How to Prepare Your Space for a Wine Cellar

If you already have an existing home and are thinking of adding a wine cellar in a space you just haven't found the right use for here are some helpful tips. Existing spaces can easily become beautifully appointed wine cellars with the proper preparation mostly due to the temperature controlled factor that most wine rooms require. Lighting placement throughout the racks is also a factor in where the electrical access points are. Humidity, in addition to insulating against temperature change needs to be factored in as well since moisture can be damaging to an unprepared space. See our checklist below that we use when consulting with perspective clients and builders. 

  • Use at least 2” x 4” studs to frame the wine cellar. The thicker the better because more installation can be added.

  • Apply 6mm plastic to “warm” exterior walls to create a vapor barrier. Overlap the edges and seal all holes in the plastic.

  • A minimum of R-13 installation is required for interior walls; minimum R-19 for exterior walls and minimum r-19 for ceilings. Spray foam is best.

  • All piping and wiring inside of the wine cellar needs to be in the correct positions before installation of wine racks can begin.

  • Use “purple board” to cover the studs and vapor barrier because of its superior moisture and mold resistance.

  • Nearly any kind of flooring can be used. Carpet should never be used because of the high moisture content in the room.

  • The wine cellar door must be an exterior grade, 1 ¾” minimum thick door with weather stripping attached to all sides of the doorjamb. Glass doors must have at least double pane-tempered glass.

  • Cooling units themselves come in a variety of sizes and designs; each is best utilized in different areas of a wine cellar based on minimizing noise and maximizing efficiency. 

As you can see the additional work needed to prepare an existing space can be more involved than if the wine cellar is factored in prior to building a home. Contractors can then build to more precise specifications like the ones above to avoid extra cost.