Underground wine cellars are an ideal wine storage option because of their constant temperature, light and humidity, and minimal vibration, thus preventing wine spoilage. As the underground wine cellar is ‘passive’, a cooling system is not needed because the stable underground temperature is suitable for most wines. In addition, wine aroma and taste improve as the wine ages underground, and an underground wine storage system saves space in the house.
Underground wine cellars also have their disadvantages. Water leakage and potential flooding are major risks or issues for underground wine cellars, so it is essential to ensure that your underground cellar is completely waterproof and not prone to any flooding or water leakage. Underground wine cellars are also very expensive to build. Since there is much work needed in constructing underground wine storage, it is more expensive than building a room for storing wine above ground. You also need to go back and forth to the underground wine storage to get your wines. Of course, this may also work in your favour, preventing you from just casually plucking out a 20 year old bottle of wine during a boozy dinner with friends and regretting it later!
Best Conditions for Underground Wine Cellars
The best temperature for wine storage is 55° F and the ideal humidity is 70%. Underground wine cellars should have proper insulation to regulate room temperature. The floor should be moisture resistant to maintain constant level of humidity. Use lighting specifically designed for underground wine storage in order to control light intensity and prevent damage to your wine collection.
Size and Capacity of Underground Wine Storage
The size of underground wine storage is flexible and depends on the number of bottles or barrels that will be stocked. For example, a 6 to 9 foot underground wine cellar can hold 1,000 to 1,600 standard bottles of wine. Work with either what underground space you have available, or how many wine bottles or barrels you want to store. Take into consideration the size of the wine racks that will be used as well.
How to Build and Install an Underground Wine Cellar
Building a 6 to 9 foot underground wine cellar that holds up to 1,600 standard bottles of wine can cost between US$32,000 to $50,000. However, the cost of underground wine storage construction varies among wine cellar construction companies. Contact these companies to get updated information on the cost of underground wine storage.
You will also need to purchase wine racks to hold the wine bottles. These are available in different sizes, colors, designs, materials and prices. Wine racks made from mahogany are popular choices because of their sturdiness and decay resistance. A 36-bottle mahogany wine rack costs around $60, a 40-bottle rack costs about $90 and a 120 bottle rack is about $140.
One of the best-selling wine racks on Amazon.com is the Storvino Nero 6 Bottle Wine Storage Container. It is a modular and transportable wine storage system that can be easily stacked and constructed to suit your underground wine cellar space. Even better, it is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic, previously in the form of garbage cans, shopping carts, produce bins, beverage and bread trays and retired recycle crates.
If there’s ample space, build a wine tasting room where guests can enjoy tasting wine after viewing your collection.