Wine Cellar Tips for Your Underground Sips

You may have long yearned for a wine cellar, but thought you couldn’t build one because you didn’t have a large wine collection or budget. Not to worry: although cellars are traditionally associated with snobbery and expense, in today’s egalitarian world wine lovers are building them on relatively modest budgets. In fact, there are a range of reasons why wine lovers choose to build a cellar: Do you yearn for the smooth, layered taste of mature wines? Do you like to buy wines upon release, when they’re least expensive, rather than paying top dollar later? Or do you just have […]

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Building a Wine Cellar: Costly Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some mistakes to void when building a cellar. Don’t wait until you have a large collection. You don’t need to amass hundreds of bottles before you consider building a cellar. In fact, it’s best to take the opposite approach: build the cellar and then fill it. You don’t want good wines to cook in the heat of some closet or to freeze over-chilled in an icy basement. And if you do keep your wine in the basement, it may have to rub shoulders with undesirable influences such as harsh solvents or cans of paint. These chemicals break down […]

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How to Stock Your Cellar: Which Wines, What Budget?

A candelabra flickers on the massive oak table in the cool, musty subterranean room. Old wine crates are stacked to the ceiling, each etched with the name of a venerable château. Dusty barrels in one corner were filled with cognac distilled a century ago. Through the stone archway, racks of cobwebbed bottles stretch into the distance. Many wine lovers share the fantasy, but how do you tackle the realities of building a wine cellar in your home? Mature wines offer exotic flavors and aromas that just aren’t found in young wines. As fine wine ages, the fresh grapey aromas diminish […]

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Wine Cellar: Dream Bottles of a Lifetime

When price isn’t a concern, go for the heavy-hitters that start at one to two hundred dollars per bottle and go up to thousands of dollars per bottle, especially for mature vintages bought at auction. The challenge in this range is finding the wines since many are on limited allocations, and have people on waiting lists to buy them. Almost all of these require aging to taste their best – at least five years, and some up to ten to fifteen years, or longer. Start with California cult cabernets, such as Screaming Eagle, Harlan Estate, Grace Family, Pahlmeyer, Cain Five, […]

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How to Build a Custom Wine Cellar: Calm, Cool and Collected

$5,000 – $50,000+ CUSTOM WINE CELLAR As their collection continues to grow past wine racks and wine fridges, some wine drinkers retro-fit their existing basements to make them ideal for wine storage, rather than rely on natural conditions. Since renovating your basement, or building a custom cellar, can involve several trades — electrical work, insulation, carpentry, lighting, engineering, masonry and interior design — it’s advisable to hire an experienced contractor or a cellar consultant. First, analyze your existing basement conditions to identify humidity levels and hot and cold spots, in relation to the ideal range. This will tell you what […]

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Wine Fridge as a Wine Cellar: Great Option for Tight Spaces

$2,000 – $10,000 WINE FRIDGES As your wine collection grows, you can keep adding more wine racks; or you can consider buying a wine fridge, an off-the-rack option that suits anyone who has limited space, such condo and small-home dwellers. These fridges are humidity and temperature-controlled for wine. The kitchen fridge is too cold and isn’t humid enough to keep wine long term, wine fridges are specially temperature- and humidity-controlled for wine. Keeping wine in your kitchen fridge for a few days is fine though. Wine fridges come in half, full and double sizes, as well as walk-in Brinks-style vaults. […]

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How to Cellar Wine: Temperature, Humidity, Light Conditions

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist understand the basics of wine storage: temperature, humidity and light conditions for wine cellars. Temperature The proper storage temperature of 10 to 15oC enables wine to age slowly to its full complexity. Excess heat cooks off its finer characteristics, while too much chill retards its maturation. Humidity Humidity should also be stable, at about 70 percent, so that corks don’t dry out. When dry, corks shrink slightly, allowing air into the bottles that oxidizes the wine. This is also why bottles are stored on their sides: the wine keeps the cork wet, […]

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How to Start a Wine Cellar: Wine Racks for Reality Budgets

You don’t have to live over a limestone cave, or have the budget of an eighteenth-century aristocrat, to cellar wine. Of course, higher-end options exist including wine fridges and custom-built wine cellars. However, you can start as simply as you like, with one wine rack purchased at a home furniture store, and add more as your collection grows. Here are tips on which wines to stock in your cellar. $200 – $5,000 WINE RACKS Set up racks in a cool, dark area of the house, such as the basement, cold storage room or closet that have the best conditions for […]

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Wine Cellars: Ideal Storage Conditions

“Wine likes to grow up slowly in dark, cool conditions,” says Natalie MacLean, author of Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass. If it’s too hot, the wine will age too quickly. It’s the difference between cooking your dinner in the microwave versus slow-roasting it.” The ideal temperature for storing wine is 55 degrees Fahrenheit, with a humidity level around 75 percent. The cool temperature helps the wine mature at a slow, steady rate, maintaining optimal taste during the storage period. Since most fine wines are plugged with natural cork, and not topped […]

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Wine Cellar Trends, Options and Designs

Forget meaningless one-night stands. An increasing number of Canadians are having a hot and heavy love affair with wine — a passion that rages on, long after the red roses have wilted and the Valentine chocolates are gone. According to Statistics Canada, “the intake of wine has continued to increase over the last 10 years reaching 13.9 litres (per person) in 2006.” Ottawa wine writer Natalie MacLean says in the last two years alone, wine consumption has increased seven to eight per cent, edging out beer as the alcoholic drink of choice. “Definitely, it’s trending up,” says MacLean, author of […]

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