Functional Beauty

Whether you’re an occasional sipper of wine or a bona fide connoisseur, the last thing you want to taste is a bottle of wine that has become vinegar. Wine like any food will go bad if not properly cared for. If wine is exposed to heat, light, vibrations or fluctuations in temperature or humidity, it will spoil. If you buy wine by the case or if you collect rare vintages, then you will want a wine cellar.

The wine cellar you choose should keep wine chilled to about 55 f (13° C) The wine cellar must be dark. Humidity should be between 50%-70%, and bottles should be stored horizontally. There are two types of wine cellars; passively cooled or actively cooled. Passively cooled cellars have the advantage of using no power. The caves used to age and store wines in France fall into this category. A dark area of a basement will suffice for this provided it is naturally cool and does not suffer temperature fluctuations.

An actively cooled wine cellar is heavily insulated and uses a refrigeration system to maintain a constant temperature and humidity.

Experts debate the effects of humidity on wine. You’ll want to purchase a system that provides for both proper humidity and temperature.

Now that we’ve looked at the two necessities for wine cellars let’s look at some of the other things to consider.

If you’re storing less than 500 bottles, a wine cellar is correctly called a wine closet. These can range from a small refrigerator-sized, semi-portable cooler to a room dedicated strictly for that purpose. Many upscale restaurants and clubs have elaborate wine cellars that are custom built.

Several companies construct wine cellars to their customer’s specifications. In New England a Connecticut based company; New England Wine Cellars LLC, provides expert design and installation of unique wine cellars for their customers. The company provides these services to clients throughout the world.

Fred Tregaskis founded the company after being asked to recommend someone to design and build a 28,000-bottle wine cellar for Lespinasse restaurant in Manhattan. Drawing on his experience in construction, artistic design and fine woodworking, he undertook the job himself. With a background in tasting and writing about fine wines as well, it is a calling that Tregaskis is uniquely suited for.

The first step the company takes is to consult with the customer about their wine storage needs and desires. The design department comes up with plans and presents final drawings and a formal quote to the customer for review and approval. Additional items such as specialized woodwork or copper counters are itemized in the final quote. Experienced woodworkers turn the customer’s dream wine cellar into reality in the company’s mill. All the wine racking is brought to the buyer’s home and installed. A well-crafted wine cellar enhances the beauty and value of any home. New England Wine Cellars motto is “Making the world safe for wine.” For Fred Tregaskis and the employees of New England Wine Cellars LLC, it isn’t just a motto it’s a passion.