You love wine and you start to have a nice collection of bottles waiting to be tasted or to have reached perfect maturation. It would be a shame to spoil these future moments of pleasure because of poor conservation! Why not have a wine cellar in your home? It is ideal for storing your best bottles in good conditions. Whatever your budget and the surface you have, solutions exist to give your passion for good wine the setting it deserves.
Keep the wine in good conditions
Wine is a sensitive alchemy and to keep it without spoiling it is necessary to create favorable conditions. *Temperature : The wine is sensitive to temperature variations and excessive heat is not suitable for its conservation. The ideal is to maintain an average temperature of 10 and 13 degrees in the wine cellar. If you do not have a natural cellar, you should consider installing an air conditioning system in the room where you store your bottles. Do not hesitate to check the room temperature regularly with a thermometer. If you want to avoid an air conditioner, opt in any case for a cool room and, more importantly, little subject to seasonal variations. *Humidity : For optimal conservation, you must also pay attention to the humidity of your wine cellar, that is to say the humidity of the air. It should be around 70%. If it is weaker, the cork stoppers may dry out and spoil the wine; if it is larger, mold may develop. Check this factor with a hygrometer before installing your bottles, and if necessary sanitize the room by installing a dehumidifier and ventilation.
*Brightness : Another determining factor, light. The wine is sensitive to it and must be, as much as possible, protected from the rays of the sun and direct lighting. Install your wine cellar in a dark room, ideally without windows, and with low-power lighting, preferably incandescent rather than fluorescent. Orient the lamps towards the opposite ceiling or wall, but in no case towards the stored bottles. *Insulation : In order to maintain a constant temperature and humidity, it is essential to install your wine cellar in a well-insulated place. If this is not the case in the chosen room, work will have to be undertaken to insulate the walls, the ceiling and the door. If you install your bottles in a cupboard, choose a position far from the boiler, radiators and heating pipes, but also far from windows and doors to the outside.
Setting up a wine cellar at home, the right questions
Recreating a wine cellar at home is a project that can be expensive. It is therefore advisable to clearly assess your needs before setting out to make the right choices. *What size ? : Set a limit on the number of bottles according to your average consumption and your habits. No need to store several hundred labels if you drink rarely, or to multiply the wines of long aging if you have little room to let them age. You should also think about the turnover rate of your cellar. A capacity of fifty bottles is a good start for a respectable cellar and a reduced investment. On the other hand, if you receive often or want to age wine over several years, a larger cellar will be necessary, and more elaborate in terms of arrangements. *Or ? : Your wine cellar can be installed anywhere, as long as the conditions mentioned above (insulation, humidity, brightness, temperature) are met. The cellar is ideal but a garage, a closet or the bottom of a staircase can also do the trick if they are arranged correctly.
The different solutions for setting up a wine cellar at home
*The buried cellar : You don't have a cellar but you want a buried wine cellar? It's possible ! Some specialized companies offer to dig the soil of your home or garden to install a turnkey cellar. Rectangular or cylindrical, it is accessed by a hatch and a ladder or a staircase. It is certainly an expensive solution (between 10,000 and 20,000 euros) but with a large capacity and which guarantees ideal storage conditions. *In an existing room : If a buried cellar seems to you to be an unsuitable or too expensive solution, why not fit out an existing room by making the necessary modifications? Once the room is insulated and air-conditioned, all you need to do is install shelves fitted with shelves for bottles, or stack specific wooden or concrete racks. If you have room, take advantage of this to set up a tasting space with a bar or table and a few seats, and a place to store the glasses and the corkscrew! You will benefit all the more from your wine cellar as you make it a convivial space. *A wine cabinet : The low budget alternative is to equip your interior with a wine cabinet. With insulating walls, anti-UV glass, temperature and controlled humidity, it brings together the optimal conditions for wine storage. There are all sizes, from the small model to be built in the kitchen to the impressive cupboards for 200 bottles! They will save you from doing work and the most design will be easily exhibited in a living room. It is even possible to have your wine cabinet made to measure (personalized dressing, double temperature etc.)
What decoration for my wine cellar?
There are many possibilities to arrange a wine cellar, and a wide variety of materials and furniture. It all depends on the style you want to give to your cellar: rustic or contemporary, refined or warm. Be aware though that wood is a safe bet, especially walnut and mahogany, and that vibrated concrete will ensure a constant temperature and good resistance to humidity. As for stainless steel, it is washable, unalterable and brings a highly appreciated modern touch.
Some tips for storing wine
* Whatever solution you choose, store your bottles in the supine or tilted position to avoid drying out of the corks. * You can classify your wines by region, by color, but above all take into account the shelf life so as not to have to constantly move the bottles. * You can keep the bottles in their wooden case, but not in their boxes. By taking in moisture, they can impart unpleasant odors to wine. * Keep any odorous substance or product away from your cellar. The smell of fruit, chemicals, paint could spoil your bottles. * Beware of vibrations which can compromise the decanting of the wine. Think of the washing machine or even the metro passage and put anti-vibration rubbers under your shelves or lockers.