Testimonial for Rosehill Wine Cellars from a Recent Wine Cellar Installation Client

Testimonial for Rosehill Wine Cellars from a Recent Wine Cellar Installation Client

Now that Christmas / New Year holidays are over and family visitors have left us, I thought I would write you a testimonial about my new wine cellar. Here goes:

Rosehill Wine Cellars is Highly Recommended

walnut glass wine cellar door with lockMy new wine cellar was completed in early December 2018 and I absolutely love it!

Without any hesitation, I recommend Rosehill Wine Cellars Inc. for turnkey design and installation. Why am I giving such a strong recommendation? Here’s why:

1. Design & Quotation: Gary LaRose showed up on time at our home and quickly set to work looking over the area selected for the cellar. He took careful measurements, then re-measured a couple of dimensions again to ensure he was very accurate. He talked through some options for the cooling equipment and racking, as well as cellar design. He then recommended I drop into Rosehill’s showroom to look at some racking choices, materials and finishes, as well as cooling equipment choices. I had already been to the showroom, just before I decided to add Rosehill to my shortlist, but I went back a couple of times to get ideas and make decisions on various items. Rosehill’s west end showroom is well laid out and offers several material choices, colours and racking options, which makes the decision-making a lot easier.

A week later I received very good drawings and a detailed quotation. I had a short list of three contractors for this project and without any question, Rosehill’s drawings and quotation were the most detailed and easiest to understand. They also offered the best use of the space, as my cellar was not that big (7ft x 8ft). After some discussion with all three contractors, I narrowed it down to two and then had detailed discussions with both. After a couple of discussions, it became clear that Gary’s experience and practical approach offered the best value for money and a proven track record with lots of satisfied customers to which he could refer. Rosehill’s design was a little more imaginative than the other two contractors, particularly the diamond shelf below the stone counter. Also, I really wanted a glass door and glass window beside the door so I could see into the cellar and have its ambience add to our beautiful basement recreation area. Gary came up with a very nice design to achieve this objective, but do it in a way that did not weaken what was a support wall for our two storey home.

So I made the decision to go with Rosehill, subject to a satisfactory contract. The contract paperwork was simple, easy to understand and the milestone payments set to work stages completed was fair.

2. Room Preparation – What’s really good about Gary is the communication. When he says his team will arrive on site to work on a certain date and time, they show up and don’t waste time getting to work. The first stage (stripping down the room and preparing it for racking) was done very well. I kept the same tile floor (Gary’s suggestion) to save money, and it looks great with the new cellar. Everything else was re-done, including framing, spray foam for insulation and very precise square joints, door and window framing by Rosehill’s very skilled tradesman, Chris. It’s important to note that Chris was employed by Rosehill and not an independent contractor. The spray foam people were a contractor, but Chris was there to supervise and ensure this task was done as agreed. What was appreciated by us was that every night Chris was tidy up and put away slip covers so that we could continue to use the rest of our basement living area. Also, Chris very carefully covered all nearby furniture and carpeting with plastic to protect it. Even the tile floor in the cellar was covered over to protect it during construction.

3. Problem Solving – When the room was stripped down, we were surprised to find a solid concrete wall on one side of the cellar room that made placing the equipment room just the other side of the wall not possible. Gary quickly arrived to discuss the problem with Chris and myself. They quickly came up with an amended design for the equipment that involved a ceiling mounted cooling unit instead, but with the compressor still outside. This solution turned out to be very good and works well in the cellar.

4. Final Racking Design – Gary and Chris both separately re-measured the finished room for the racking a couple of times. The attention to detail and precision was impressive and appreciated. As a result, Gary came up with a suggestion to tweak the design to improve the look of the cellar in terms of crown molding and overall balance with the window and door frames. At the same time he ensured that the bottle count for the cellar was maximized. I looked over the amended drawing and could quickly see this final amendment to the racking would look much better, so I gave the green light to do it. This started the racking design, which included walnut wood with a bees wax finish — have a look at this in the Rosehill showroom as it’s stunning.

