Michael Silverman documenting innovation at work


DIY 500 bottle wine cellar for $1000

My dad is a fan of wine. For his 51st birthday (20 at heart) I built him a wine cellar in our basement.

There are a few things you want to consider when building a wine cellar.

  • How many wine bottles do you plan to store?
    • Optimally the room should be <65°F. Do you need a unit to heat or cool the room? For this to be possible you must have an unfinished room with no drywall installed. In order to install a cooling unit you need to have a vapor wall. Vapor walls must be installed behind the studs. Alternatively, you could monitor the temperature of a room in your basement to determine if it remains cool enough.
    • What type of racks do you want to purchase? There are many ways to showcase and store your wine. You could get the simple grid. You could get a diamond rack. Do you have full boxes you want to store? Do you want a glass rack?
    • How will you light the room?

    My basement stays at a steady 68-70°F. Some might say this is on the warm side. There are plenty of contradicting opinions on what the ideal temperature is. I'm comfortable saying that as long as the temperature is 70 or below with no major fluctuations the wine should be fine. Humidity was not considered because we can't have a cooling unit anyways.

    The racks were purchased from Rosehill Wine Cellars. They sell all kinds of wine racks at an affordable price. All of the racks pictured below came to a total of around $500. The best part was putting them together, with a nail gun. The assembly for all the racks took about 6 hours. We did a couple of unplanned adjustments with the setup which added some time to this. Nail guns are fun. I spoke with a representative from Rosehill over the phone, she was very friendly. They are based in Canada so I was surprised to see the items arrive a few days later. I highly recommend them.

    The track light was purchased from a local lighting store. We have three lights which are used for ambient light and two that are more directionally focused. The track light is great because it allows for easy addition, removal or adjustment of the fixtures. The light and motion detector switch was easy to install because there was already a fluorescent light wired to the room.

    The pictures are from a local Bed Bath & Beyond. The four on top were sold together the other two were sold singularly.

    The glasses and decanter were purchased at Crate & Barrel.

    The walls and ceiling were painted with Olympic latex paint.

    The leftmost rack actually blocks off about three feet of the room. This is because there are pipes immediately behind the rack. I cut a piece of plywood, painted it black and attached it to the back of the leftmost rack. I really like the way the angle turned out.

    The whole project took roughly 30 hours of construction time.  The painting was the real chunk of the time. To paint the walls and floor took about 15 hours. Now onto the wine!