Not sure what to do with the basement - why not turn it into a wine lover's dream?
As a child growing up in a vintage Victorian home, I remember cringing at the thought of going into the basement. Rusty paint cans laced together with spider webs and wood crickets the size of my fist had me racing up the stairs, taking two at a time. No longer does going to the basement need to feel like being relegated to the dungeon.Home gyms were among the first to venture down the stairs, then the cave-like spaces became a good fit for home theaters with their low light and great acoustics.The most recent activity making itself right at home in the basement is for adults only. The growing popularity of home wine storage took root in the cellar in the 1980s, and began to boom in the '90s when homes became more expansive and elaborate, yielding some of the most opulent and coveted spaces in the home.While a wine swiller may be content with a six-bottle rack on the kitchen counter holding 1.5 liter bottles, a wine sipper or connoisseur demands more. Wine storage creates a venue for a variety of pleasures. According to Ben Adams, director of marketing for Vigilant Woodworks, the needs of their clients for custom wine cellars varies."We have clientele whose goals are multi-purposed; the majority want a space that's aesthetically pleasing and adds value to the house while also creating a unique space for entertaining," says Adams. "Then we have the serious investors who need to assure their wine is secure and want to safely preserve the value of their collection which far exceeds the cost of the cellar."Cabinet makers by trade, Vigilant Woodworks crafts wine storage, like furniture you can live in. Their ability to customize their features directly to the clients' desires sets them apart from the competition. Depending on your needs, storage prices range from $3-15 per bottle or are based on a square footage cost. Every design is so personalized, these wine cellars really make you feel at home.Insuring the quality of the wine collection is paramount to the cost of the cellar itself. Using Oriental rugs and upholstered furniture as decorative accents is not recommended, as they will compromise the precise control needed to balance critical humidity levels."Wine is a living, breathing organism in the bottle," emphasizes Adams. "As a result, its environment is critical to the quality. The most important component of a wine cellar is to protect its contents and control the environment.There are three means of achieving this goal: The cooling system, the build-out of the room and the wine cellar door. If just one of these elements is compromised, it will negate any type of preservation environment you are trying to achieve."Vigilant Woodworks creates more than a special room and peace of mind - they also create custom tasting rooms, conditioned wine cabinets, custom furnishings and innovative shelving options.Offering a variety of distinctive wood species, the cabinetry selections are available in an array of custom colors and unique style elements, so your wine sanctuary promises to be a one-of-a-kind work of art. Whether you are looking for a social centerpiece or a quiet refuge to enjoy your collection, Vigilant Woodworks will make it your own. NHVigilant Woodworks
www.vigilantinc.comCharles River Wine Cellars
www.charlesriverwinecellars.comJohn Stanek Custom Builders Inc.
A Hidden GemThe term "wine cellar" takes on a whole new meaning in this elegant house. The wine storage isn't located in a cellar at all, but is instead built inside a silo, where stairs wind up to the top with the wine bottles lining the sides.The New Hampshire-based Yankee Barn Homes, a custom post-and-beam house company, worked alongside Carney Logan Burke Architects in Jackson, Wyoming, to create this multi-building property.Because the home site lies in the Snake River floodplain, a standard wine cellar wasn't going to work. Borrowing from farm-inspired structures, the Carney Logan Burke design team arrived at the silo form as an alternative, elevated storage system.The interior, inspired by a wine cask, is characterized by reclaimed fir woodwork and a spiral staircase that accesses carefully displayed wine bottles organized around the silo's perimeter. The stair ascends to the roof where both the wine collection and views of the natural surroundings can be admired.Yankee Barn Homes
131 Yankee Barn Rd.
(603) 863-4545Under Counter StorageNot everyone can afford or find room for the luxury of a full wine cellar, and some simply want the convenience of having a few bottles close at hand. Under counter wine storage is a great way to keep wines at an appropriate temperature that your refrigerator (or table top) can't match.U-Line's collection of Wine Captains include models that can be set to multiple temperatures, creating storage for all varieties of wine in one place. They come in black, wood and stainless steel styles, so matching units to your home's existing décor is easy. With interior lighting and glass front doors, they also display wine in an attractive manner.The Beverage Centers from U-Line offer storage for multiple kinds of drinks, from chilled wines to beer, soda, mixers and anything else that might take up valuable refrigerator space. Like the Wine Captains, they also have three style options, black, wood and stainless steel.
This article appears in the December 2010 issue of New Hampshire Magazine