A Conversation on Wine Cellars


For many wine lovers there are three main areas of storage: the bottle, the glass and the stomach. But, for those with a passion for collecting as well as drinking, the elaborate designs and practical qualities of a custom made wine cellar can be eye-catching as well as necessary.

Appreciating Wine spoke to Curtis Dahl of Joseph & Curtis, designers and builders of custom wine cellars, about everything from cost to innovations in wine storage.

Appreciating Wine: What factors affect the price of building a custom wine cellar, other than size?

Curtis: It comes down to details AND cooling. The cooling is by far the biggest driver of price, i.e what type of cooling: least expensive is self-contained, then ductless splits, and the highest is the ducted units.

If you are going to add cooling to the wine cellar then the entire room has to have a proper vapor barrier, insulation, certain types of wood species, and exterior grade windows and door. The golden rule is if you are going to have cooling then you will be adding $10-15K extra toward the wine room.

AW: Why is storage so important in terms of preserving the condition of wine?

Curtis: Wine simply thrives in cool and calm conditions. It does not like sunlight, or inconsistency of temp or humidity… all of which retard the preservation of the wine.

wine cellar

AW: You also offer wine consulting services, what sort of growth or change in wine investment has there been over the past few years?

Curtis: The access to incredible wines that just a few years ago were only available to a select few. In just a few clicks of the mouse any collector can have access to almost any wine on the planet… for a price :)

AW: Are customized wine cellars and racks just for serious collectors or investors, or are there more affordable options for wine lovers?

Curtis: Where there is a will there is a way…sometimes people are lucky enough to have a space which does not need cooling and the wine room is much less expensive. Others choose wine fridges which can hold up to 200+ bottles for less than 10k in most cases (the long term track records of the small compressors are not great) so longevity with a wine fridge is usually not optimal. But we have found over the last 3-5 years that middle class and up are adding these features to their homes both for enjoyment and price appreciation.

AW: Is it true the addition of a wine cellar can increase property value, is that something you or your customers take into consideration when approaching a project?

Curtis: 100%. I would say the dramatic growth of wine has been fueling this addition to the modern home for the last 5 years. IF there is proper storage in a home almost every realtor I have ever spoken to says it is a huge bonus.

Wine Cellar

AW: What are the latest technological developments in wine storage?

Curtis: Wireless inventory systems, temperature and humidity alerts, finger recognition for entry and led lighting that is heat- less and so doesn’t affect the temperature of the room.

AW: In terms of current trends what is popular right now when it comes to the design of wine cellars and cabinets?

Curtis: Metal and glass have become extremely popular in the last few years. Many customers wish to add a wine cabinet or cellar which looks like something straight out of a high end NYC restaurant. Sleek, sexy, and industrial. In the last 3 years we have opened a new division of J&C for stainless steel and glass cellars and cabinets.

You can find out more about Joseph & Curtis and their custom wine cellars by visiting www.josephandcurtis.com.


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