Free Standing Wine Cellar -How to Build one?

Free Standing Wine Cellar-How to Build one?
posted Sep 20, 2004 12:15 AM   After searching for weeks on the web I have only been able to find info on building a "room". Absolutely no luck on a stand alone unit. Does anyone have any info on building a free standing unit from wood ,metal and other materials Thanks. Howard
Reply to
Salut/Hi Howard,
I haven't ever done this, Howard, nor have I heard about it being done, but the basic principles are fairly simple, and lead to logical solutions.
I am presuming that you want to make a big enough unit to store say a few hundred bottles - walk in therefore.
1. Insulation.
The thing that makes wine deteriorate most quickly is rapid changes in temperature. Although half yearly changes from winter to summer and back are not too bad, diurnal ones can be harmful. So the first thing to do is to try to prevent any possibility of this with top class insulation. Don't forget the floor, by the way in the UK there is product called "jablite" this is a closed cell polyurethane foam, over which you can pour concrete. Use a good 3 inches under your unit and protect it - at the least with plywood.
Walls and ceiling. This is relatively easy. 2-4 inches of closed cell polyurethane foam. Don't forget to insulate the door and make sure that there are no serious gaps.
2. Thermal capacity.
Along with insulation, a high thermal capacity will help to keep day/night temperature swings to a minimum. Most of this will eventually be provided by the wine itself. However, I think it would be a good idea to line the inside of the unit with a substance with a high thermal capacity. The cheapest and best is water. (Seriously). If you can devise a way of creating 3-4" of tanking inside the foam, filled with water, you will have succeeded in creating a space inside which is going to be very stable in temperature.
3. Vibration.
Wine doesn't much like vibration, but with concrete poured over jablite, and water tanking, the unit will be pretty massy and unlikely to be too disturbed.
4. Temperature. The ideal temperature for long term aging of wine is around 8-12 C. Now you don't say where you live, and what the mean winter/summer temperatures are going to be in the space in which you intend to construct your wine cellar. Given that Canada (I'm presuming your posting address gives some clue) has widely varying temperature zones, this is of crucial importance. You will need to work out whether you need cooling or heating in winter, spring fall and summer. Once you have worked out what the mean difference in temperature (say on a monthly basis - the insulation and thermal capacity of the unit should take minor variations in its stride) between ideal storage and predicted ambient temperatures, you will have an idea of whether you can get away with passive control (large thermal capacity and good insulation) alone, or whether you need some kind of cooling or heating. Cooling tends to dry out the air, so while corks still exist, it would be as well to provide some kind of humidification, water trickling down a wick, for example.
There are free standing refrigeration units and if you decide cooling were to be needed, you should attach it via flexible conduits both to control ingress and egress of air. Use a closed system and insulate the conduits. Don't mount the cooling/heating unit on the wine storage unit - vibration. The internal temperature should be controlled by thermostats, but don't seek to clamp it too tightly. The wine will probably be better if you do, but will probably also take too long to come to maturity. The ideal would be to have some permanent ventilation, and that works against steady temperatures, so you should make provisions in your heating/cooling regimen.
Racking. Much will depend upon your present and future wine buying habits. If you intend to buy wine in relatively large batches, your primary need would be to minimise wasted space, packing the wine bottles tight. On the other hand if you buy single bottles, you need immediate access to single bottles, and therefore some kind of random access racking. I've seen plastic foam used for this, which is light and strong and will help to insulate.
Reply to
Ian Hoare
estherhoward wrote in message ...
Tyson Stelzer has done exactly this, and written a book called: CELLARING WINE; do-it-yourself solutions
have a look at
formatting link
for more info on his books.
best of luck
Reply to
books and theory are fine - but from a practical standpoint, there are resources that have actually BUILT several hundred wine rooms - several thousand wine cabinets - over the years ....
while a commercial enterprise (we all have to make a living) - the primary focus of my company (web site - is information. we teach "diy's" and building professionals "how-to" every week. there are no charges or fees, the good will and potential referrals is a helluva lot cheaper than advertising with google.
Reply to
Mike Stanton
Hi Howard, Some questions: Where will the "wine cellar" be located? Basement? Heated area? Are you thinking passive? or a cooling unit? If you're thinking passive in a basement, I can offer some suggestions based on my experience.
Otherwise, sorry to say, I dunno, Dick
Reply to
Dick R.

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