When at their desk dreaming about the coming weekend, many Arizonians visualize sitting out on the patio enjoying a chilly evening in front of a warm fire with a nice bottle of wine. Nothing quite says luxury like dipping into your own wine cellar reserve to find that perfect bottle to uncork.
Many homeowners have the luxury of a gorgeous stone lined underground grotto at their disposal for tasting and storing some of the finest. If you are not one of these lucky few, great news! You don’t have to move or send your child off to college to reclaim square footage to elevate your wine experience. A wine cellar needs far less space than you think.
With the soaring popularity of entertaining at home and wine collecting, wine storage options continue to grow and become more creatively implemented. Small living enthusiasts can now maximize home space by converting areas such as closets, staircases coves, or walls into practical wine storage alternatives and great conversation starters.
When selecting that sweet spot for your upground cellar, stay away from exterior walls. An interior room or wall will make for a more stable environment for the wine and cut down on cooling costs. The well-shaded side of the house also works well. Ideal conditions for a wine cellar are cool and dark, ranging from 55 degrees to 65 degrees. This becomes important because unlike a below-ground cellar, where the average temperature naturally ranges from 55 degrees to 65 degrees, you’ll have to insulate your cellar and of course add refrigeration to achieve the same results. Gary Sullivan, The Wine Enthusiast director of sales, explains in the Wine Spectator magazine that a vapor barrier “goes on the warm side — which is the exterior of the cellar, the interior of your living space.”
Refrigerating your new wine room certainly adds to the expense but there are numerous options ranging the gamut of price. From simply placing a wine cooler refrigerator in the room, kits or systems that can be inserted into the closet space or turning the entire room into a refrigerated environment.
When looking at inspiration photos of converted closets or rooms, you will see projects with many options for doors, including French doors or doors with glass panels. Whether refrigerated or not, have a door that keeps the light low so the temperature inside remains consistent. If lighting shines into the glass panel from outside the closet, use low-heat lights such as LEDs rather than heat intense halogens.
What’s Inside Counts
Assuming you are going to display your wine a little more ceremoniously than the stacked boxes at Costco, lining the interior with plywood gives you a great surface to affix mounting shelves. Moveable shelves will provide the flexibility needed to adapt as your collection grows.
There are many options for shelves and racks ranging from cleverly using recycled wooden wine crates to custom shelving or wine racks. Closet Wine Cellars manufactures an innovative patented wine racking system. It is designed to maximize any given space (closet, wall or room storage). The system showcases wine bottles in the desired neck down position. Leaving bottles artfully displayed and wine labels readily viewable for easy retrieval.
But every good wine lover knows that an empty cellar or closet is no more fulfilling than an empty glass. Rather than simply dashing off to the local wine boutique, not that convenience is bad, wine selection like wine consumption is better enjoyed as an experience. Take the time to enjoy the journey by visiting local wine festivals to brush up on wine speak and varietals as well as stock your new wine closet.
A perfect opportunity is looming up this weekend at the Grand Wine Festival featuring Heritage Square reds, whites, and roses, oh my! Did you know we have four wine growing regions in Arizona? The festival highlights the growing business of varietals with a fabulous taste of 30 different wineries, showcasing more than 150 wine varietals. Try by the glass and take home a bottle or case of your favs.
To solidify the experience, the event will feature music, a small selection of vendors, and an auction to be held on Saturday.
Sat., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Starting at $15. Arizona Wine Growers Association.