5. Final Racking Installation – Chris returned six weeks later to start installation of the racking. Accompanying Chris was Rosehill’s delivery truck that had all the carefully packaged racking material, including beautiful a beautiful stone counter top I had seen in the Rosehill showroom (“antique leather”). After carefully unloading everything, Chris started to work. His experience and professionalism was evident, as he methodically prepared the installation. Its also important to note that Rosehill has its own carpentry shop next to the showroom that does all the racking and cabinet building and finishing — this ensures that what you get is exactly what was agreed in the drawings. The installation by Chris was done in careful sequence, including getting the two sub-contractors (mechanical cooling equipment and glass window/door) were brought in for measuring and installation at the appropriate times. Again, Chris was always on hand when they were there to ensure that what they did met Rosehill’s requirements and commitments to me.

6. Attention to Detail – There were lots of pleasant surprises when the installation was progressing and completed. Here are a few: (1) Walnut door leading to adjacent cold storage was solid and beautifully crafted. It was fitted perfectly and included a special weather strip built into the bottom of the door that comes down automatically when the door is closed. (2) Chris checked with me on location of ceiling lighting installation, window location and size next to glass door to ensure I was happy with it. (3) Glass window its a double thermal pane for better insulation performance. (4) The walnut wood used for the racking, wooden door to cold storage room, crown and floor molding was well chosen of the highest quality. (5) glass door is solidly hinged to floor and self-closes. (6) crown molding on ceiling, door frames and floor molding is very detailed and installed perfectly. (7) the warranty paperwork for the mechanical cooling equipment was completed and submitted to the manufacturer by Rosehill on my behalf. (8) During the cellar work, for a reasonable extra charge, Gary also did a few add on jobs for us, in addition to the cellar, that were much appreciated: A few odd-shaped kitchen shelves were cut to fit an odd shaped pantry; special door to access water meter and water shut-off valve in basement; some drywall work around the cold storage room furnace ductwork.

7. Anything I didn’t like? – Really there was nothing, mainly because Gary was very upfront about everything (including the timetable), so that my expectations were always met or exceeded. Remember, it does take months not weeks to get a cellar installed properly, so don’t expect it to be wrapped up quickly. Also, it’s done in two stages for very good reason: (a) Completion of the cellar room preparation comes first, then the cellar room is re-measured to ensure the racking, cabinets, door/window frames, crown molding, etc. fit perfectly, it has to be re-measured carefully so everything fits like a glove — and it does. (b) After re-measuring the finished room, then the racking, cabinets etc. was all built in Rosehill’s shop, which took about 6 weeks before they returned for racking installation. Every item in the contract was honoured by Rosehill.

8. Finished Product – We now have a beautiful and very functional 650 bottle wine cellar that we enjoy. Our friends and relatives were very impressed and complimentary when they saw it for the first time over the Christmas holidays. It has added to the value of our house and will give us many years of enjoyment. Our thanks to Gary and his excellent team at Rosehill Wine Cellars.

Best regards

Brian Barr

What is the Best Lighting for Wine Cellars?

What is the Best Lighting for Wine Cellars?

Rosehill Wine Cellar Wine Cellar Display

Wine cellars by design are cold and dark places. So much help exists online to aid consumers with the cooling part, the dark feels left out.  There are significantly less resources available to guide would-be wine cellar design wizards on the art and science of perfectly illuminating their state-of-the-art wine storage space. Perhaps that’s why this blog post you’re reading now is so popular? And why we have taken the time to improve it, and stuff it full of our knowledge on this important topic.

When wine cellar lighting is expertly done, nobody notices

Nobody notices good lighting in a wine cellar because when it’s done right, it’s the wine itself that gets noticed. Wine cellar designers deploy special lights that are low intensity and generate low amounts of heat. They are positioned to make beautiful pools of illumination that are safe for the wine, aesthetically pleasing and well positioned for ease-of-use by cellar managers. Wine cellar lighting should be inspiring to visitors and maximize the ambiance around your vintages.

To begin a discussion on the best wine cellar lighting options let’s first name and explain the worst light sources.

beautifully illuminated wine cellar, ceiling LED

Daylight is the very worst light source for a wine cellar. There is nothing worse for fine wine than unmitigated rays of full spectrum sunlight. All wines need to be protected from the sun’s heat and the ultraviolet rays inside normal everyday sunlight.  Remember that many types of light bulbs also emit UV rays that can spoil wine.

