How to Design a Wine Cellar

Finished your plans for framing, building a vapor barrier, and insulating your wine cellar?  The next step is to ponder wine cellar design and the different design elements and decide which ones you would like to add.

What about electrical outlets or lights?

Sealed plastic boxes should be used for the following:

  • Outlets
  • Switches
  • Fixtures

In order to prevent outside air from entering the wine cellar, wiring penetrations should be caulked.  Take care when installing boxes and wiring so you do not degrade the vapor barrier or insulation.  Any penetration of the vapor barrier should be sealed airtight.

What kind of doors should I use?

Wine cellar doors should be fully insulated, similar to exterior doors.  Any glass should be insulated, double paned, and airtight to prevent sweating and fogging.  There are two main construction considerations when selecting a door.

  • Gaskets — put around the frame to seal against the door
  • Floor Sweeps — used to seal the opening between the floor and bottom of the door

Hardware of the door should be commercial and exterior-grade quality.

What if I want to add windows to my cellar?

All windows should be of the insulated, double wall, thermopane type.  The space between the window frame and the wall studs should be packed with insulation and covered with the vapor barrier.

Is it OK to put lights in my cellar?

Lights add much to the atmosphere in a cellar, but also add a heat load to the cooling unit.  Therefore it is best to use one of the following:

  • Low intensity lighting
  • Light fixtures where the transformers are located outside the cellar

Avoid recessed lights that penetrate into the insulation and vapor barrier.

What type of wine rack works best?

Racks should be designed in consultation with one of the several experienced producers.  There are three bottle configuration formats:

  • Single
  • Multiple
  • Large

The layout is another element that has to be considered when installing wine racks.  Many of our customers feel that tables and wide shelves where cases or boxes can be set down to be opened are very useful.  Do not block the supply or return air registers with shelving, racks or displays —the air needs to circulate freely.

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Building a Wine Cellar in Your Business
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Selecting a Room for Wine Storage