By Steve Jacobson –
The Wine Ponderer has already written a post on wine storage and home wine cellars. So there’s no need to repeat that information. However, I recently was sent an unusual wine cellar design that I felt compelled to share. Some of you may have seen this going around the Internet. I dug a little deeper (no pun intended) to discover that there is a company that does design and build these unusual wine storage areas for your home.
I just converted the closet under the stairs into a “wine room” in my house… Well, I guess it’s really more like a wine closet. It really is a great space that is now being used far more efficiently than storing suitcases and boxes that never get used. I still have to get the racks, the refrigeration and the door installed, but that’s another story. I am guessing it will store about 300+ bottles by the time it gets completed. It’s a great place to store and display wine.
But when I came across these unusual wine “closets”, I was definitely enthused on the concept and the design. Imagine being able to open up the glass door in the floor of your kitchen or your living room and help yourself to a bottle of Zinfandel or your favorite Chardonnay. Talk about a great way to display and store wine.
In addition to the cool designs, the engineering of how the air is circulated throughout the system is, well… cool… Cool air enters the cellar through a pipe at ceiling level, pushing the warm air down and out through another pipe located at the bottom. This feeds up through the center of the stairs and outside. This system prevents the air in the cellar from becoming stale. Since it is always the same level as the temperature of the ground, it is normally at the optimum cellar temperature of about 55 degrees F. Of course this means that there are no electric bills, as the earth will keep the wine at the proper temperature and humidity.
The beginning of this story really started in 1844 in France at “Le Pont du Gard”, a magnificent aqueduct that transported water for several kilometers across the Valley of Gardon. A spiral staircase was added to this structure in 1844 to allow visitors access to the canal. It was this spiral staircase that became the inspiration to Frenchman Georges Harnois in 1977. He realized that there weren’t many houses that had cellars, and yet people still needed a place to store their wine. So he came up with the idea of the Spiral Wine Cellar. And in 1981, Spiral Cellars opened up their office in England… and since then, they have built almost 25,000 of these cellars in France and the UK. With each cellar holding about 1900 bottles, that’s a lot of stored wine!
Installation takes about eight days from start to finish. Go to www.spiralcellars.com and watch a time-lapse video of an installation.
Treat yourself to a Spiral Cellar… “Build your wine a home”.