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How Do You Build/Install an In-Ground Wine Cellar?

top view of glass underground cellar

If you are serious about collecting wine and have accumulated a large collection, you may be considering a wine cellar.

A wine cellar is a designated storage space, ideally with climate control and wine racks, where bottles may be stored and organized long-term. Wine cellars are important to wine collecting because how wine is stored greatly affects its taste and overall value. A wine cellar can be a wine room, cabinet, closet, or wine refrigerator. Today we are exploring the topic of underground wine cellars.

Wine Cellar Essentials

Wine requires a unique environment to age properly. Whether a wine cabinet or in-ground wine room, specific storage conditions are necessary to maintain the quality of the wine. These important elements include:

● A location away from harmful UV rays and excessive light.

● A low traffic area without excessive vibrations.

● Wine racks that will position the bottles horizontally so that the liquid inside the bottle touches the cork.

● A consistent temperature around 55℉.

● Relative humidity between 50-70%.

About Underground or In-Ground Wine Cellar

An underground wine cellar has many benefits. First, it can use a space that was previously unused, such as an subterranean basement. Second, an in-ground wine cellar takes advantage of the naturally cool temperature of the ground, making it easier to keep tight control on the cellar’s temperature. Third, underground structures can more easily maintain a steady humidity between 50-70%, ideal for long-term wine storage. Lastly, if an underground wine cellar is installed into the ground or in a basement with no windows, wine is not exposed to light or harmful UV rays, which may cause the wine to age more rapidly.

Structural Requirements of an In-Ground Wine Cellar

Here are some basic requirements needed to build a wine cellar. It is important to note that each wine cellar is unique, so some of these elements may or may not apply.

● Location: Select a location for your wine cellar that will have no direct exposure to sunlight or heat. If you are digging into the ground for your new cellar, you will want to contact local experts who can guide you on where to dig.

● Insulation and vapor barrier: We recommend that a minimum of R13 insulation be applied to the walls, and insulation rated 19-30 should be used on the ceiling of a cellar. Standard fiberglass or rigid foam insulation is normally used in cellar construction. A vapor barrier must also be created using plastic sheeting.

● Passive or refrigerated cooling: As mentioned above, an in-ground wine cellar can keep a naturally cool temperature throughout the year; however, without a cellar cooling system, the wine will be subject to some warming and cooling, albeit less than an above-ground cellar. If a cellar cooling system is added, controlling the conditions within the cellar is easier when combined with the naturally cool conditions of the soil, vapor barrier, and proper insulation.

● Doors: The door to the wine cellar should be exterior grade with weatherstripping to prevent cool air from leaking out of the cellar.

● Proper flooring: A variety of flooring may be used inside the cellar, including slate, marble, vinyl, tile, cork, or even reclaimed wine barrel.

● Lighting: LED lighting, recessed lighting, or rope lighting are suitable for wine cellar use. Whatever lighting is used, it should not emit excessive heat.

● Wine racking: Bottles should be stored horizontally so that the liquid inside touches the cork. Wine racking materials include wood, acrylic, metal, ceramic, or a combination of materials.

VinCave Wine Cellar

An alternative to building an underground wine cellar from scratch is to add a VinCave wine cellar to your home. A VinCave wine cellar is buried at the ground or basement level to take advantage of the cool temperature of the soil. The stainless steel door uses an electric motor to open and close. A VinCave includes wine racking and is a beautiful showpiece of any residence, plus no cellar cooling system is required.

An underground wine cellar has many benefits. First, it can use a space that was previously unused, such as an subterranean basement. Second, an in-ground wine cellar takes advantage of the naturally cool temperature of the ground, making it easier to keep tight control on the cellar’s temperature. Third, underground structures can more easily maintain a steady humidity between 50-70%, ideal for long-term wine storage. Lastly, if an underground wine cellar is installed into the ground or in a basement with no windows, wine is not exposed to light or harmful UV rays, which may cause the wine to age more rapidly.

wine cellar in living room
Element by Vinotemp Backlit™ Wine Coolers

Ready to Build an In-Ground Cellar?

Whether building an underground wine room from scratch or investing in a luxurious VinCave, our cellar experts are ready to assist you. Call us today at 1-800-777-8466 or email info@vinotemp.com.

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