Monday, May 26, 2008

Building a Wine Cellar...

Anne and I have been talking about building a wine cella
r for a very long time. This weekend, we finally got on it. I bought a book--How and Why to Build a Wine Cellar, by Richard Gold--an Engineer's Engineer. It is a great read, and very instructive on how to build a wine cellar. Sooooo----We decided on a rough dimension for the wine cellar, borrowed a truck, and bought some lumber.

The first t
hing to do was to rip out the old insulation and vapor barrier. After this, I added electrical wire for future purposes. We don't need electricity inside the wine cellar (now), but we will (likely) need electricity in the rest of the basement at sometime in the future. The insulation was in bad shape after having too many winters with moisture (note the black color in the picture on the left). The problem was that the vapor barrier and insulation was stopped below the bottom of the wall, allowing for moist air to run up the wall and sit there. So, after the rough electrical was run (12/2 Romex, for those who care about that kind of thing), I reinstalled insulation (R-13 Fiberglass) and added a new coat of 6mm Poly Vapor Barrier. The look and insulation is much cleaner and much better than the previous installation. So, call the exterior walls semi-done.

I then had to build and install the interior walls (those that face the interior of the room. The picture below is me starting to build frame that became the wall. I used 2x6 construction and added 2x4 for the stud wall to allow for 2 layers of R-13 insulation (yes, it will be slightly compressed and if I had to do it again, I would have used 2x8 construction). The finished product looked like the picture on the right.

Now that the stud-walls were up, I had to put vapor barrier (6mm Poly) on the ceiling, but not the joices, per the book (too much vapor barrier can cause too much humidity). After this R-30
unfaced fiberglass insulation went up on the ceiling, protecting the wine cellar from the heat in the living room directly above the wine cellar.

After finish the celings
, it was time to insulate (R-13 again) and vapor barrier the interior walls. This seems easy, but it was time consuming. and I was happy to be done with handling fiberglass iinsulation for the time being. There is quite a bit more work to do, but the tough stuff (like handling huge amounts of fiberglass insulation) is largely done.

There is quite a bit more to do, but the least glamorous parts of the project are done and things are looking up. I'm looking forward to next weekend so I can entirely seal up the room and see if how well it holds temperature and humidity.

One of the things we really noticed was how much heat an incandescent light put off--and so we replaced it with a flourescent light bulb. The room stayed much cooler and will definitely be the normal light in the cellar from now on...

To be continued...

Friday, May 23, 2008


I can't believe how overdue on wine updates I've become. I'm adding 6 grapes to the list as of this moment--Riesling (I can't believe it wasn't on the list already, considering my love of the grape), Marsanne (a normal blending grape that should remain a blending grape), a Touriga (Portugal's National Grape), Muller Thurgau grape from Deutschland, and a Columbard/Ugni Blanc Mix that I'm drinking as I'm writing this.

I don't have alot to say about the grapes as none of them knocked my socks off. However, the Touriga is a Rose Wine that I picked up for under $8/bottle and was pretty pleasant. The winemaker is Quinta Da Alorna and was purchased at Byerly's.

The Muller Thurgau was a gift, so was the best kind of wine in the world. Free. That and it tasted pretty good. I don't know how much it cost, so I'll leave it at that.