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Adding a Wine Bar or Cellar to Your New House Plan

One of the biggest perks of purchasing a custom house plan is that you create a unique and personal space for your family and lifestyle. Today’s home building trends include homes with basements or terrace level spaces that can be customized into anything from fitness rooms to offices to wine cellars or bars.

The wine-bar boom in the United States began about a decade ago when neighborhood wine bars began popping up in major cities. In fact, this Wall Street Journal article mentions wine bar entrepreneur Stefan Mailvaganam who says, “the wine-bar market will only get bigger in the coming years … He believes wine bars fill an "untapped niche" for drinkers, especially budding young oenophiles. These vinous neophytes use wine bars in part to ‘transition into adulthood.’"

In the past, people purchased small wine racks to accommodate their interest in collecting and enjoying wines. Next, these wine collectors installed wine refrigerators built into the end of an island near the great room for wine selection convenience. The biggest trend, particularly in the luxury home market, was to build a wine cellar -- the best place being underground in the deepest area of the basement of a home. These cellars require an insulated, cool space with good ventilation and a cooling system.

According to Nielsen, a decade later, wine consumption in the U.S. has been growing in value and volume sales, a global provider of insights into consumer preferences and purchases. “Dollar sales grew faster than purchase volumes in 2014. In U.S. food stores, total wine volume sales grew one percent while total revenues increased by four percent.” Trends also indicate that consumers are transitioning to a preference for higher-value wines. Finally, nowadays, people are building separate wine rooms with comfortable seating areas and central tables.

Wine Racks

If you are an amateur wine collector, then a home bar that includes a wine fridge and small rack should be enough. Smaller homes can accommodate a wine storage space underneath the stairs with racks and lighting. However, if you have cases of wine that you have been collecting, then it may be time for a serious wine storage solution in your new home.

Storage racks range from custom-designed racks to less costly mass market racks.

Wine Bars and Rooms

With today’s aging baby-boomer population, formal, designated dining rooms are now a thing of the past. Instead, people turn formal dining spaces into more casual open spaces and build custom bars to showcase their fine wine collections for in-home entertaining. If one were to add bookcases and some books, this space could also be a cozy library.

Ultimately, light, temperature, upright positioning, and motion all pay for wine storage, so the wine does not go "off."  You can use a variety of materials to build a wine room – from the more traditional room made out of stone and wood  – to a more modern approach, adding metal and/or glass panels to the space, so it appears open behind the bar with panels for a glass door to see the wine racks.

The cost for a wine bar or wine room depends on the quality of the materials plus the installation of climate cooling control systems. The wine bar in the photo (right) is built right into this Plan Collection luxury home plan #161-1017 and includes a lower-level wine cellar and tasting room.

Wine Cellars

Serious collectors require a wine cellar, and the best place for a wine cellar is in the basement because this space tends to be cool, an important fact for adding a wine cooler to your new house plan, plus they add value to the home. Basements tend to cost more to build thanks to the footings and walls that must go below the frost line. Also, it’s challenging to install a basement in some regions of the country without removing the solid rock.

Wine cellars can always be retrofitted into an existing home, but it’s much easier to design one and customize it for your new home plan. It just depends on how serious you are about your wine collection and how much you enjoy entertaining.

Traditional wine cellars require a 10 X 10-foot room with wall space to store 1,600 bottles of wine. Your wine cellar air conditioner needs to help preserve and mature your wine collection at an optimum room temperature of between 55 and 59 °F. Room humidity should be between 60 and 70 percent. A typical home air conditioning unit will not work. Rather, choose a split system controlling temperature and humidity or a duct system with no appliance inside the room.  Ideally, you should keep wines at a temperature between 55 and 58 degrees.

Wine Enthusiast says that cooling units range anywhere from $1,000 to nearly $5,000, depending on the size of the room and the installation method. Some wine rooms can hold up to 4,000 bottles of wine and boast angled shelves so the labels can be displayed, and the corks never dry out.

When planning for a wine cellar in your new home, first estimate the size of your wine collection, now and for the future.  Serious collectors might think about investing in a walk-in cooler featuring wall-mounted racks. You can also add a wine tasting area with the addition of a bistro table or bar filled with corkscrews, wine glasses, etc.


Lead image credit: Kelsey Knight on Unsplash

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