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18. Wine Cellar or Wine Cabinets, which is best?

EuroCave Wine Cellars EuroCave Vintage View EuroCave Vintage View

Wine Cellars and ‘Wine Walls’ are hot property trends. Many new homes and renovations are incorporating them into their design.

So if you have a wine collection you want to protect, which is the best option? Do you build a wine cellar or do you simply install a row of wine cabinets?

Well, it depends on a number of factors.  Consider the following 5 factors in making your decision:

1. Available Space?
There is a certain romanticism about walking in to your very own ‘traditional’ wine cellar where one’s precious wine collection can be admired along walls of custom made wine racks and with a glass wall looking in. This is a wine enthusiast’s mecca.

With existing homes, a wine cellar can be built in the basement, adjacent to the garage, under the stairs, in a spare room or in an external building near the main house. New homes are being designed with dedicated wine cellars either in the home’s foyer, next to a dining room or butler’s pantry. Either way, there is no doubt that a wine cellar provides a wow factor.

Of course, a row of wine cabinets (or a ‘wine wall’) can also fit into any of the above scenarios. Whether they are freestanding, incorporated into a wall or built into joinery, they are quite functional and can also look very impressive.

2. What is involved and how much will it cost?
Building a properly performing wine cellar is serious business! It involves proper heavy duty insulation along with the installation of a reputable wine cellar conditioner to hold a consistent temperature of 12-14 degrees. It also requires proper ducting, air flow, drainage, power, the correct door, and then wine racks and perhaps an area to taste a bottle. Want to go underground? Well, this is where costs really start to escalate. A geotechnical report, along with structural drawings and dimensions are needed and costs largely depend on site access, rock and services in the ground. In short, it would not be uncommon for excavations to reach tens of thousands of dollars.

Sometimes, achieving your desired look within the cellar can be prohibitively expensive. Custom solid timber joinery for example can also run into the tens of thousands and any glass walls or doors must be double glazed, argon filled and include an energy coating or UV protection to provide a high thermal resistance and prevent condensation. It is not uncommon for this type of glazing to reach $1,000 per square meter.

Of course, if you build a simple structure above ground and use off the shelf racking, you will save a fortune. You will still need to insulate and climate control the space though.

If, on the other hand, you have a wall along which you can place a row of wine cabinets, they simply plug in to a power point and away you go. Generally speaking, it would be more cost effective to have up to four wine cabinets rather than build a wine cellar.

3. Bottle capacity?
How many bottles of wine do you currently have in your collection?  If you’re growing your cellar, do you have a magic number of bottles you want to store in the future?

Recent studies show people are drinking less wine these days but that it tends to be of better quality. If you generally drink, say 3-4 bottles a week, that’s around 150-200 bottles a year.

500-600 well-chosen bottles can go a long way to satisfy most people’s needs for high quality aged wine.  If you enjoy imported wine, 1000 bottles is more common. Add to this the day-to-day drinking wine and you probably don’t really need more than that.

To calculate how many bottles will fit in your cellar, allow about one hundred bottles per square meter. If your collection is small relative to the cellar’s bottle capacity, bear in mind that it may take many years to fill the cellar and that a cellar at even 50% capacity looks a little sad. If you can near fill your cellar from the beginning, leaving a little room for growth, it will look great.

If you’re thinking wine cabinets, you could start with one or two and add more if and when the need arises.

4. What happens when the home is sold one day?
If you plan on selling your home one day, a wine cellar is certainly a draw-card. The problem for you of course is that you have to leave it behind and start again in your next home.

Wine cabinets come up on top here because you can always take them with you.  If, on the other hand the potential buyer is interested in the ‘wine cellar wall’, you could always list them as an excluded chattel.

5. How do you plan to enjoy your wine collection?
If you are planning a functional space to store your wine collection long term then a properly built cellar will certainly do the trick. However if you take pleasure in sharing your collection with others and plan to make the area a destination for entertaining or even enjoying a quiet glass in your own company, then a cellar might become a little chilly as it needs to be kept at a steady 14 degrees.

Having a ‘wine wall’ means you can furnish your wine room as you please with couches, or a table and chairs. Most importantly your wine room can become a highly usable part of your home, a special place where you and others can really appreciate your wine.


EuroCave Wine Cellar Conditioners and Wine Cabinets
EuroCave wine cabinets take care of all the essential criteria for cellaring and protecting your wine. Designed and manufactured in France, EuroCave continues to set the world standard for the most technologically advanced and beautifully designed fridges in the world. They have an A+ energy rating, and easy to use roller mounted sliding or soft close shelves to cater for various bottle shapes. They also have beautiful (amber) UV free cold lighting and there is no plastic in EuroCave wine cabinets. Most importantly, EuroCave cabinets are built to last; we often speak to customers who have had their EuroCave for 10, 15 or even 20 years.

If you find a wine cellar is right for you, EuroCave’s Inoa Wine Cellar Conditioner can covert almost any space into a cellar by managing temperature, humidity and air flow. The Inoa is continuously specified by some of Australia’s leading architects, builders and air conditioning experts.

Our specialists are always happy to discuss your specific needs and help with expert advice.  Call us on 1800 733 621.  We are always happy to chat about wine!


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