A good cellar can make the difference between enjoying a great wine and pouring the whole bottle down the sink. We asked some experts about creating a private cellar…
The world of wine is a complex one – buying for a special occasion, choosing from an endless menu, storing good stuff on crafted shelves. Finding wine that you actually like drinking is hard enough.
But what about creating your own, personal wine cellar? A world underground that you can dip into whenever the mood strikes you. If you’re lucky enough to be in a position to do so, the complicated wine sphere gets that little bit more so – it’s an expensive practice, and one that if you get wrong, can lose you not just money, but the beautiful wine you spent all that dosh on to preserve in the first place.
Fortunately, we’ve taken some time to chat to bespoke cabinet-makers Halstock, and Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchants, Berry Bros. & Rudd. Together, they’ve tapped into their knowledge to advise us on making the most of a private collection.
The first task is to decide what you, your family and friends want to drink and then put a plan together for the future to ensure you have the right amount of wine at any time that is ready to drink. Berry Bros. & Rudd can work with clients to put together a Cellar Plan. It is worth remembering that the lighting (or wiring at least) needs to be put in place early on.
A cellar should be still, dark, free from vibrations and nowhere near the central heating. The temperature should be kept between 12 and 14°C and humidity should be regulated at 70 per cent.
How Many Cases?
Think about how much wine you need to keep. Factor in parties and the ratio of white, red, champagne and sweet wine you typically drink. Try to estimate the number of different wines you may want to keep at any one time and decide whether you will buy wine as an investment. Space may dictate whether you want double depth racks or wine drawers. Ensure there is room for unusual sized cases and New World wines, which often come in wider bottles than traditional Bordeaux and Burgundies, as well as half bottles and magnums.
Make it easier to find the bottles you are looking for and see how much you have got of a particular wine with everything from the latest cellar management app to customised labels on your racks and drawers.
How Will You Use Your Wine Cellar?
If you want to decant wine in the cellar you should install a sink. If you want to taste wine, you will need a table, a couple of chairs, a small cupboard for glasses and a wine book to record your verdict.
Style and Design
Decide whether you want your cellar to be modern or traditional. Whatever style appeals, you need to have good quality, low-voltage lighting, which doesn’t give off too much heat. If you want to show people your collection of wine, then install lighting which adds to the wow factor. Avoid using any vapour emitting paints – while the gas they give off won’t harm people, it can harm wine.
Buying and Managing Your Wine Collection
Berry Bros. & Rudd will create a tailored Cellar Plan for you from £100 a month and provide you with a Cellar Plan Manager who will set up the plan for drinking, investment or a little of both. They will also advise on what to buy, when to buy it and how to manage it according to your preferences, ensuring you grow a cellar to be proud of.