Fluorescent light tubes are ugly and they pump out significant amounts of ultraviolet light waves which makes them terrible choices for wine cellars.

Incandescent and halogen light bulbs are too hot to be used in a small spaces that store wine.

Unless professionally sealed, tungsten pot lights invariable leak cool air through the tops of the pots!

Because any change in temperature in considered a threat, all lights installed in your custom wine cellar must therefore be as cool as possible, and as mentioned earlier totally free of ultraviolet rays (or have protective coating).  Such protective coatings include neutral density gels, paints and screens that will remove UV from light sources including daylight from windows.

Essential attributes of proper wine cellar lighting

Wall sconces, combined with LED track lighting is one of the most commonly employed methods of illuminating large wine cellars.  Low voltage LED spotlights work well as linear fixtures on a continuous track rail which is electrically charged as compared to the need of routing electrical wiring to individual light positions. Light Emitting Diodes set in track light fixtures have numerous advantages over tungsten or mono-filament pot lights.  For one thing it’s handy to have directional beams, but more important is how cool they are how energy efficient the modern units are today.  The lamps require less maintenance because they have longer lifespans, and they are relatively inexpensive.  For these reasons, and because they are safest for wine collections, they are now the most commonly used lighting fixture in both residential and commercial wine cellars.

LED track lighting option for wine cellars

track lighting for wine cellarsLight Emitting Diodes or LED lights are the very best choice for wine cellars. LEDs do not emit UV light, and the amount of heat they emit is minimal. Unlike fluorescent, halogen, and incandescent bulbs, LED lights stay cool. They are really the only best choice for wine cellars, since they provide excellent lighting without adding heat.

Upfront, LED lights cost more but they’re actually more economical when you consider they have a lifespan twenty five times longer than the lifespan of incandescent bulbs. Ultimately, LED lighting is very cost-effective. Not only are frequent replacement costs eliminated but your electricity bills are lower with LED lights, as well. They use 75% less energy than other bulbs. Since LED lights emit minimal heat, they don’t cause the wine cooling system to work harder and drive up the energy bill.

Backlighting bottle-filled shelves in wine cellars

Cool LED lighting is ideal for backlighting and illuminating wine cellar archways, corners, arches, wine racks, and presentation shelving. The atmosphere created by LED lights in your wine cellar can include a variety of moods, including relaxing, romantic, or dramatic vibes.

backlight wine cellar

Accent lights work for safety and style in dimly lit cellar spaces.

Tiny sconces and LED runway lights can be used to highlight wine racks, shelves, bottles, or even the architecture of your cellar storage room.  These can be hidden in the background and dressed into racking to add another layer of light and pinpoint visually interesting areas of the wine storage space.

Strip lights and tape lights can run along shelves and offer just enough illumination to help wine collectors read labels.  Puck lights can be used to spotlight individual bottles in the racks.

Don’t Forget To Turn The Lights Off!

Dimmer switches can be used, to adjust brightness, and outlet timers or light timers (the kind you put in the living room to fool crooks into thinking you’re home) can also be installed and made to turn lights off automatically when they’ve accidentally been left on by the last visitor.

Once you know that LED lighting is an unbeatable choice for illuminating wine cellars, only one question remains. How do you want to shine the LED lights in your wine cellar on you wine collection? There are many different options. Contact the wine cellar construction experts at Rosehill Wine Cellars, serving all of southern Ontario. We specialize in all-things-wine-cellar, including the installation of gorgeous lighting. Our recommendation is always…you guessed it: LED lights.

How To Deal With Mold When Constructing A Wine Cellar in Your Basement

How To Deal With Mold When Constructing A Wine Cellar in Your Basement

Most healthy wine cellars are humid, and that’s a good thing. These storage spaces are kept damp to keep the wooden corks in the glass bottles moist, and to keep the wooden wine racks reasonably elastic, and to the preserve the environment in the room which many experts believe is present in the way the wine tastes on the tongue when it is served.  The problem however is that humidity causes mold.

