Home Wine Cellars – Building Basics

It is every wine aficionados dream to have a home wine cellar installed in their home. Gordon James can make that dream a reality, and put your personal touch on the space. Before viewing our gallery, “Wine Lover’s Paradise,” for inspiration, consult this article to learn more about home wine cellars.

Location, Location, Location

Contrary to popular belief, a home wine cellar doesn’t necessarily have to be in your basement. It’s important to remember, however, that the location that you choose will have a future impact on the cost of maintaining your cellar. Your wine cellar should be located in the home’s coolest and darkest place. The closer you are to maintaining a temperature of 55°-58° F and a humidity percentage of 55-75 percent, the better off both your wine and your wallet will be.

Wine Lover's Paradise by Gordon JamesConstruction Considerations

Our accomplished team of builders will obviously take care of every step in the process of construction. To give you a general idea of what’s in store, here are some quick facts about home wine cellars:


To cover the walls and ceiling, you will need to utilize material that is resistant to the high humidity conditions. The most common choice for wall and ceiling coverings is water-resistant drywall. The drywall should first be covered with primer, followed by a water-based, exterior-grade paint; oil – or solvent-based paints can leave a lingering odor in the wine cellar.


When installing flooring in a wine cellar, you want to ensure that it will withstand the high-humidity environment. Carpeting and vinyl flooring are both poor choices, as moisture may make carpeting rot and vinyl buckle. You can utilize a bare concrete floor, as long as you seal the concrete. If you want a more decorative option, it is common to utilize porcelain tiles, cork, or hardwood flooring. 


You will need to install an exterior-grade door, sealed on three sides with weather stripping, and on the bottom with a threshold and door sweep. If you decide on a glass door for your wine cellar, you will need to thermopane it. This ensures proper insulation and less risk for condensation. You can choose solid wood doors, but Gordon James recommends acclimating the wood to minimize expansion.

Electrical Outlets

Outlets in a wine cellar are best placed in the spaces at the corners where the wine racks come together. At the same time, it is important to follow your local building code for outlet placement.


There are very few limitations when it comes to lighting options for a wine cellar. There are concerns about the effects of UV lights on long-term storage, but needs more research to be substantiated. 

Another view of a custom wine cellar built in one of Gordon James' luxury custom homes. A view of a Gordon James-built custom wine cellar in a custom home. Conclusion

Though building a wine cellar may seem confusing, Gordon James will handle all of the construction so you can relax. Contact us today, and you too could soon be enjoying a glass in your own “Wine Lover’s Paradise.”