Cruising on a private yacht is the epitome of luxury; it’s a given that you would want to have the best wine on board as a part of the experience! But keeping expensive wines at sea presents a few unique challenges, and proper wine storage is a must in this environment. What should yacht owners consider before shoving off?
Wine Storage at Sea
The biggest challenges to wine storage on a boat are environmental. Temperature and humidity fluctuations are common at sea, and vibrations from both the ship’s engine and the ocean itself are detrimental to fragile wines. Proper wine storage is vital as it’s essential for aging classic wines.
Even on a yacht, space is at a premium. Ideally, yacht owners would plan a wine cellar as their ship is being built, but if your storage space is an afterthought, some creative thinking will be in order. Closets, stairways, and even a butler’s pantry can all be converted into cellars.
Types of Custom Wine Cellars
There are three recommended formats of a custom-built wine cellar for a luxury yacht.
Wine Wall Cellars
A wine wall is a great choice for storing wine on a boat because it makes use of vertical space rather than taking up much-needed square footage. This format is great for small to mid-sized ships and best for modest collections of fewer than 50 bottles.
If the ship’s interior is kept cool, the racking doesn’t even need to be enclosed. This straightforward and budget-friendly approach is great for behind a small bar or lounge, and can be done for under $10K.
More stylish and sleek enclosed wall displays can be environmentally controlled and beautifully lit to turn any room into a work of art. This option requires more labor, materials, and equipment, and can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Glass-Enclosed Wine Cellars
For something a little more conducive to aging classic wines, glass-enclosed cellars are probably the best solution for a yacht, since their temperature and humidity can be well-regulated with a wine cellar cooling unit.
The advantage to this approach is that an enclosure can be fit into almost any existing space, including under counters in the galley, in hall cabinets and closets, or as a standalone unit in any room. The relatively smaller size of these units makes them very efficient, precise, and easy to manage too.
This format would be best for a collection of 50 bottles or fewer, but because of the custom design, labor, and equipment involved, it would likely cost upwards of $20K or more.
Modern Wine Cellars
If you have the space and the budget, a full cellar is always an option. Almost anything that is possible on land can be done at sea, but keep in mind that bigger means more potential for problems.
Your wine storage space will be exposed to significant amounts of humidity and salinity too. At sea, woods and organic materials risk mold and mildew problems, and for metals (including electrical wiring and lighting fixtures), oxidation and corrosion. Therefore, in a full-sized cellar, proper vapor control, temperature and humidity management are even more essential than on land.
When a ship is in motion, it’s under structural stress, so the construction of your cellar needs to have some physical flexibility too. The building materials for your cellar should meet nautical standards, instead of land-based ones.
A 330-square-foot cellar with a tasting room would cost about $180K on land, which means you can expect the same design, when specialized for a ship, to run at least double, if not more.
Yacht and Boat Wine Storage Tips
Even if you’re in the enviable position of owning a luxury yacht, budget, style, and performance are always a concern. Everyone wants the best they can get for the money.
Building a wine storage space on land requires experience and expertise. To do the same on a yacht, even more so! Wine Guardian has been building ducted wine cellar cooling systems longer than any other manufacturer. In fact, the only greater asset than our breadth of options in wine storage is the depth of our knowledge and expertise. Contact Wine Guardian for an expert consultation or browse our line of products to see all available options.