Wine has been enjoyed at many momentous occasions and by famous characters in myth and history: Dyonisus, Bacchus, the Last Supper. Wine cellars have been around for just about as long. In fact, last year archaeologists discovered a wine cellar in Israel that dates back to approximately 1700 B.C.
If you love and appreciate wine, it’s more popular than ever to create your own personal cellar. Today’s designs go far beyond simply storing wine, with many people choosing to highlight a space in the home to display, store – and taste – those fine vintages.
Sip, Savour, Store
The type of cellar you choose obviously depends on how many bottles you wish to store, display and consume, says Roxanne Field, owner of RS Field Design in Burlington. “There are wine cellars that are basically just a closet without refrigeration (for storage), then the next level will be to take that small space and add a compressor and refrigeration,” she explains. “Then we have full-on, big wine rooms that are fully refrigerated, insulated, and designed to the max. Those are for clients who purchase large amounts of high-quality wine.” One of Field’s recent projects was to create a wine room with a grotto-like tasting area. “It has that cave-like atmosphere. The wine cellar has top notch cabinetry with perfect room temperature control.”
Wine and Dine
So do you go for a cellar, a room, a wall, or maybe a combination? Traditionally, wine cellars were in the basement, but today main floor wine walls and rooms are becoming more popular. “It really does vary with the client’s own personal style,” says Field. “We do more contemporary styles these days (such as a glass wall). Even the way we store the wine has changed. You can have a racking system that’s mounted from ceiling to floor, or you can have more traditional wooden storage that’s fastened to the wall. You can store individual bottles, or build shelving for cases.” One of Field’s clients chose to have a wine room on the main floor that featured some of his collection behind glass. “This (wall) was for aesthetics as well. It’s right off the dining room and includes a wine tasting table,” she explains.
“There’s a big trend towards main floor cellars,” agrees John Seaga, owner of Village Wine Cellars in Oakville. “If we’re doing a basement cellar, it’s usually part of a basement reno, and the cellar is a feature rather than a hovel that’s hidden away,” says Seaga. “If it’s a big cellar, usually you’d incorporate some sort of a tasting area.”
Cellar design is taking on a more modern look with dark wood and metallic finishes. “We’ve done a couple that were ultra-modern with chrome and black – really stark, but really nice looking when you get the bottles in there,” describes Seaga. Clients are choosing dark stained wood trim with a chrome or brushed finish accents. Racking systems are being selected in ebony, accompanied by a marble countertop. Rather than old fashioned oak, modern cellars are being created with dark stained walnut or roasted maple. Seaga says that the walnut looks like glass when it is finished – very modern but it still feels warm. The maple takes on a chocolate mocha finish. “It’s stunning when you pair it with chrome.” I do enjoy a nice glass of vino but a collector I’m not. For now I’ll continue to be satisfied with my three to four-bottle-at-a-time collection, while admiring from a distance the work that goes into designing, building and maintaining a modern wine cellar.
By Becky Dumais