mold on paper wine labelMold is a two way street in wine cellars. Some connoisseurs might tell you that such growth can, will and should coexist with wine for added flavour and ‘notes of the cellar’ in tastings. When mold appears on the surface of the bottles or the corks you can usually just wipe it off with a clean, soft cloth soaked in antibacterial or antifungal detergents. Keep an eye on your bottle labels however because once mold attacks the paper there’s not much you can do about it.  Now as we said above, some experts believe that mold should be left alone when it appears on the corks as this too adds to the complexity of the wine, but that is entirely up the collector. Others believe that surface mold won’t affect your wine one way or another. Regardless, the perfectly humid wine cellar can come into conflict with the rest of the house or commercial building if it is not properly insulated, and completely isolated from the rest of the building. This is done by using either plastic vapour barrier or by installing specially treated spray foam insulation during the wine cellar construction phase. If there is no seal between the wine cellar and the rest of the house then the very first order of business is to get busy making a moisture containment field around the cellar space.

A proper wine cellar space is hermetically sealed and separated from the rest of the domicile or commercial building.  Once you’ve accomplished this separation then you need to keep an eye on the humidity in the space and make sure it stabilizes, otherwise there may be an even larger problem.  If the humidity keeps on rising then you may have sprung a leak. The target humidity should be right about 70 percent, which helps keep your corks from drying out. If it’s too humid in your wine cellar, and the humidity continues to rise despite all your attempts to ventilate and mitigate the situation, then you might think about adding a dehumidifier to your cooling solution.

Mold is always associated with moisture

close-up of mold in the wine cellarThe main cause of mold infestation in any facility is the presence of too much moisture in the air. To ensure that this does not have a negative effect on the quality of the cellar, you might need to put in place a few measures to ensure that this does not occur. One of the things you can do is to target the things that often lead to water logging in such a space. Some of these include:

• Fix the foundation: Defects in the foundation such as cracks often contribute to the seepage of water into the basement. In order to prevent the growth of mold in such areas, you would need to first fix such problems before you can then do other conversions to turn the facility into a cellar. You will need the help of an expert in this field in order to get this right. It might sound expensive to do this particularly if the problems are extensive, but it’s usually well worth it. Remember, making sure that the area is not too wet will also protect other items in the cellar such as wooden shelves.

• Waterproof the cellar area:
In addition to fixing defects in the walls and the foundation, you might also want to waterproof the area as well. This involves using a nonporous material to line the areas that are susceptible to seepage, which in turn reduces the risk of the area becoming damp.

• Secure home exterior:
You also need to make a point of inspecting the outside of the house, particularly the area that surrounds the basement. If it turns out that it’s shaped in such a manner that water tends to pool close to the house, you might need to make changes in order to make it flow away from the house. This reduces the risk of damage due to standing water.

Air conditioning the wine cellar space to defeat mold

The presence of fresh air circulating within the basement also has the effect of reducing the chances of mold accumulating in the area. For this reason, you should also plan to make sure that the basement is properly aerated. You can do this by installing air conditioners in the area, or by simply making sure that it’s well ventilated. This is a process that might cost you more money, but it will turn out to be worth it in the end. You can use the device to control the temperature within the room, and to also make sure that the risk of mold infestation is reduced. This is especially so if you decide to use an air conditioner with a high quality filter within it.

Inspect wine cellar area for the presence of mold

If you have already installed the cellar, and you’re about to put wine in the room, it might be a good idea to inspect the area for the presence of mold first. This will reduce the chances of having to disturn the entire collection in an attempt to deal with the mold problem later, after the cellar is established. Remember, doing the latter is often very difficult, since it means that you would need to get rid of everything within the cellar in order for the process to be as thorough as it needs to be to save the house or commercial building that is being threatened by the outbreak.

Most Common Wine Cellar Mold Types

Hopefully you will never encounter a mold problem in your wine cellar, but sometimes mold is unavoidable. Here are some of the more common kinds of mold that can present serious health risks for people in the home if left untreated in the basement wine cellar.

Alternaria, a common mold found outside the houseAlternaria is one of the more common molds found outside the house and so it often makes inside where its more likely to cause health problems.  Due to its ubiquitous presence outdoors, the spores of Alternaria mold are a primary cause of allergies especially during spring and summer.  People with allergies often find themselves sneezing, having runny noses and red eyes, or feeling dizzy when walking outside.  Similar symptoms can happen to people who are exposed to this mold indoors.  Alternaria usually appears in damp areas like sinks, showers, or dimly lit humid areas like basement wine cellars.  Health problems associated with alternaria include asthma attacks and allergic reactions.

