I’m starting a series of posts chronicling past projects that I have worked on in the house. The first one is an 800+ bottle, climate controlled wine cellar that I built in the winter of 2014/2015. I built all of the racks by hand, along with the other renovation work required to convert a former walk-in storage closet / craft room into a wine cellar. Originally, the room looked like this:
After ripping out the countertops and the carpet, as well as the aging, office style fluorescent lights, I had to repair drywall damage and install new LED spotlights to shine on the wine bottles:
Before painting, I had vapor-seal spray foam insulation injected into the walls. This allows me to maintain a consistent temperature and humidity in the cellar. Finally, I installed a wine cellar climate control system from NFINITY in the wall, with power lines and drainage tubes routed through the wall into the house’s basement utility room:
Once that was completed, I painted the walls red (wine cellars are a great opportunity to use a bold color) and installed tile on the floor, which further help with temperature control and make it easier to clean up any spillage as compared to carpet:
After some other minor electrical work, it was time to start building the racks. I designed a rack in AutoCAD, somewhat based on a rack that I purchased from World Market. It was designed to be stackable, so that I could assembled individual, easy to move/stain racks, that could then be assembled to fit the space available in the room. I built the racks from white pine, cut via miter saw, and first assembled the outer frame using wood screws and then attached the individual bottle holders using wood glue and clamps:
I also designed a diagonal rack to offset the look of the more traditional rectangular racks:
Finally, I built a series of display racks to go over top of the main racks, for displaying large format and other upright bottles:
After building almost two dozen racks, it was time to install them in the wine cellar temporarily to verify the fit.
I also installed an electric fireplace to provide ambiance for the wine cellar’s tasting area without providing heat that would hurt the wine, and built an arch to go over the fireplace:
I cut and stained a climate-safe door that would provide a window into the cellar while keeping the cold air inside:
As everything was assembled, it became easier to visualize what the cellar would look like in its final form:
I setup a staining area in my garage. I used a combination of brushed stain from Minwax and aerosol stain (also from Minwax). The aerosol stain was vitally important for staining the interior of the rectangular racks, since there was not enough space to reach in with my hands and brush stain them.
Once the racks were stained, I was able to reassemble them in the cellar, and the final picture started coming into focus. I setup a tasting area with two leather chairs, and installed a small refrigerator to cool white and sparkling wines prior to drinking. Later on installed an iPad on the wall with cellar tracker software, Vinocell, to track the cellar’s inventory:
Once everything was fully assembled, all that was left was to start stocking the cellar with wine! My wife and I took a trip to Napa the following summer and sent back around 200 bottles as an initial base inventory, and we have been keeping it stocked since. The end result is both a beautiful and usable space, that is one of the crown jewels of of our house when we have dinner parties.
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