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Oh yeah, I built my wine cellar

01.08.10
I’ve posted a few times about my intentions to build a wine cellar. Well barring some additional shelving that will be built this spring, it’s done. And thank the lord for that. Because I’m crazy and decided to try to grow grapes up here, I figured it would be prudent to learn to make both white and red wines this year from other fruits to get my act together for when the grapes came. In a few years. Well it turns out that Red Sparkle apples make lovely wine, as do saskatoons if handled properly. I happen to have both fruits on my property. So the need for grapes has been, well, reduced. A disappointment of sorts, but a tremendous success, really, at the same time. The point being that a mature apple tree on an average year seems to produce about 200 lbs of fruit – which yields roughly 5 cases of very nice wine. Storage is an issue.

Thankfully I was ahead of the game on the storage front. I track temperature and humidity stats daily in a spreadsheet daily [because I'm a geek and that's how I roll], and am very satisfied with the results since the door was hung. In the cold of January my cellar is in the 8C which is a touch cold, perhaps, but I have a plan to bring it up a degree in the ass of winter. In the summer the wine cellar floats in the 15C area.

How did I do it? I took ‘How and Why to Build a Wine Cellar‘ out of the library over, and over. The book has loads of inconsistencies, is not brilliantly compiled, but when you get your head around the important bits on the making of, it is the best resource I found. A few thoughts about it: passive cooling is brilliant, his humdification system works very well, his siting advice is sound, and the construction, insulation, and vapor barrier advice seems solid as well.

The current project, which I will also certainly fail to post consistently about – I’m building, well, mostly finishing my root cellar. Different humidity and temp specs, ventilation needs – whole different ball park. But I’m on it, it’s fun, and I can’t wait to reap the rewards.

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