Are concrete walls acceptable for a wine cellar?
If your cellar is a passive one without a cooling system then you can use your concrete walls. However, if you are using an active cooling system you must insulate and install vapor barrier over all concrete and stone walls. Concrete and stone are terrible insulators and will continually pull cold air from your cellar.
What wood should I use when building a wine cellar?
It depends on how wet they are. Tropical hardwoods such as mahogany are ideal for wine cellar racking. Rot and moisture resistant, these woods are also hard, giving them the strength to hold large quantities of wine. Redwood, a softwood can be used as well. Avoid using aromatic woods such as cedar or woods such as birch, cherry and oak which will hold mildew in a damp environment unless treated.
What are the construction specifications for a conditioned wine cellar?
The wine cellar must be properly constructed to promote proper wine storage conditions and energy efficiency and also to prevent potential damage to your home or building from potential condensation issues. Walls: Should be 2″ x 6″ wood or metal frame construction. If cement or block walls are part of the design, these walls must be well insulated with vapor barrier. Insulating Walls: R-19 minimum to R-30 Insulating the Ceiling: R-30 minimum to R-45 Vapor Barrier: 6 mil polyethylene, sealed rigid foam or blown insulation in all walls and ceilings. All joints must be well sealed and taped. If using polyethylene sheeting, the sheeting must be located between the insulation and the warm side of the wall to prevent potential condensation issues. Sheathing: 1/2″ moisture resistant green board with mildew resistant paint or a hardwood tongue and groove wood paneling such as mahogany. Flooring: Brick, tile, stone or wood are all acceptable flooring products for you conditioned wine space. Cellar Door: An exterior grade insulated door with complete weather stripping and double insulated glass is a must to ensure the proper temperature and humidity levels of your wine room are sealed within the space and efficiently maintained.
Do I need an actively conditioned wine cellar?
In general, actively conditioned wine cellars, those highly insulated with proper construction, are better for storing fine wines than passive wine cellars which rely on natural cooling and moisture. Proper wine storage requires constant temperature and humidity control that a passively cooled wine cellar might not always be able to deliver. A high-quality mechanical cooling system will maintain a constant cool temperature and assist with humidity control to promote the proper aging of your wine. Learn more about the ideal conditions for storing wine.
Do I need a cooling system for my wine cellar?
The basements of most modern homes are too warm and dry to passively provide the ideal conditions for wine storage. In most cases, it is necessary to actively condition the environment inside the wine cellar. The most common conditioning unit on the market is a through wall system that is similar to a common room air conditioner. These units remove heat from the cellar space and blow it into a room on the other side of the wall. A workroom or utility area in your basement is ideal for this. More sophisticated ducted and ducted split cooling systems allow for more flexibility and remote heat exhaustion.