When thinking of a wine cellar, one’s thoughts often wander to the dank and dark rooms hidden deep in the bowls of a home. These spaces often saw delectable and pricey bottles of wine stuffed away into as many nooks and crannies as the space could hold, not exactly the ideal storage space for something that has evolved from a social hobby of those with refined palettes, to a full-on investment strategy.
Today, luxury home owners are treating their wine collections with a bit more respect. A new generation of wine aficionados is transforming the trendy wine cellar from the old-fashioned, windowless space in the basement to a show-stopping piece of design and technological innovation now featured prominently on the main floors of the home.
“They’re not wine cellars anymore,” said Robert Bass, president of Greenville, S.C.-based Kessick Wine Cellars, to The Wall Street Journal. “They’re wine rooms.”
In reaching a higher status in the minds of home owners, wine collections are now finding homes in the high-style spaces that might be situated right next to high-traffic areas for entertaining such as the kitchen and dining room. Luxury home owners are intent on making their prized collections, many of which may contain one of just a few bottles of a variety of wine available in the entire world, a centerpiece for the home, showing them off to guests with glass walls and LED lighting elements.
New Technology Brings Cellar Climate Conditions To Upper Floors
The evolution of the wine cellar began out of necessity. Originally, winemakers producing wine in the warmer climates of the world, such as in Italy, Greece and Iran, would have to dig deep into the earth for a slightly milder climate to store wine. These excavations would often result in intricate networks of caves or catacombs, many of which are still in use today up in Napa Valley.
For luxury home owners, wine cellars originated out of this tradition as well. However, as the wine industry gains popularity, refinement was inevitable. Technology now allows home owners to simulate the environment of a deep, cavernous cellar in a 16-by-10-foot, glass-enclosed room in a Laguna Beach luxury home, or even a Manhattan apartment building.
“We have a lot of people putting a big portion of their storage in the basement, and then upstairs they’ll have a showpiece room,” said Curtis Dahl, co-owner of the custom wine cellar company Joseph & Curtis, to The Wall Street Journal. “My basement looks like anybody else’s basement with three kids, so I built a wine cellar on my main floor.”
Dahl, and other luxury home owners, can now enjoy their wine as if it is a piece of art with the exquisite custom designs as the backdrop.
“We can sit amongst the wine and be grown-ups,” Dahl continues.
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