We just completed an under stairs wine cellar in our home and the basic instructions are here for a simple design. The good thing about an under stairs wine cellar is that it will generally not have an outside wall.
Ideally, you should not use an outside wall, as this is very difficult to properly insulate. If you must use an outside wall, it’s best if you live in a moderate climate and remember to use additional insulation.
The first step in building your wine cellar is to remove the old interior walls, leaving just the frame. Next, place a moisture barrier against the framing and outside of the insulation. 6ml plastic sheets work fine and are available at any hardware store.
The next step is to wire for any electrical needs. You will need an outlet for your cooling unit and wiring for an interior light. Most cellar builders recommend using very low voltage lighting – LED preferred. Any electrical wiring for your residential wine cellar must be done prior to insulation.
The next step is insulation. The most important step in the construction of this compact wine cellar is properly insulating and sealing the space. We used R-14 insulation on the cellar walls and R-19 insulation on the cellar ceiling.
After your space is properly insulated, install your walls. Standard 5/8 inch drywall boards can be used, although we recommend using green board for added mildew protection. Be careful to tape and seal each joint. Finally, once your drywall is placed and sealed, you can choose any texture and/or paint color you choose to give your walls the finishing touch.
We chose a glass door for esthetics (even though it is not recommended). If you decide on a glass door, you must use dual pane glass for proper insulation. Then seal the door carefully with one of several varieties of weather stripping you can find at your local hardware store. Once the door is sealed, have one person go into the dark cellar and attempt to shine a flashlight beam outside along the entire length of the stripping. If the person on the outside sees no light coming through, you’ve got a tight seal.
Always use hard surface flooring in a wine cellar, never use carpet. Tile is best and we used travertine with a few decorative tiles in the center. Be sure to finish your walls before you install your flooring.
SHOP HERE FOR A WIDE VARIETY OF WINE RACKS AT VARIOUS PRICES. There are a wide variety of wine racks available depending upon the size and shape of your cellar and the final look you want. The racks can be the single most expensive component of your cellar. We used redwood racks that went well with our decor.
There are also a variety of cooling units available and all are rated for the cubic footage of interior space needed to cool. Always err on the high side. Click above to shop.
We choose a Breezeaire rated for 200 CF even though our space is 130 CF. Choose a unit with a digital readout so you can constantly monitor the interior temperature of your compact wine cellar. We use a bottle probe thermostat to insure equal cooling. This way the optimum temperature is determined by the water in an empty bottle, not by the temperature of the air in the room. You can see pictures of our under stairs wine cellar here.
Fill with wine and enjoy!