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Build your wine cellar

How to set up your wine cellar? In which order to start? Can you have your own cellar even if you have little space?

The world of wine has fascinated me for several years, so I will give you the answers as precisely as possible.

To build your wine cellar, you must first be aware of the space you have. Then, you can fill your cellar accordingly, with red, white and sparkling wines.

In this article, we will see:

  • The space needed to build your cellar
  • The budget for your cellar
  • How to store the bottles

After reading this, you can start creating your own wine cellar! Without further ado, let’s get started.

The place to set up your wine cellar

If you don’t have a large attic or cellar at your disposal, don’t worry. A personal wine cellar can actually be very simple. A simple shelf holding a few bottles, a dedicated location in a small dark room, an electric cellar, there are many ways to build your cellar.

The main idea is to have bottles available at all times. A surprise guest? An unexpected party? A sudden happy event? Having a few well-chosen wines in your cellar can be a good solution.

Think first of where you can store your bottles.

For a small accommodation

If you live in a small apartment or have little space, you will have to use your imagination. What location do you have that will provide your bottles with the best darkness and temperature? In a drawer, a cupboard in your kitchen, the attic of your roof or your staircase, you necessarily have a place to put your bottles. If possible, a cool place would be ideal, such as a condemned fireplace or even sometimes the hall of stairs (be careful not to have them stolen).

In any case, try to store your bottles horizontally for better conservation. You can also opt for racks or shelves in wood, metal or plastic to store your bottles. Avoid exposing your bottles to direct sunlight.

For average housing

If you live in an apartment with room or in a small house, the choices are already more numerous. As with small accommodation, shelves or bottle racks can be practical to install in a quiet room or in your garage. You can also display a few bottles in your living room or kitchen if you know you will be tasting them soon. 

If you have the means, do not hesitate to invest in an electric wine cellar . Today there are multiple models, ranging from 10 to more than a hundred bottles. With this refrigerator-like device, your bottles will be protected from temperature variations and humidity.

For a large accommodation

Is there a lot of space in your home? Then the electric wine cellar could be a good choice if you want to start a collection. This will allow you to accumulate a lot of bottles to have a nice wine cellar. If you have a basement or a barn, you can also consider installing your bottles in these places, as the temperature is stable (bottle racks in a basement are ideal).

If your means are not an issue, then you might consider having a real cellar installed in your home. There are more and more companies specializing in the creation of wine cellars. The cellars in the basement are optimal for storing the bottles in the best conditions. In addition, your cellar will be able to count many bottles, and you will even be able to taste your wines in your own cellar!

Whether your wine cellar is a wooden cabinet with 6 places, an electric model containing 12 bottles or an underground cellar with more than 100 references, it is always good not to buy just anything for the fill.

What budget to build your wine cellar?

As I like to say, there are bottles of wine under €10 that will please you more than others over €50. So there is no point in breaking the bank, a wine lover can be recognized by the quality of his bottles, not the quality of his wallet.

So spend your money according to the size of your cellar. A cellar of 5 bottles of exceptional and expensive wines does not really make sense. While these same wines will find their place perfectly in a cellar made up of several dozen references.

For a cellar of less than 5 bottles,

I would advise you to have easy-drinking wines, which present themselves in many situations. These bottles will serve you mainly for dinners and improvised aperitifs. 

For example, have one or two bottles of red from the Languedoc, Bordeaux, Burgundy or Val de Loire appellations. These wines are easy to drink, whatever the meal. For white, you can also target Burgundy wines, or wines from Alsace. Finally, having a bottle of sparkling wine (any type of crémant or champagne) is practical for celebrating an unexpected event. A budget of €4 to €15 per bottle is more than enough.

For a cellar of 5 to 10 bottles

The previous advice applies in the same way. You can add more original wines such as a rosé (why not a Cabernet d’Anjou, sweet and pleasant as an aperitif), a sweet white wine or a fortified wine (port, muscat). 

You can also complete your collection with one or two bottles from a more prestigious appellation, such as a bottle of Saint-Emilion in red or a bottle of Chablis in white. The budget can go a little higher for these bottles, aim for a budget of 5 to 20 € per bottle.

For a cellar of 10 to 50 bottles

You can begin to broaden your horizons. For example, you can have a bottle of each appellation of your favorite region. Try to have several types of red wine (tannic, round, fruity, structured), same for white wine (dry, aromatic, soft). 

You can also add more exotic wines to your cellar, such as foreign wines that will surprise your guests (wine from Mexico, China or South Africa). Also try the rarer wines such as a Tokaji white wine (Hungarian wine) or a yellow wine from the Jura. As some original and prestigious wines are more expensive, you can base yourself on a budget of 5 to 40 € per bottle.

For a cellar of more than 50 bottles, 

You start to have a very nice wine cellar. Do not hesitate to buy your favorite bottles in boxes of three or six in order to taste them over the years and note the evolution. In a large cellar like this, we expect to find classic wines, but also more prestigious wines, from different vintages, which should not be hesitated to age.

At this stage, the price range can vary enormously between your different bottles, aim for an average budget of 5 to €60 per bottle, although you can obviously splurge and treat yourself to bottles beyond this budget if your condition allows it.

Monitoring your wine cellar

Whether you have 5, 20 or 100 bottles, it is always worth taking a look at your cellar from time to time. Avoid storing wine just to keep it, this drink is above all made to be drunk and shared. Knowing what’s in your cellar is important to avoid mess.

If your cellar is really big, then do not hesitate to keep a notebook to know exactly what is inside.

It is also important to maintain your cellar, whatever its size. Avoid letting your wine gather dust and maintain the place where your bottles are displayed. Well storing your wines is important.

Build a wine cellar in your image

Building your own wine cellar is exciting, especially if you’re a wine lover. Understand that it is not because your cellar is small that it is necessarily incomplete or bad, quite the contrary. A good wine lover with a limited choice (less than 5 bottles for example) will have to choose his wines more intelligently.

Do not hesitate to build a cellar in your image, which corresponds to you. You are not making a cellar for others, but above all for yourself, so put the wines you prefer there.

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