America’s growing fascination with wine—consumption increases some 10 percent every five years, according to data tracked by the Wine Institute in San Francisco—has not been lost on log-home owners. Indeed, investing in the timeless natural retreat of a log home for a more leisurely, contemplative lifestyle seems to go hand in hand with the oenophile outlook, and requests for wine cellars reflect that trend. “A house we are about to begin construction on soon has an outdoor wine cellar that was actually a bank vault where the previous landowners kept their bootleg booze back in the ’20s,” says Jeff Wirth, director of sales and marketing for Kootenai, a 41-home log-home development in Montana’s Swan Valley. “It’s a 10-foot-by-12-foot room, and we are restoring the old vault door.”
Ken Whipple of Lindal Cedar Homes says wine storage has come out of the basement in tandem with the larger trend of log-home owners moving to increase the features and functionality of their outdoor spaces. “We have done both interior and exterior wine cellars. There have been plenty of outdoor applications,” he says. “It’s just another example of how creative and well-designed outdoor spaces make the homeowner feel that the exterior and interior of their home has become unified as a living environment.”
Wirth adds that exterior wine cellars dug into the earth offer a greater temperature stability compared to their basement brethren. “Wine cellars benefit from the most stable temperatures when underground,” he says. “Simple thermostats and self-contained temperature control systems will be de rigueur in any wine-storage application, anyway.”
|5 wine storage tips:|
- Keep a constant temperature of approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This goes for both red and white wines, as long as the cellar is being used for storage purposes only.
- Beware of humidity, which can breed mold growth if too high or cause corks to crack if too low, allowing air to seep in and oxidize the wine. The ideal range is between 60 to 75 percent relative humidity, which indicates the percentage of moisture in the air relative to the maximum amount of moisture the air can withstand at a given temperature.
- Store wine bottles horizontally to help keep the corks moist, which will also prevent cracking.
- Keep the cellar dark to prevent ultraviolet (UV) rays from penetrating the wine.
- Get creative with your storage options, such as an old library-card holder, with each drawer dedicated to a different bottle of wine.