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In a bad economy, what sells? According to the Nielson Company people are buying much more practical items like canned goods, food storage products and spending much less money on entertainment and going out. Less time out of the home has translated to a major increase in wine & liquor sales! People aren’t heading out for alcohol, but they still want to drink at home. Americans are already spending more on wine than any other nation. In 2007, the U.S. invested nearly $22 billion in wine purchases, the report by the London-based wine market research company said. What does this mean? Wine enthusiasts love for the grape brew has not been dampened.

A natural progression in the passion for vino is the idea of creating a home wine cellar. Wine cellars have become stylish and sought-after features in homes. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry has documented that adding a wine cellar to your home will add value to your home and provide a positive return on your investment.

Homeowners are finding under-used spaces in their homes to convert into inviting sipping spots. These spaces could be closets, alcoves or the most popular – basements! Size of the cellar can vary, but usually does not envelop the entire basement. The protection from vibration that a basement offers makes it a popular choice. Many basement cellars include tables for tasting, plumbing lines run to sinks for rinsing, cabinets and drawers for accessory storage and even music for entertaining. How you want to use your wine cellar, besides the obvious storage of wine, is an important fact to consider before you begin your renovation.

Bottles of wine don’t always make for easy housemates, however. To keep them happy, and full of flavor, they can be a little finicky and difficult to care for. For these reasons it may be beneficial to consult with a professional remodeler familiar with wine cellar renovations to construct the best bodega for your bottles! Here are just some specifications I recommend for residential wine cellars:

o Temperature: Often called one of the greatest concerns in wine storage! The ideal temperature is 50ºF to 55ºF, but several degrees either side of this is quite safe. Temperature fluctuation is another great concern. Ask your renovation professional about installing specific temperature controls for your wine cellar.

o Vapor: Wine is very sensitive to moisture; all walls must have a vapor barrier and insulation. The vapor barrier is a 6mil polyethylene plastic sheeting and must be on the “warm side.” The warm side means that the vapor barrier is protect from wine cellar (cold side) by insulation. The vapor barrier put on the wine cellar side will cause the humidity to condensate on the barrier and could cause damage to your walls.

o Walls: The interior walls must have a minimum of R-11 insulation and exterior walls must have a minimum of R-19. Many of the wall space will be covered by a combination of cabinets, individual bottle bins and diamond bins. Consider the size and quantity of bottles you want to store before you or your contractor begins designing your layour.

o Floors: Concrete ground floors, like in a basement, need a vapor barrier only meaning to be sealed with concrete sealant. Any above ground floors need to be R-19 with a vapor barrier. Stone or tile floors are a very popular and traditional choice to lay above the barriers.

o Door: The door should be an exterior grade door with a weather seal to keep the temperature of your home wine cellar regulated at all times.

o Lighting: The light in your wine cellar should exude as little heat as possible, while still adequately lighting the space. If you choose to use any lighting that emits a UV, like halogen, be sure to put a UV filter film to protect the wine.

o Tables & Seating: If your space is large enough you will surely want a table and seating to entertain friends or just enjoy your wine in absolute privacy. Many cellar table options include additional storage below the table top; bar height is a popular choice for cellar tables and countertops.


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