Another common indoor mold is aspergilus.  Some forms of aspergillus will appear yellow in color. This is a very common household mold that can be found anywhere there has been any kind of water damage.  This mold incredibly common and does only minor damage to those that inhale it.  Severe reactions however could include respiratory infections, allergic reactions, and inflamed lungs.

Aureobasidium mold is most often found on wooden furniture, surfaces, painted walls and wallpaper as well as around windows and in caulk.  If you notice a spotty substance that is pink and black in color in those areas, it’s probably this type of mold. Since aureobasidum is so common, most people do develop allergic reactions to it and it has been known to cause more severe reactions than other molds.  It can cause allergic reactions, breathing problems, chronic sinus infections, asthma attacks, fatigue, and depression. Stachybotrys chartarum has a characteristic musty odor and usually grows in places that stay damp all the time, like in air conditioning ducts where there is a lot of condensation or around leaky pipes.

Chaetomium is a fungal genus in the Chaetomiaceae family which contains around eighty known species of mold. These molds are the kind which can cause health problems in humans as a result of prolonged exposure.  Members of this genus typically have superficial, ostiolar perithecia, covered in hairs. Asci are often clavate and evanescent, bearing eight spores. These are ascospores, which means they’re spores contained in an ascus or that which was produced inside an ascus. This kind of spore is specific to fungi classified as ascomycetes (Ascomycota). Ascospores are formed in ascus under optimal conditions. Typically, a single ascus will contain eight ascospores (or octad). They are usually lemon-shaped and commonly colored olive-brown. Mycelia often grows in conglomerate masses that resemble ropes. This mold is found in drywall that has experienced water damage. People typically identify its presence when they smell a musty or old odor in their home.

Homeowners often find the cladosporium mold inside both cool and warm areas like carpet, wood floorboards, wooden cabinet and older fabrics. Being around the cladosporium mold can leave homeowners with breathing problems and respiratory issues.  While most types of mold prefer warm climates, cladosporium can grow in cool areas, too. It often grows on fabrics, like carpets, and on wood surfaces, like cabinets and floorboards. It can cause a variety of respiratory problems

Fusarium is a mold that tends to grow in colder, wetter areas. The typical homes for the fusarium mold are carpeted areas and similar fabrics. Fusarium can cause the standard allergic reaction as well as respiratory infections and inflammation.

Penicillium is a mold that can found indoors inside insulation, furnishings, water damaged furniture, carpeting and more. Penicillium is known for spreading quickly throughout the home and can cause homeowners to have sinus infections, lung inflammation, as well as allergic reactions.

Stachybotrys Chartarum
black mold in wine cellarBlack mold or stachysbotrys chartarum is also called toxic mold. This is due to the fact that this type of mold creates toxic compounds known as mycotoxins. The compounds cause those that breathe the mold in to develop breathing issues, sinus infections, depression, fatigue, asthma attacks and more. This type of mold can be identified by its musty smell and is found in areas that stay damp, like air conditioning pipes and ducts.

Serpula Lacrymans
Pink Mold in wine cellarSerpula lacrymans mold is commonly found outside wine cellars but it can also grow inside on wooden surfaces. This mold leads to dry rot within wood as it feeds solely on wooden surfaces.  It’s most noticeable by its yellow appearance.

Pink mold is actually a bacteria and not a fungi. This bacteria is most commonly found in damp wet places such as showers, bathtubs, tile grouts, wash basins, etc.  It feeds on detergents and especially on hand soaps or shampoo residue in bathrooms.

Aureobasidium pullulans (A. pullulans) is another common pink mold. This fungus starts off light pink, white or yellow and ages to brown to black with a gray edge.  This mold grows more often on organic material such as wine labels, damp wood window frames, and linseed-oil paint.

Trichoderma is another damp area mold. Homeowners often find the trichoderma mold within damp carpeting, wallpaper and similar surfaces. The harm with trichoderma comes from the production of mycotoxins that can cause sinus infection, allergic reactions, and more.

