Apex Custom Wine Cellars Custom Wine Cellars

The Art of Wine Storage
Plans: Building a properly specified wine cellar
Building A Properly Spec'd Cellar
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Getting Started
Build wine cellar walls using standard 2x4 or 2x6 construction methods and ceiling joists following the guidelines of local and state codes in your area. The general rule for a cellar is the thicker the walls, the better the insulation factor, the better the cellar remains at a consistent temperature.

Insulation & Vapor Barrier
Apex Wine Cellar Room Prep

Plastic sheeting (6 mil) is applied to the HOT side of the cellar walls. The vapor barrier must be either applied to the outside walls and ceiling, or if it is impossible to get to the outside, then the plastic must be applied from within the cellar.

The most common method is to wrap the entire interior, leaving the plastic loose in the stud cavity so the insulation can be placed between each stud. All walls, ceiling and floor must be wrapped in plastic for a complete vapor barrier.

Insulation is REQUIRED if a climate control cooling unit is going to be used. The R factor or thickness of insulation is determined by the thickness of the walls and ceiling. For example, fiberglass insulation of R13 is designed to be used in a 2x4 wall while R19 is used in a 2.6 wall. It is important to use the correct insulation for the wall thickness.

A minimum of R13 should be applied to the walls of a cellar. R19-R30 is recommended in the ceiling. Standard "Fiberglass" or "Rigid Foam" insulation is normally used in cellar construction, or in some cases, blown in insulation is used. It is very important that all walls and ceiling be insulated to keep the cellar temperature as consistent as possible during the summer and winter months.

Vapor barrier is REQUIRED when a climate control cooling unit is installed.

Wine Cellar Wall & Ceiling Covering
The interior wall and ceiling covering is determined by the decor theme of the cellar. Often times drywall is applied, then painted (always use latex paint) to match a color theme of the cellar.

Most commonly used is cedar or redwood (depending upon the racking materials) tongue and groove material applied to the walls and ceiling (consult with an Apex representative). This T&G 1x4 paneling is the same wood species as the racking material which makes for a very uniform look throughout the cellar. Stone or granite are also used as a wall covering material.

Wine Cellar Doors
If a cooling system is installed, an exterior grade (1 3/4") door must be installed as a cellar door. It is very important that weather stripping is attached to all 4 sides of the door jamb. A bottom "sweep" or threshold is also recommended. The door must have a very good seal to keep the cool cellar air from escaping out of the cellar.

One of the most common problems with cooling units running continually is due to not sealing the door properly. Solid core doors or doors with a full glass insert are most often used. Glass doors must have at least double pane tempered glass. Apex offers both solid wood doors in standard and "old world" antique styles as well as glass etching as an option to those who want their glass insert wine door to look extra special.

Wine Cellar Flooring
All types of flooring are used in cellars. Most commonly used is slate, tile, marble, or vinyl. Popular choices include our cork and reclaimed wine barrel surfacing. NEVER USE CARPET. Carpet will mold and mildew in the cool, damp climate conditions of a cellar. As with the case of wall coverings, flooring is normally chosen to match the overall decor colors of the cellar. The flooring should be applied to a level surface. It is best not to apply base trim or moldings to the walls behind the racking.

Wine Cellar Lighting
Lighting a wine cellar is an important part of the overall cellar decor. "Air Lock" recessed ceiling can lights are the most popular. These should be put on dimmer switches to control brightness. In most cases, these are used as the main lights within the cellar. Also popular are various display lights to accent different areas of the cellar. Apex offers display "rope" lighting that is specially designed and built to fit into the display angle of individual bottle racking.

Different types of spot lights are used to highlight picture openings, table areas, or large format display bottles. It is recommended that all lighting be on a timer system so they can't be left on for long periods of time. Lights cause excess heat and will cause the cooling equipment to over work itself.

Wine Cellar Climate Control
If a climate controlled cellar is required, Apex can provide cooling equipment to properly keep the cellar at a temperature of about 55-60 degrees and humidity of 50-70%. For cellars less than 2000 cubic feet in size, there are two main types of units. "Through-The-Wall" systems and "Split Systems." [see our classic and signature CellarTec system pages for more information]

For larger cellars we provide commercial refrigeration equipment that must be installed by a certified refrigeration expert. Consult with an Apex sales representative to assist with sizing the correct cooling unit, and to get installation and power supply instructions.

Passive cellars are rooms that are built below ground level. The natural ground temperature will be consistent at about 55 degrees to protect your wine for long term storage and no cooling equipment is required.

Wine Cellar Racking
All wine racking is designed and custom made by Apex Wine Cellars. Standard materials are either All Heart Redwood or clear, grade A, Western Red Cedar. Both woods are very resistant to rot in the cool, damp environment of a cellar. Clients usually choose one over the other due to matching decor colors in the cellar design.

Cedar is more of a brown tone and lighter in color, where redwood is a more reddish tone and darker. Apex will send wood samples at no charge. Other woods are available on a special order basis. The racking design ideas are endless.

Apex has a design department ready to give you CAD layouts to customize the racking system to match your exact storage needs. (Consult with an Apex sales representative for design ideas and features for your custom cellar project).

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