For people who don’t want to do a complete make-over of their basements or a section of their home in order to build a custom wine cellar, a great option is the wine room. These storage units provide everything the home wine connoisseur needs to age and store wine.
Though a wine enthusiast can put racks up just about anywhere, you can ruin a lot of good wine if you don’t store it with the proper temperature and humidity control. Most basements aren’t 100 percent underground. That foot or so can be the factor that will ruin the kind of controlled temperature you want to have for wine storage. The solution is a separate area that not only provides racking, but also temperature and humidity control as well as proper lighting.
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American Wine Essentials, Inc. in Milpitas, California, at the southern tip of the San Francisco Bay, offers wine room packages. “We offer the best cost per bottle for getting a walk-in versus a pre-built cabinet or even building a room from scratch,” says Andrew Winn, partner. In business since 1998, American Wine Essentials has seen growth in personal wine collections. “New people getting into wine has increased each year,” Winn says. “We have older folks who are the true wine connoisseurs. But there has been a lot of new money and a lot of new people just getting into wine.”
As those collections grow, having the proper storage is essential. That’s were Winn’s wine rooms come in. “They are built here in California and shipped broken down to the customer. We provide all the racking, insulation, floor, ceiling, cooling system, etc. The homeowner can hire a contractor to come in and built it on site. However, with just a screwdriver and some help, generally most homeowners can figure out how to do it themselves.”
American Wine Essentials offers four different models, called AMERICAVE Walk-in Wine Rooms. These rooms are all 80 1/2"H x 80 1/2" W and vary in depth from 46 1/2" to 121 1/2". The Deluxe Wine Room 900, the smallest, has a 900 bottle rack capacity with 108 bottles in bulk storage. The Deluxe Wine Room 2600, the largest, can store 2,549 bottles in racks and 380 in bulk storage. All of them are designed to maintain the ideal storage temperature of 55-58 degrees and a humidity level of 50-70 percent. Racking is made of Redwood, with the interior crafted from Mahogany and the exterior from Red Oak. In addition, all wine rooms are insulated.
The rooms start out around $3,000 for a bare-bones unit. However, upgrades can include a solid frame door with an arch or other decorative window or even French windows. The owner can upgrade to a Mahogany exterior, with interiors in a choice of Cherry, Maple, Alder, and Birch or in several different laminates. All woods can be natural or stained in one of six different colors. Trim moldings can be added, as well as split panels and a low-heat interior light. Locks can also be added.
With more high end choices, these wine rooms turn from plain, but attractive, utility rooms to extravagant additions to one’s home. “On the larger wine room, the 2600,” Winn says, when it’s all said and done before shipping, it will come out to $6-7K or so roughly to get that kind of bottle count for a walk-in cellar, just plain and simple. We’ve done showcase cellars that are done for close to $50K, using very expensive flooring, arches, ceiling wood, and this and that. It’s a beautiful walk-in.” These masterpieces rival the custom build wine cellars drafted by an architect.
The simpler wine rooms, however, do the trick.. “They’re very well built. We’ve done garages where people upgrade the insulation. We’ve done Palm Desert, Texas, Arizona. We’re talking hot states,” Winn says. And the wine thrives.
American Essential Wine Rooms are so attractive that Fine Living Network has filmed their “Pocket the Difference” show on wine storage in Winn’s showroom. So, for a fraction of what it would cost to build your own wine cellar, you can install a self-contained wine room to age and store your precious wine collection.