Building a Wine Cellar

Wine Cellar

We asked Ramsin Khachi of Khachi Design Group to decant his expert advice…
There is something very seductive about the notion of having a private wine cellar in your own home. Once a luxury, it is now a common lifestyle trend. The question: “Can I put a wine cellar anywhere in my home?” The answer: Yes. The rules of construction of that space must be followed, however, as they will have an impact on the performance and durability of your cellar.

There are three important factors that must be maintained: A consistent temperature (12 – 14 C), humidity (50 – 75%) and control of the amount of light. Taking these factors into consideration, there is one single tenet that is of prime importance: location, location, location. The cellar can be in the core of the house, surrounded by interior spaces. For example: between the dining room and kitchen, perhaps in conjunction with a servery. Or it can be in a location surrounded by exterior walls. Example: under a front porch in the cold cellar space.

Why build a wine cellar?

Wine has always been a symbol of wealth and luxury. It’s now become a lifestyle trend; a social beverage that is a significant facet in entertaining and enjoying time with friends.

What is the difference between a cellar and a fridge?

A cellar is a blank slate that can be as elaborate as you wish. It not only houses the wine but is a room that delivers the full experience. It’s more of an investment for the connoisseur. The refrigerator units are a great solution when space is a factor. They are also valuable in addition to a cellar, in that wines that are used frequently can be available at hand and the select stock can be maintained in the larger cellar.

What styles are most popular now?

Styles vary depending on individual tastes. Traditionally, the “Tuscan Cavern” theme has been a favourite; with the push towards contemporary design and styling, more refined and modern variations are becoming more prevalent. I prefer to look at what everyone else does and do it differently. I love to create new concepts and fabricate custom solutions—that’s my passion and how I set my work apart. The wine cellar I created in my own home, for example, is constructed of walnut hardwood, custom stainless steel fabrication, a custom limestone floor and a variety of unique lighting options. The glass facade is also constructed using a walnut hardwood frame where access is granted via a biometric lock system that reads your fingerprint and opens the door only to authorized users.

How would you approach designing a wine cellar for a condo/rental, where the wine collector may not be permanently settled?

There are many variations of self contained wine fridges that can be grouped and/or dressed for a “built-in” appearance. This is a great way to create a temperature controlled wine display that can easily be removed and relocated. A built-in wine cellar is there for good. If portable or selfcontained refrigerators are used in the design, they can be separated and removed.

And what about the person who has an appreciation for wine, but perhaps does not have the extravagant budget or space?

Self-contained wine fridges that are available in a variety of sizes are a great solution, and also because they are affordable. We group them together, ultimately creating the look of a built-in wall unit without building an entire wine room.

Sara Waxman
Sara Waxman is an award-winning restaurant critic, best-selling cookbook author, food and travel journalist and has eaten her way through much of the free world for four decades, while writing about it in books, newspapers and magazines. She is the Publisher/Editor in Chief of DINE and Destinations magazine.