a horizontal display cabinet on the same 5 degree cant with a face frame to hold the bottle in place. Its amazing what you can come up with when you put your mind to it. Each piece of racking was built in high grade cherry wood with a clear lacquer finish, all to maintain the same look on the yacht.
The carpentry team had to create the look, the pizazz of the cellar. Notice the sky light on the left hand side and the glass door. Each piece was custom built with dual pane thermal insulated glass. The hardware was secured from a marine hardware company specifically to match the rest of the cellar.
All in all, this wine cellar on a yacht was a fabulous success.