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
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.
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.
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
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.
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 - galtwinecellars.com) 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.
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,