Investing in a home wine cellar
When it comes to real estate, the concept of investing isn’t exclusive to purchasing new properties. There are many ways to invest in homes and condos already in your possession and, in turn, increase their market value. A new pool, a kitchen upgrade, and intricate l and scaping are just some of the projects with the potential for that sort of impact.
But as building and design techniques improve, more complex installations become possible, too, leading to exciting new trends in home renovation — including the growing popularity of home wine cellars.
“Wine cellars are the dream room for wine aficionados,” said Marc-Alain Lesage of 12° en Cave, a Montreal business specializing in wine-cellar design and a manufacturer of wine racking. “Canadians today are more and more knowledgeable about wine, and they love to have a collection at home.”
Many people start out with just a few bottles, but as they become increasingly serious about their assortment of wines it becomes essential to have a proper storage system.
“They want to control the environment and keep a closer eye on their growing collection,” Lesage said.
Ten years ago, wine cellars were only in basements and their design was very traditional — usually in wood, with accents of arches and stones.
“Today the options are numerous, and while the traditional style is still popular, contemporary cellars are changing to fit in with modern living spaces with clean lines,” Marc-Alain Lesage said. “For instance, metal wine racking is often used for its sleek look — and we like to mix it in with the warm feel of wood.”
Wine cellars are becoming a more common showpiece in living spaces. In fact, cellars are being installed in kitchens, dining and living rooms, as their contemporary designs serve both esthetic and practical purposes.
“In the past, wine cellars were for real enthusiasts with a goal of having 500 bottles or more,” Lesage said. “Today, cellars are part of the decor of a home and are being built by people who simply enjoy wine and want to have their selection displayed beautifully.”
This remains true across the real-estate spectrum, from large family homes to new condo developments.
“We see it often when owners of a large house move i nto a condo after their kids are gone and they want to bring a part of their wine collection with them,” Lesage said.
If you decide a wine cellar is right for you, the easiest time to have one installed is during the construction of a new property or the renovation of an existing structure.
“It’s simplest to do it at that stage because you have to prepare and isolate walls, ceilings and flooring in the area in which the cellar is being installed,” Lesage said. “To control the temperature in the cellar, cooling units need to be installed before the walls are closed, so you need a general contractor that will prepare the space according to those plans.”
While there aren’t many prerequisites to purchasing a wine cellar, having the right amount of space, working with knowledgeable professionals, and planning properly are all key.
“The entire process can take four to six weeks and the preparation of the room is often the longest part,” Lesage said. “This entails putting in the electricity, tiles, paint, and racking. The installation of wine racks and furniture can take from a few hours to a few days to complete.”
In addition, any glass walls or doors have to be custom-made.
While capacity is important, many consumers are opting for smaller cellars, especially when it comes to units installed in living spaces.
“The average cellar fits 500 to 1,500 bottles, but we’re seeing more and more small wine cellars of 100 to 200 bottles, particularly when we talk about glass cage units,” Lesage said.
When you start to collect wine and choose to build a cellar, it’s crucial to keep in mind that you’re going to keep bottles for many years, so the low turnover rate needs to be considered in your decision about the capacity of the cellar.
“On the other hand, you don’t want to have a big empty room and have to rush to buy any wine just to fill the shelves,” Lesage added. “That’s why you really have to plan, think it through, and explore all your options.”
Whether you’re a bon vivant with an appreciation of the finer things, or a serious wine collector seeking proper storage, a cellar can be a stunning addition to your home or condo.
Today’s wine cellars are no longer confined to the basement of a home; they are becoming an increasingly common showpiece in areas such as kitchens, living and dining rooms. Custommade glass doors allow wine aficionados to display their collections to advantage and metal wine racking, with its sleek appearance, is often used to add to the visual effect.
The best time to install a wine cellar — whether in the basement or as part of the living room — is during the construction of a new property or renovation of an existing structure. Regardless of its size, the cellar requires special cooling units, walls (in this case, custom-made glass ones) and flooring.
This custom-built, mahogany wine cellar in the basement of a Montreal mansion can accommodate 5,000 bottles of wine.
Gazette wine columnist Bill Zacharkiw, in the humble but well-stocked wine cellar of his home north of Montreal. It might not be built of mahogany, or grace his living room in glassed-in splendour, but this space nevertheless serves as reliably cool storage for the wines he values and enjoys.