Gordon James

Gordon James
Home Wine Cellars – Building Basics

As the creation, tasting, and appreciation of wine are on the rise in the United States, the adventurous homeowner and wine aficionado often desires to install a wine cellar in their home. The innovative builders at Gordon James will not only construct this space, but fill it with comfort and character. Before viewing our featured gallery, “Wine Lover’s Paradise,” for design inspirations, consult the following article to learn more about the basics of constructing a home wine cellar.

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.  A wine cellar should be placed in the coolest and most humid place in your home. The closer you are to maintaining a temperature of 55°-58° F and a humidity percentage of 55-75%, 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 a few elements:

  • Walls – 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 same type of drywall that is utilized in bathrooms and kitchens). 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.
  • Alternative Wall & Ceiling Coverings – A decorative option is to cover your walls and ceiling with so-called “tongue and groove” material, complementing the wood, stain, and/or lacquer that will be on your racking. In addition, you might also install a raised panel ceiling and/or soffit. Raised panel ceilings can be made to fit any room configuration, whether it is a square, rectangle, octagon, or circle.
  • Flooring – 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. Expansion of some of these materials may occur; allowing wood to acclimate to the wine cellar conditions for 48 hours will minimize said expansion.
  • Doors – 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 choose a glass door, it will need to be thermopaned to ensure proper insulation and minimal risk of condensation. Solid wood doors are also an option (though acclimation, as discussed above, is recommended).
  • 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.
  • Lighting – There are very few limitations when it comes to lighting options for a wine cellar. There are some concerns about the harmful effects of UV lights on long-term storage, but more research must be done before a scientific consensus is reached.

Wine Lover's Paradise by Gordon JamesWine Lover's Paradise by Gordon JamesConclusion

Though the considerations listed above may seem complex, rest assured that Gordon James will handle all facets of construction with skill and technical acumen. Contact us today, and you too could soon be enjoying a glass in your own “Wine Lover’s Paradise.”