Wine Talk

Snooth User: SuperTexan

Need help with wine storage

Posted by SuperTexan, Jul 24, 2016.

Hello everyone, I am relatively new to wine collecting and I'd like to establish a storage area in my house to store and age wine.

I have a unique space in my house that would be really cool to convert to a "wine cellar", but I'm not sure how to prepare it. 

It is a space under my stairs, that is built out as a small storage room. My kids have used it for toy storage but they are a bit older and we rarely use it.

I'd love to put in wine racks and I'd have plenty of room to store my collection...but my issue is, how to properly cool the room? 

The storage space is located in the middle of the house, so it will be difficult to vent. My budget is also not big - I don't want to spend thousands of dollars.

Are there any products on the market that would cool a small space, without spending a ton of money, and without doing some major work to add venting?



Reply by GregT, Jul 24, 2016.

Under the stairs - does that mean that it is triangular and the stairs are kind of the "ceiling"? If you want to keep a place cool, you need to insulate it and it's tricky to insulate stairs!

As far as cooling, you can use a small air conditioner - it will go down to about 60 and that's fine. You can trick it into going lower if you want and it will cost you all of $100 as opposed to a wine cooler which will cost you many times that.

Reply by dmcker, Jul 25, 2016.

My last place before this one was one of those modern industrial loft-type designs. Lived there quite awhile. Stairs up to the loft bedroom allowed lots of storage underneath. Had some built-ins there for wine and liquor as well as cookbooks and some art and the like. Convenient, attractive, but not a place to store for the longterm the way I had it set up. Plenty of very good bottles were parked there for awhile, but usually just transiting to consumption from my real storage in a passive cellar elsewhere.

One problem with under the stairs is it's a high-traffic environment with regular vibration. Not where you'd want to store your 1982 First Growths collection, perhaps. But certainly functional and convenient for decent bottles for a few years if you get the temperature and humidity issues solved.

Reply by SuperTexan, Jul 25, 2016.

Thanks. GregT, my issue with the a/c is that with a typical "window unit" you have to have it vented externally. That is my dilemma I think.

Reply by Darryl Hogeback, Jul 25, 2016.

Visit this link to see how to properly prepare a space to become a wine cellar.  and view some amazing wine cellars.


Reply by dmcker, Jul 25, 2016.

How far is the understairs space from an exterior wall or window (that's ideally opening to a balcony or groundlevel)?


Darryl, you'd gain a lot more credibility and eyeballs if you posted some info (including graphics) in this thread, and made an attempt to deal with ST's specific problem, rather than just a link offsite.

Reply by EMark, Jul 29, 2016.

FWIW ST, here is a pic of my under-the-staircase rack.

I actually built this for our previous home and quite easily moved it here.  It was also easily moved we we did the remodel and installed the new floor.  As you might guess I mostly store "daily drinkers" here.  This is just off our living room and doesn't get much direct light.  It is, also, probably, the coolest area of the house, but I am something of a hedonist and do keep the A/C cranked down to "frosty" in the summer.

I have no advice regarding recommendations for environmental equipment.  There are people here who have much more expertise in that area than I do.  My point here is just to mention that racking does not have to be terribly sophisticated.  If your space is behind doors, then, heck, you don't need racking at all.  Just use boxes. 

Reply by GregT, Jul 30, 2016.

SuperTex - I used an AC to cool my wine cellar for years. Unless you build a really big cellar, the smallest AC unit you can buy is more than adequate. All cooling units work the same - there's a gas that gets compressed and then expands, taking heat from the air in one place and moving it somewhere else. So you can use a big AC unit to make a meat locker, like a lot of people do.

The issue for you is that you'll have the heat pumped out into the room. But that's what you do with your refrigerator, isn't it? My cellar was in the basement, which was cool enough and the exhaust into the larger room didn't change the temp much.

The alternative is a split system, but you're talking a lot more money.

Reply by rckr1951, Jul 30, 2016.

SuperTex - There is another issue to putting an a/c unit into a living space - noise.  Noise in the living space the a/c unit vents into and a drip pan in that living space also. 

A question or two if you don't mind me asking.  Your in Houston - do you have central air, is there an electrical outlet near the OUTSIDE of the room and are you comfortable doing minor handyman work?

I've got an idea - not costly, just a little manual labor.

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