How to Build a Wine Cellar in Your Basement

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Having a basement in your home is beneficial for many reasons. You can use that extra as storage or as a spare room for anything you need. One of the better options is to build a wine cellar in your basement. Let’s see how to do that in a few simple steps!

Requirements for a wine cellar

Just building a wine cellar in your basement is not enough. There is a set of requirements you must meet, or the wine will go bad.

First of all, understanding how temperature affects the wine is very important. The chemical reactions double with every 18F, and that will seriously affect the quality of the wine. The optimum temperature should be between 50 and 59F. With that said, when working on basement finishing, speak with the consultant, and see what the best options for keeping the temperature steady are. Many factors can affect the temperature change, so you have to be very precise with the setup.

Humidity also affects the wine in different ways. It should be between 50% and 70%. If it goes higher than 70%, mold will form on the labels and glue, and there will even be some degradation. On the other hand, if the humidity drops below 50%, it will dry out the cork and affect the quality of the wine.

The next requirement is that the basement should not have too bright of lights. The wine is best kept in a dark room because intense light may speed up the aging process.

The final requirement is using the best bottle racks. The golden rule is that, once a bottle is placed in the rack, there should be no moving, and it would be best not even to touch it. Furthermore, any vibrations may affect the composition of the liquid inside. Bottles need to remain perfectly still until ready to serve.

Pre-building preparation

Before you take your tools and start working on the basement, there are a few things you need to check first:

  • Assess the space you have to work with;
  • Find a spot with no light, air circulation, or water leaks;
  • Get necessary materials, and have in mind that the wall will need insulation to stabilize the temperature.
  • Since we talked about how vibrations negatively affect the wine, choosing the best floor is imperative. If you will be walking inside the wine cellar, the floor must not be loose, or your walking might disrupt the maturation process. With that said, concrete floors will have to be covered.

The building process

The first step in building a wine cellar in your basement is to get rid of moisture. Since it can easily get in through concrete, you need to seal it with a concrete sealer. Similarly, if you have floor tiles, the grout will have to be sealed as well.

For framing, add strips of pressure-treated lumber, and insulate with blueboard between the strips. The finishing touch is drywall that goes over everything. Just remember to add any wiring before you hang the drywall. The idea is to get at least an R-19 insulation value.

You can construct the rest of the walls with the 2×6 studs and insulate them as well. R-19 batt insulation is a good choice. However, for the ceiling, you need to go with at least R-30.

Set up the lighting

When it comes to lights, don’t use fluorescent ones. Also, there should be no windows. The best strategy is to install a light timer or a sensor that will trigger only when someone is in the basement. This is an excellent safeguard for accidentally leaving the light on when you go out.

The right type of door needed to build a wine cellar in your basement

The door also plays a crucial role in insulating the wine cellar. An exterior grade door is the best choice, and it needs to be at least 1¾ inches thick. Some people also like to install a glass door. If this is your cup of tea as well, make sure to use double or triple pane glass. Additionally, it should be tempered glass, and it needs a good threshold and weatherstripping to prevent air from coming through. If there is slight air resistance when closing the door, that means it’s working.

Setting up the cooling unit

As discussed before, you need a good mini-split AC unit installed on the exterior wall to keep the temperature stable. To control the humidity level, you also need to add an air conditioning unit inside. However, if you live in a cold climate, you need a dehumidifier instead. To keep everything in check, you need a hygrometer and a thermometer in the cellar.

Bottle rack

You can either build or install a bottle rack. Remember that bottles need to be positioned on their side, never in a vertical position. Furthermore, when moving your collection into the new cellar, be extra careful when transporting the bottles. It’s a touchy work, and a lot of it can go wrong. It is better to take your time than to rush it and do a poor job.

Moving your wine collection

If you have another cellar and want to move the wine to your basement, it will require professional assistance. This is one more project that requires time and preparation. Everything should be planned in advance and carried out with no delays. The longer the wine bottles are in motion, the bigger the chances are something could go wrong.

Therefore, it is imperative to hire professionals who specialize in moving such specialty items. It’s best to contact a company to find out more information and ensure that an experienced movers that understand your wine collection value are on your side.

A finishing touch

After you build a wine cellar, think about the furnishing. If this is intended to be just storage for your wine collection, it is fine to leave it like that. However, if you plan to host a wine tasting event or show the collection to your friends, you should consider adding a table and a few chairs inside.

As you can see, it will take a bit of work to build a wine cellar in your basement. However, if you know what you are doing and what requirements you need to fulfill, it is a relatively straightforward process. Good luck with the project!

About The Author: Joshua Simmons is a construction worker with over 20 years of experience. He enjoys building indoor and outdoor house projects, and he combines his love of writing with the wish to help people improve their living space and add value to their homes.
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

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