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Wine – Basement Wine Cellars

North Americans have one thing going for them when starting a cellar: the climate. If you combine this with an underground basement, you will find it relatively easy to start a cellar that you feel comfortable storing your wines in.

Wine should be stored at 12 to 16 C. This is the ideal temperature but you can waver slightly without damage to your wine. Do not worry if the temperature changes gradually from season to season.

Make sure your chosen location is away from any heat source. Heat is wine’s worst enemy and a water heater, laundry room, or vent should be avoided at all cost. Heat will turn your beautiful vintage wine into vinegar.

If your chosen location is warmer than 20 C you can only store your wine for up to one year without taking on a risk. The chosen location should also be dark, free from vibrations, and fairly humid. In North America basements usually suit this criteria perfectly.

Once you have determined your basement is appropriate, choose a north facing wall in a corner if possible. It is a good idea to enclose you cellar space with walls and insulation to regulate temperature. Insulating the door is also a good idea.

Racking is very important and should be chosen carefully. I recommend individual bottle slots in you racking for easy access. I also recommend you leave some space for storing cases of wine in their original boxes. Florescent lighting is a good idea; it does not harm the wine and the bulbs lasts longer. If you find the summer temperatures increasing over the recommended level you should install a cooling unit.

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