DIY:  Build a Professional Wine Cellar on the Cheap

DIY: Build a Professional Wine Cellar on the Cheap

Wine cellars are a great addition to any basement.  Storing wine correctly is necessary to keep it in optimal condition, and to protect your investment.  Hiring a contractor to build you one can be expensive.  Here is an easy and low cost method to turn that extra small room in the basement into an awesome wine cellar.

Step 1 - Locate a small room in your basement

The ideal room will be located adjacent to a mechanical room or storage room, which will allow you to use the easy and effective cooling solution described later.  

Step 2 - Prepare the room for conversion into a wine cellar

Be sure all walls of the room are already insulated to ensure effective cooling retention.  If insulation is required, cellulose insulation can be blown into the walls by renting the machine from Home Depot.  Alternatively, you can stuff the walls by hand.  We recommend using GreenFiber low dust cellulose insulation, as it is environmentally friendly, easy to work with, and non-itch.  Once insulation is complete, patch any holes you may have made and paint the walls your preferred color.

For the floor, remove any existing carpet and clean the concrete thoroughly.  Paint the floor with masonry grade paint to avoid future peeling.  These paints come in many styles and formats, so use whichever you prefer.

Seal the door with simple weatherstripping around the jams, and at the bottom.  This will increase energy efficiency.  For even more energy efficiency and style, line the inside of the door with old bottle corks.  Cork is a great insulator.

Step 3 - Install a cooling unit

Through the wall cooling units can be easily installed without running additional HVAC ducts or vents.  There are several different manufacturers, but our favorite is made by Wine Guardian as it monitors both temperature and humidity.  It offers sleek design and quiet operation that is best in class (only 55 dba).  The unit weighs only 60lbs, allowing it to be easily installed into a single wall support bracket.  It is commercial grade with all aluminum and corrosion free components.  Typical basement humidity is usually sufficient, but Wine Guardian offers add on solutions should humidity modification be necessary.

Step 4 - Install wine racks

There is no need to hire a carpenter to build wine racks from scratch.  Several manufacturers offer wine rack kits that can be assembled with a simple screwdriver and cordless drill.  Our favorite is Vinogrotto, manufacturer of beautiful USA made wine rack kits at affordable prices.  There are lots of options including racks, tables, shelves, and bins.  Importantly, the bottle slots are large enough to accommodate oversize or wide bottles like Turley.  Customers can choose between natural Grade A pine or redwood racks.  Watch the website for direct sales that offer additional savings.

Set the cooling unit to anywhere between 55 F and 59 F, and maintain a constant temperature to ensure minimal expansion or contraction of the corks.  Humidity anywhere between 40 and 60 percent is optimal.  Typically you can achieve these levels without additional components by adjusting your current humidifier.  Be sure there is not too much humidity, as it may cause peeling on some wine bottle labels.

You're done!  Enjoy that new wine cellar and take pride in the fact that you just saved a ton of money by doing it yourself.

More wine discussion coming soon to the blog at

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Pictured above:  Wine cellar with Wine Guardian through the wall cooling unit and Vinogrotto racks in Redwood.  Wall color is DKC-28 in eggshell (Donald Kaufman Paints).






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