Q: We’d really like to display our wines for ourselves and our guests, but we have too many bottles for a simple rack and not nearly enough space for a cellar. What are our options?
A: No room for a wine cellar? How about a wine wall?
The Pacific Northwest is quickly becoming the new Napa as grapevines replace potatoes in Yakima and tasting rooms sprout up in Woodinville faster than drive-thru Starbucks. And locals are drinking it up.
Collecting and appreciating wine is no longer an exclusive — or expensive — hobby reserved for just a few. In fact, casual wine connoisseurs are driving rapid growth in the Washington wine scene, buying bottles by the case for a very simple reason: Washington wine is good. Very good.
But all those bottles need to go somewhere.
If you’re fortunate enough to have an unused room or closet in your home, a wine cellar is an easy choice. But what if you don’t have the extra space? Your wine collection deserves more than a pile of cardboard boxes stacked in the garage.
Why not take a second look at your dining room?
Interior designers are increasingly refreshing dining spaces by replacing antique china cabinets with wine walls. These modern, minimalist, wall-mountable racks make a big impression in a large or small footprint and are a stylish way to display wine collections.
Bringing bottles out of the cellar and into view not only creates a stunning showpiece but also offers an ever-evolving art display representing your individual taste. Wine bottles rotate through the collection with their labels — an art form unto themselves — prominently featured, like book covers in a library.
Many homeowners, even those with wine cellars, now include wine displays in communal spaces to celebrate wine culture and their unique collections. Wine displays are an excellent way to add value to your home.
Even though wine displays and wine walls store fewer bottles than dedicated cellars, that’s really the only limitation they have. It’s essential to store wine at a consistent 55 degrees and 50% humidity to protect its provenance, and modern wine walls can offer cellar-like conditions with the addition of temperature controls and a properly sealed glass front.
The glass enclosure provides an invisible barrier between the wine collection and a living space. Glass alone isn’t effective at keeping wine cool, but wine cooling technology has advanced, and today’s smaller and more efficient systems can manage the temperature within the wine wall’s enclosed space.
Before embarking on an installation, consult with a wine cellar and cooling expert to help you navigate the best solution for your home. Avoid DIY disasters by talking to the pros, as most units will require a certified HVAC technician licensed to do the work.
With so many display options, more and more Seattle homeowners are participating in wine culture and showcasing their own collections. From avid collectors to casual sippers, people are discovering Washington vintages to love and to share. The Pacific Northwest isn’t having a wine moment; it’s having a golden age. There’s no better time to display some wine, pop a cork, pour a glass and toast.
Trevor Smith is product manager at Rhino Wine Cellars, a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS). If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of MBAKS’s more than 2,600 members, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.