Design Theory: Wine Cellars – Rigby & Rigby

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Design Theory: Wine Cellars

There are numerous considerations when designing a wine cellar in a private residence. Rigby & Rigby explore all aspects of wine collecting so that our client’s wine collection is housed in the best conditions by ensuring they are both effectively displayed and properly preserved.

Bottle Names & Sizes
There are two important reasons why wine collector’s understand bottle sizes. Firstly, wine bottle capacity and secondly, understanding different wine bottle sizes can significantly impact how to store the wine in the wine cellar.

Wine crates began human’s attempt at mass advertising as they were the first product packaging method made for the consumer. Thousands of years later they are still crafted for this purpose. Typically, wine crates come in single, 6 bottle and 12 bottle sizes with different types of opening such as slide lids and flip-top lids. Considering the different sizes of wine crates is imperative when designing joinery shelves in a wine cellar to ensure that they fit and are displayed in the most effective manner.

Maturing wine is both an art and a science. Chemistry is the key driving factor behind ageing wine and underpins the importance of careful wine storage. The ability to carefully control the levels of oxygen, temperature, humidity, vibration and strong smells is fundamental to storing wine. Ideally, wine should be stored on its side at a temperature between 10-15 degrees celsius and humidity of approximately 60-70% in a residential property.

The insulation of a wine cellar is a way to ensure that all the preservation variables can be maintained at a steady and constant rate. Polystyrene is the most efficient insulation in the market due to its low flammability and high durability over a long period of time. Insulation should be used, where necessary, against the walls, on the ceiling and on the floor.

Vapour Barriers
A vapour barrier creates separation between the environment outside the wine cellar and the environment inside it. Whilst it does not prevent the warm air in a home from travelling to the cooler environment in your wine cellar, it plays an important role in controlling the overall humidity.

Wine dislikes light, especially sunlight, which can affect the taste of wine particularly sparkling wine. For optimal lighting conditions, LED lighting is the best option as it does not emit UV light and emits a minimal amount of heat. Having dimmable lighting enables you to go between ambient low lighting for displaying wine and bright lighting for restocking your cellar.

Material finishes are considered when designing a wine cellar as they can aid in the preservation of the wine. Carpet should not be used due to the cool, humid environment in a wine cellar leading to mould or mustiness. If flooring is installed directly over concrete the flooring material may warp over time due to the humidity. To mitigate this then a vapour barrier must be installed. Natural woods can be used in wine cellars providing they have low to zero toxicity to stop the wine taste being affect by chemical stains or seals. Stone is a durable alternative for a wine cellar in particular those with a tasting area as the majority of stones will not stain.

Wine Tasting
If you are looking to incorporate a wine tasting station then there are some things that should be considered. A wine tasting island or table and chairs should be positioned carefully in the room to ensure that your guests enjoy the tasting experience through visuals, smell and taste. A tasting station should be in a quiet room that does not contain too many distinctive or overpowering smells and has good lighting.

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