Dreaming of a wine collection stored in your very own wine cellar? It’s not just for the super-wealthy. Here are our tips for creating your own cellar plus expert advice on how to curate your perfect modern wine collection.
CURATING YOUR COLLECTION
We recently had a fabulous wine tasting event at our listing 506 Summers Court with local wine connoisseur Vanessa Moore, owner of UnWined, a gourmet wine shop with two Alexandria locations. Vanessa outlined the top characteristics of a well-curated collection for us.
First, focus on quality over quantity. You can’t take it with you! Make sure you actually enjoy what you buy and don’t be afraid to actually drink it.
Secondly, don’t just collect trophies – though those are fun too! Think about collecting wines that are benchmark wines or from classic producers.
Along the same lines, buy wines that represent the people you’ve met or the places you’ve been. The wines you collect should tell a story. We love shipping back wines from vineyards we visit both locally and abroad. When you open up one of the bottles, it will transport you back to the vineyard. The same concept applies if you enjoyed a certain wine on a special occasion like an engagement, wedding, promotion, or other big celebration. It’s nice to have some of those bottles on hand. An even better touch is having bottles of a wine served at a friends’ wedding or celebration to serve when they visit.
Lastly, be sure to have a variety of styles of wines, prices, and ages to keep the collection balanced.
Once you have compiled a bit of a collection, you will certainly need somewhere to store it. Consider our listings at 3717 Taft Avenue, 307 W. Walnut Street and 506 Summers Court, all of which have fantastic wine cellars. Or, follow the below steps for creating a space of your very own.
CREATING YOUR OWN CELLAR
FINDING THE RIGHT SPACE
You don’t need an entire room to dedicate to a wine cellar. Consider giving a closet or a small storage area new life as a wine cellar if you are tight on space.
In order to create the ideal conditions for wine storage and aging, think about the following when creating your space:
- DON’T put your future wine cellar near the kitchen as cooking odors could potentially infiltrate the corks.
- DO use zero-VOC paints for any surfaces in your wine cellar. This environmentally friendly paint will prevent any possible corruption the wine.
- DO focus on windowless areas as sunlight can spoil your wine. Windowless areas also provide the most stable temperatures, ideal for your new cellar.
- DO keep temperature and humidity stable. You will need constant temperatures ranging from 55-60 degrees and humidity ranging from 50-70%.
- This can be done through insulation. If you have the budget for it, you can also install wine room–specific HVAC system. Check with an HVAC company as costs will vary greatly depending on your location and climate.
- Make sure the door to the wine cellar is property weather-stripped to help maintain temperature and humidity levels. Click here to learn how to do this task yourself.
SETTING THE RIGHT MOOD
Now, that you’ve prepped your space, it’s time to focus on to the fun stuff! Consider the types of racking, flooring, doors, lighting you want for your new wine cellar.
For lighting, stick with low heat and relatively cooler options, like LEDs. Accent lighting can highlight special shelves and bottles. A chandelier or pendant lights provide that finishing touch and help set the mood for the space.
Common woods for wine racking are redwood and mahogany, both of which are resistant to rot in the cool, damp cellar environment. If your home has more of a contemporary feel, consider stainless steel wine racks such as this stunner from Wine Enthusiast.
When choosing flooring for your wine cellar, keep in mind that softer flooring options (like cork) will be more forgiving if (or really, when) someone drops a bottle. Tiles and other sealed surfaces, however, are easiest to clean and repel stains best.
One trend we’re absolutely loving is wine barrel flooring. It completely sets the tone for your new cellar. Local company Fraser Wood Elements (who also created this amazing custom counter at our 307 W. Walnut Street listing) has a fantastic line of flooring from old wine barrels, plus beautiful old reclaimed floors. We’re in LOVE!
ACCESSORIZING YOUR SPACE: MUST-HAVE CELLAR TOOLS
No wine cellar is complete without the appropriate tools! Here are Vanessa’s recommendations for what to keep on hand in your new space:
- a great corkscrew and an Ah-so (aka Butler’s Thief) for old corks;
- beautiful barware: stemware, decanters & an aerating funnel with strainer;
- wine apps such as Cellar Tracker, Vintage Charts and Vivino to look up what you are drinking!
- reference books or maps. Vanessa loves The World Atlas of Wine, by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson.
GETTING THE VALUE OUT OF YOUR INVESTMENT
Curious if adding a wine cellar to your home will increase its value? See how your home is currently valued and we can chat about whether it makes sense to make this investment.