Ulocladium is typically found in water damageUlocladium is a genus of fungi. Ulocladium  is found both outside and inside wine cellars. Ulocladium is typically found in areas that have been severely damaged by water like in the floors and walls of homes that have experienced a flood. This kind of mold causes many homeowners to develop allergic reactions and infections. Other species contain enzymes that are biological control agents. Some members of the genus can invade homes and are a sign of moisture because the mold requires water to thrive. The species Ulocladium oudemansii is utilised as a biocontrol agent against Botrytis cinerea. The New Zealand company Botryzen (2010) Ltd uses it to control Botrytis bunch rot in the NZ vineyard industry

Treating Common Mold found in Wine Cellars

Whisperkool SC 20001Once you identify a mold growing within your wine cellar or anywhere else in your home, treating the problem is fairly simple. A homeowner can typically take care of common indoor molds with the help of specially formulated over-the-counter household cleaning products, and most of these contain the element Boron.  Do not purchase or use especially foul smelling concoctions as there is a danger that the smell of these products could remain in the cellar and taint the wine.

Go through the space and search for any wet or damp surfaces or crevices. Make sure to protect yourself by wearing a mask and gloves. It’s important to seal off the area where the mold is growing to prevent the spores from traveling. Moldy surfaces should be washed with a solution containing detergent and warm water. After the surface dries, use a gentle bleach solution on the surface. If wine is present in the room you would be well advised to gently move the bottles until the smell dissipates (unless your collection is plastic corks) The mold infested walls should be treated, and if left intact (concrete or stone) should be washed and treated at least three times. Following the third wash, create a borate detergent solution and scrub the surface.

Once your mold problem is gone, do your best to clean regularly and inspect for any returning mold. While molds are a natural part of life, they do not need to be a part of your home. Knowing how to identify, treat and prevent mold will keep you and your home healthy and happy.

In summary, there is a lot that you can do to ensure that you end up with a cellar that is free of all mold. The above are just some of them. The key thing to keep in mind is that this is a problem that is real, and which many people want to avoid as much as possible. The presence of too much mold within the wine cellar can end up ruining the experience of owning and enjoying your cellar space.  For this reason, it really is important to tackle the problem early on in the construction phase – see Rosehill’s Wine Cellar Construction Tips for even more insights into the necessary vapor barrier seal.

A Step-By-Step Guide For Building a Wine Cellar in Your Basement

A Step-By-Step Guide For Building a Wine Cellar in Your Basement

Are you constructing a wine storage space in your house?

Rosehill Wine Cellars helps homeowners build-it themselves and has been helping handymen for almost two decades. Some of the steps listed below are explained in greater detail (including reasons why constructing a  hermetically sealed space is necessary) in this handy blog on proper wine storage, and please peruse our page on wine cellar construction tips. Most DIY wine cellars are born in residential basements, and that’s because the subterranean realm is often the easiest space in which to control the light, heat and humidity. If you have a spot in your basement that you’re renovating for wine storage, read the wisdom laid out below before you order the wine racks.

build a wine cellar in basement

In summary, your mission is to make a manageable space that you can control completely regardless of the time of day or month. The wine must remain perfectly chill and stable; there can be no temperature spikes!  And no bright light (UV light) and no vibrations.  Simply follow these handy steps to prepare your cellar space:

1. Check the room for leaks

It’s your desire to make a room that can be hermetically sealed. Check the room for air leaks and make sure there are no surprises lurking in the walls that might threaten your wine collection.  You need to prepare the room in such a way that you can control all environmental factors that may affect the proper aging of wine. This room will now be the center of your obsession, and the home of your wine collection and you do not want it to damage all your wines simply because you did not properly check the area for air leaks, light leaks or water leaks.

When scrutinizing the room, make sure that the ceiling has a minimum R-19 insulation. The floor should be concrete and be sealed with a proper concrete sealant – more on that below.

2. Install vapour barrier

Vapour barrier plastic sheets are commonly installed behind the insulation on the warm side of the wall (the interior of the wine cellar being the cold side). The vapour barrier acts to protect both the warm and cold side of the insulation. You may wonder why vapour barriers are not installed on the cold side (otherwise known as the wine cellar side). Well the reason is that when it’s installed on the cold side, humidity will condensate and that creates moisture which creates mold.  Such rot can ruin the finish on basement walls.  A dense pocket can damage a whole house and worse, mold can ruin printed paper wine labels!

