How to Build a Wine Cellar in a Basement

By Sophia Darby

Home wine cellars are increasing in popularity as people discover the benefits of collecting and storing wine at home. When choosing a place for your basement wine cellar, you will need to select a location that has the proper temperature, humidity and lighting conditions. The proper temperature of a wine cellar is 55 F with a relative humidity of 60 to 65 percent (reference 1 subheading “Maintain Proper Wine Storage Environment”) Ideally, a wine cellar should not have any windows, as this lets in excess light, heat or cold that is not conducive to proper wine storage.

A wine cellar can be a simple storage room in an unused area of your basement.

Step 1

Seal a bare concrete floor with a water-based sealant. This prevents moisture from leaching up through the bare concrete and raising the humidity levels of the room. Follow the product directions for proper application technique. If the basement floor is already finished with tile or carpet this step is not necessary.

Step 2

Frame the walls of the wine cellar. Use 2 x 6 wooden studs, spaced 16 inches apart on center. (reference 4 subheading “wall framing) (reference 2)

Step 3

Install a vapor barrier on the walls and floor. Wrap 8 mil plastic sheeting over the 2x6 wooden studs, attaching it with a staple gun to the wood. Place insulation over the plastic, in the cavities between the wooden studs. (reference 2)

Step 4

Hang humidity-proof green board, a moisture-resistant produce similar to drywall, on the walls. Attach the green board to the studs with drywall screws. (reference 2)

Step 5

Install the door. Choose a solid core door to keep the cellar environment intact. If using a glass door, it should be double paned for better insulation. The door should be hung to open into the cellar. This will ensure the tightest seal possible between the door and the weather stripping.

Step 6

Install weather stripping around the door frame. This prevents drafts and keeps the cellar air tight. (reference 2)

Step 7

Install a cooling system. Most basements will not need additional cooling, but if the room is consistently above 55 F one will be required. To calculate the size of cooling system needed, multiply the cellar's width, depth and height to calculate the cubic area. (reference 2)

Step 8

Install wine racks. These can be ordered as custom-made, stand alone units, built by you using woodworking plans, or small, store-bought racks placed on shelves.