For any active wine cellar to be successful, important factors such as temperature and humidity must be closely watched by a climate control system. Wine cellars are built (above or below ground) to protect the wine from external influences such as heat, light, vibration and more which can spoil the wine. Wine is the be stored between 7–18 °C (45–64 °F) as when properly stored they maintain their fine quality and mature allowing for complexities in aroma and flavor. Around the world some producers, restaurants, and vineyards have built beautiful and technological advanced cellars and here are some of the top.
The luxurious Singita Boulders Lodge is a beautiful haven along the banks of the Sand River. On the private, 45,000-acre wildlife reserve, the resort boasts an extensive wine cellar, refilled every week to ensure a greater breadth of choice. Recognized as one of Africa’s most influential collectors of wine, Singita’s impressive and award-winning collection is a key ingredient of the unique Singita experience. Including some of the continent’s most sought-after private reserves, including exclusive release, limited single vineyard, and rare auction wines, the Singita wine list has received numerous awards of excellence. Guest’s at the Lodge can also enjoy personalized wine tastings within the unique ambiance of their individual lodge’s own temperature-controlled cellar. Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Kruger National Park (photo credit Singita)
The 13th-century authentically-styled Tuscan castle which took 15 years to build, is a massive 136,000 sq. ft. castle and winery with 107 rooms and five defensive towers. Along with its Great Hall with coffered ceilings and a 500-year-old fireplace, Castello di Amorosa has a 12,000 sq. ft. Grand Barrel Room featuring 40 Roman cross-vaulted brick ceilings. With 95 of those 107 rooms dedicated to winemaking, they create more than 15 types of wine which can be viewed during their daily general admission, private tours or VIP tour experiences. In their cellar guests can enjoy a meal under the over 170 containers of handmade antique bricks and tiles brought over from Europe or meet their friendly and knowledgeable staff for wine tastings straight from the cask. Calistoga, CA
Château Cheval Blanc
In the French countryside, Christian de Portzamparc designed a stunning undulating above ground cellar at Château Cheval Blanc. Its white façade is complete with its own grassy rooftop and invites natural light through its lined rows of concrete white vats. This renovation which took place in 2011 and for a whopping $20,000,000 included a new winery, barrel cellars, vinification room, and tasting area. Stretching across 19,685 square feet, their vats are cement and pear-shaped with each Cheval Blanc requiring a minimum 10 years of bottle age and the best vintages can last for 50 years or more. St. Emilion, France
Buried 20-meters underground inside a network of former military bunkers, Crown Wine Cellars is discreetly hidden in an exclusive suburb of Hong Kong Island. Declared a UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Site in 2007, this World War II military facility was constructed in 1937 and was famously the last allied position to fall in the Battle of Hong Kong. Eight underground bunkers have been sympathetically transformed into a Private Member’s Club and highly secure wine cellars. The Clubhouse, comprised of two underground bunkers as well as a newly constructed conservatory, and cellars are accessed through concrete tunnels that open into a series of 1,000-square-foot chambers. The rugged exterior makes way for a state-of-the-art climate-control technology, which carefully balances humidity and temperature and offers four types of Club Memberships: Gold, Platinum, Corporate and Cellar-Only. These members can enjoy a variety of outstanding fine dining options as well as requesting their wine be made available in the Clubhouse. Shouson Hill, Hong Kong
Dating back to the 16th century, Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion in Bordeaux received a major modern update in 2016. The Philippe Starck-designed wine cellar is 2,000 square meters and over four levels can accommodate 300 wooden barrels. The blade-like cellar is surrounded by water and includes a 2,100-square-foot harvest room, a vat house, and reception rooms to welcome visitors. The barrel cellar and the castle cellar are buried below the surface of a body of water to avoid any temperature fluctuation and hygrometric change, while the tasting room is located on the top floor, with views over the vat house. Bordeaux, France
Deemed the largest wine collection in the world, with over two million bottles by the Guinness World Records in 2005, the cellar’s tunnels stretch across a whopping 120 miles. With over one million bottles produced yearly, the cellar is a converted mine with pits so large a car can be driven through. With only roughly 35 miles of the cellar being used, the lowest point in the wine cellar lies 85 meters below the ground making it ideal for aging and stocking wine. Republic of Moldova
On 300 hectares high above the Franschhoek valley, Chamonix features some of the highest planted vineyards in the Cape. Dating back to 1688, the vineyard, farmland, and a sprawling game reserve offers a number of natural accommodations boasting the charm and character that make Franschhoek so unique. Built in the 1700s and located in The Blacksmith’s Cottage – one of the accommodation options – an underground passage leads from the cellar up to their comfortable tasting room. This African experience allows guests to see the surrounding wildebeest, zebra, and springboks while delighting in hand-selected grapes and a wine process that follows tradition methods. Franschhoek, South Africa
Located in the hotel lobby of Zurich Airport’s Radisson Blu, the impressive Wine Tower Bar is a 54-foot-high marvel. The world’s tallest glass wine tower contains over 4,000 bottles of wine and Champagne and even features live bar angels who ‘fly’ into the air (over 100 times a night) to retrieve ordered bottles. The beautiful wine tower is as much impressive in its extensive selection as it is an art piece providing an ideal wine and show. Zurich, Switzerland
Quintessa is a 280-acre site with a total of 160 acres are planted with 26 vineyard blocks of five varietals each farmed organically and biodynamically harvested. In the crescent-shaped state-of-the-art facility, is both functionally along with blending into the contours of the property. The roof doubles as a crush pad where grapes are funneled into fermentation tanks where the wine is then barreled and aged in 1,000 linear feet of caves. The vineyard offers three tasting experiences where a Quintessa guides you through the caves and gravity-flow winemaking process and offers a selection of award-winning wines. Rutherford, Calif.