It is important then to install this plastic surface either on the external ceiling or walls. If you find it difficult to install directly on the exterior, you should apply the plastic sheeting from inside the cellar going out. It’s common to wrap the interior first and to make sure that the plastic sheet is loose enough so that the insulation can then be placed in between the studs in the stud cavity. Make a complete vapour barrier on both ceiling and walls of the area.

3. Seal the concrete floor

Rugs and wood floors are not recommended for wine storage spaces. They are way too porous and permeable.

Concrete is best. Indeed, anything except properly sealed concrete is suspicious, and even concrete can be surprisingly porous and that’s why it must be sealed.

concrete floors need sealant, proper finish for wine cellar

Penetrating sealers (silanes and siloxanes) and most high-performance coatings, such as epoxies and urethane, should only be applied after the concrete is fully cured (generally 28 days). Almost all sealers can be applied after the concrete is 28 days old.

When making the application on a tiled floor, you should ensure that the sealant you bought is compatible with the tile’s adhesive.

4. Begin furring the walls

furring walls, measuring walls for wooden wine racksIn construction, furring (furring strips) are thin strips of wood or other material used to level or raise surfaces or to prevent dampness, to make space for insulation. Furring refers to the process of installing the strips and to the strips themselves.

Use either 2-inch by 2-inch strips or a 2-inch by 4-inch strips of foam and begin furring the walls. It’s best to use the so-called rigid foam board version for insulation.  Here at Rosehill, our installers insulate the wine cellar’s wood framed walls with R-22 batt insulation (Roxul) for 2 x 6 framed (exterior) walls. This is installed after the vapour barrier in-between the wooden studs.  R-32 batt insulation is very often installed in the ceiling.

You should make sure that the cracks on the walls are treated with a spray foam. Take note that when the walls become thicker, the more likely will it be to provide insulation to the wine cellar. It will help the cellar adhere to varying temperature and humidity levels of the room.

5. Choose the proper wine cellar door

choose the proper wine cellar door with correct thermal insulation While very attractive and widely used, glass paneled doors provide very little R value (insulation) within a wine cellar. If you’re using glass, you might consider selecting a cooling unit with a greater BTU output to off set the diminished R value. Generally speaking, the next size up will deliver adequate cooling compensation, however, larger cooling units will never truly compensate for a poorly insulated wine cellar.

The glass in the door should be a proper sealed thermal pane unit, usually 5/8” or ¾” overall thickness. The glass should be sealed around the edges in the frame. A wine cellar door needs to be an exterior grade front door with weather stripping and a proper threshold. Its important that when closing the door it makes an audible seal and blocks the heat and warmth of the house from entering the cellar space.  How thick should the cellar door be?  A door with at least 1 ¾” thickness is recommended.  Glass doors must be double paned (at least) and the glass elements should be tempered glass (if applicable).

6. Check for room for air leaks after installing cellar door

Test the room to make sure the space can be hermetically sealed when you install the wine cellar door. This is a great time to check the room for air leaks.  Pay particular close attention to the wall and floor areas around pipes, vents and light switches just to make sure that there are no air leaks at all in the room. The door should close with a solid ‘thump’ which means you’ve affected the air pressure which means the room is air tight. In the rare case you opt to install windows in the cellar, the glass must also be double-paned and thermal insulated (and UV protected too if possible). Never ever use recessed lighting on the room. Low-voltage track lighting is a better option. But with all that being said, there is a danger that homeowners can over-seal or over-insulate a wine cellar.

7. Put a finish on the walls

If done correctly, finishing the walls will help achieve the look you envision for the cellar space and help secure the wine at a stable temperature. Make sure that you choose water-based paints or stains for the interior walls.

Also, it’s imperative to allow air to flow outside once you are done painting or finishing the wall surfaces so that the wine cellars will be rid of odours that may worsen once the humidity and cooling systems begin operation.

