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
My 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.
Wine cellar design includes security measures. (Photo: Rosehill Wine Cellars Walk-in Wine Cooler)
Security is a crucial feature of wine cellar design, since the purpose of the space is to protect your wine collection. When it comes to wine, the top elements of security are achieved by providing an environment with the correct temperature, storage racks, etc. The security features discussed below also include the kind that keep unwanted guests from helping themselves to your wine collection, whether a thief or an uncle who partakes a bit too freely of O-be-joyful.
Your wine cellar door and the lock on it are the primary lines of defense against theft. The door also serves the dual purpose of protecting the unique environment that preserves wine. You can choose from a vast selection of fully customizable wine cellar doors. Materials include glass and the wood of your choice, along with the type of stain. Ornamental doors are available, as well. The doors should have a reliable lock and create an adequate seal that maintains the desired temperature and overall environment in the wine cellar. You can choose electronic locks or more traditional locks.
For more advanced monitoring of your wine cellar, you can have external sensors that activate video recordings of activity around your wine cellar or wine cabinet. Mobile features make it possible to check on your wine collection wherever you are.
Extra Layers of Security
Additional security inside your wine cellar can be achieved with a cabinet that locks. A cabinet can enhance wine cellar design while providing you with an extra measure of security for your finest, most expensive wines. Locksets should be requested when ordering wine cabinets.
You can also choose to have wine rack lockers installed above the wine racks, so that the most valuable vintages have additional security.
The environmental conditions in a wine cellar provide the best protection for the investment you’ve made in your wine collection. Why bother with locks if the wine isn’t kept in optimal conditions? Wine needs to be protected from sunlight and UV rays caused by certain types of lighting. The temperature range is very specific for wine, and continuous fluctuations in temperature must be eliminated. Wine cellar cooling units from top manufacturers
Systems are available that will send you an alert if the temperature in the wine cellar moves out of the set range.
Rosehill Wine Cellars for the Best in Wine Cellar Design
The experts at Rosehill Wine Cellars specialize in all things related to wine cellars, including wine cellar design that provides a secure environment for your collection. Contact Rosehill today by calling 1-888-253-6807.
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.
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.
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
In 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“I have attached some photos of the wine cellar that you helped design. The racking fit like a glove. Thanks for everything.”
Randy & Kim Custeau