Ultimate Guide to Wine Cellars

How to Build a Wine Cellar

Sold on cellars? Now it's time t­o dig in and build your own. Since we've already given some thought to the space, lighting and humidity needs, let's go more in-depth, starting with materials.

Some woods, like cedar, have been known to affect wine's taste and shouldn't be used for cellar walls. Mahogany is a good choice and is a favorite among contractors in the business. If you're building your cellar from scratch, check out a design-your-own web program to help draft a plan [source: Vigilant].

You'll want to make sure to insulate your walls and seal your floors against moisture (never use carpet in your cellar), making sure the "R factor" (the ability to which the insulation works against heat) is at least 19 [source: National Insulation Association, Vinotemp]. Ask your home improvement professional for a recommended sealant, and test your walls and ceiling for airflow leaks before moving on. Vapor barriers help protect against temperature fluctuations and will keep your humidity at the recommended levels, as well as help with heat retardation.

When you're satisfied with the space you've created, you'll have to add the racking units and other accessories that make your cellar yours. Keep in mind that you'll need space to move around in and the ability to close doors, so utilizing the best rack for the job can make a big difference. Your racking should allow your bottles to rest at an angle that keeps part of the cork in contact with the liquid.

Now all that's left is a popped cork and a toast to your ingenuity!

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