8. Create a Wine Cellar Cooling System

No matter what size the space, if you want to do things right, you’ll need a wine cellar cooling unit. This machine will become the beating heart of your temperature-controlled storage area. Wine cellars are always chilly and consistency is the key to success.  and so you’ll need one of these mini refrigerator units to maintain a constant chill in sunny weather. There are a number of different factors which will help determine the best cooler for your space.wine cellar cooling unit being delivered to site

The first thing we generally do is determine size of your wine cellar in cubic feet (length x width x height). Then we look for an adjacent room, a room in the house beside the cellar space where we can install the cooling unit and use a simple “through the wall” air-conditioning system. This allows the most options; please see the chart for wine cellar cooling units sizes and specifications on the page.through-the-wall wine cellar cooling unit being installed

Please keep in mind that ALL through-the-wall cooling units will have some heat and noise at the back of the cooling unit into adjacent space. If this is not acceptable, this may be reason to look at a ducted or split system.

Depending on your situation, you may need a through-the-wall system for inside application or for outside application, or you may may seek a split system or ducted system. Keep in mind that a ducted system may allow for ducting of the cold air, the hot air or both.

9. Put necessary finishing touches on your cellar

Once you are done with the above steps, you are now ready to do some finishing touches. Finishing touches should include your personal touch on the wine cellar. You can invest in furniture, humidifier fountains or anything that you think will go well with the cellar.

majestic wine cellar racking as viewed at Rosehill Wine Cellars

Wooden wine racks are still the best choice for aging wine, and the racking design should be determined before cellar construction commences. Then the walls can be properly proportioned to the exact size of your racking layout thereby giving the racks the look of a true custom installation. This is for both walls and ceiling height.

Wine racks should be stylish and utilitarian. They should be selected according to the homeowner or wine collector’s style. Rosehill’s experienced staff would be happy to assist with the design of your wine racking layout. Depending upon your budget, design ideals and available cellar space, we’d be happy to quote from our Modular, Premium, Custom VintageView racking or metal racking catalogs of options.

When you’re ready to turn that empty space in your basement into a wine cellar, please feel free to consult us.

wooden wine rack choices, wine cellar racking options available at Rosehill Wine Cellars

We can help you with your wine cellar design to maximize storage and efficiency (and cut costs) and make it exactly perfect for your home or business.

Tools to help you manage your wine cellar.

There’s so much  to manage when it comes to your wine cellar, you’re likely in need of some help!

For example:

  • Are you drinking your wines at their peaks?
  • What’s the weather like in your cellar? Do you have the correct temperature and humidity settings for the season and geographic region?
  • Do you need assistance with tracking your inventory? Whether you have a few bottles or thousands, tracking management software can help you with cellaring guidelines, store your tasting notes … even with appropriate food matches for your wines in your personal collection.

Rosehill carries a number of excellent products to help you enjoy your cellar better.

Cellar Sensor

As a collector of fine wine you know how quickly even minor fluctuations in the air temperature and/or humidity can impact the chemistry of your wine. When you’re away from your cellar, do you wonder if the climate conditions are remaining constant?

CellarSensor™ allows you to keep tabs on your cellar’s conditions at all times, even when you’re not at home. Remotely monitor and  measure air temperature, humidity & liquid temperature.

Access current readings via an online gateway or set your system to send you a phone/email alert when conditions are not meeting your standards.


The New eSommelier wine cellar management system provides the simplest and most efficient way to organize your wine cellar, using an intuitive touch screen interface.

Getting your cellar in order adds to the enjoyment of your collection. It helps you locate any bottle in pinch, and perhaps something not as thought about, it also ensures that wines do not cellar past their prime.

The system boasts an elegant colour touch screen and all software and processing power are built-in. Its barcode printer creates a bar code label for each bottle entered and the accompanying  bar code scanner makes removing bottles from your inventory easy.

Wine Label Software

All of our wine software packages offer quick and simple solutions for recording your wine. The wine cellar software can be used for either a wine cabinet or your wine cellar.

We’ve put together a great comparison chart to help you discover which product suits your cellar needs best:


CellarTracker is one of the world’s largest wine databases. It’s totally free to use and works on a crowdsourcing model to collect data on tracked bottles. You also fine over a million user-generated wine tasting notes. It also allows you to track the value of your own wine collection.

There is a fee option and that gives allows you access additional online resources, such as Stephen Tanzer, Wine Market Journal and Jancis Robinson.

Eric LeVine, CellarTracker’s founder, just recently launched a new site built on the CellarTracker platform called GrapeStories.