How Do You Convert a Room into a Wine Cellar?

There are many important factors to consider when planning a wine cellars.

Budget, location, insulation, racking, and climate control, are just a few critical decisions that should be made before you begin your project. Today we are covering most of the elements that must be planned before cellar construction.

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Custom Wine Cellar by Vinotemp with Bottle Bing Racking

Constructing the Room

Pick a location for your wine cellar in an area that does not have direct exposure to sunlight or heat. It should have at least one external wall and proper ventilation. Wine cellars should be built using standard 2x4 and 2x6 construction methods and ceiling joists that meet local and state codes' requirements. Thicker cellar walls will provide a higher insulation factor and will help the room maintain a consistent temperature.

Insulation and Vapor Barrier

Your new wine cellar will need sufficient insulation and a vapor barrier. Use plastic sheeting (6 mil.) applied to the hot side of the cellar walls and the ceiling to create a vapor barrier. If you cannot access the outside, then the plastic sheeting must be applied inside the cellar. Wrap the entire interior, leaving loose plastic in the stud cavity so that insulation can be placed between each stud. If you are using a cooling unit, insulating the walls of the wine cellar is required. All of the walls, ceiling, and floors, must be wrapped in plastic to create a complete vapor barrier. R13 insulation should be applied to the walls, and R19 or R-30 insulation should be used on the ceiling of the cellar. Fiberglass or foam insulation is often used in cellar construction. Proper insulation will help the cellar maintain the best environment for wine year-round.

Walls and Ceiling

The style of the wine cellar determines the interior wall and ceiling coverings. Drywall may be applied and painted using low VOC paint to match the theme. Cedar or redwood tongue and groove paneling may also be used for wall coverings. The paneling should be made out of the same type of wood as the wine racks to create a cohesive appearance. Stone and granite may also be suitable options for wall coverings.

Cellar Doors

To maintain the wine cellar's temperature and humidity, an exterior grade door that is 1-3/4 inch thick must be installed. If an all-glass door is used, it should be double or triple-paned and tempered. The door should have a tight seal to prevent cold air from escaping the cellar. Weatherstripping should be used on all sides of the door, and a bottom "sweep" or threshold is recommended.


Slate, marble, tile, vinyl, wood, and concrete may all be used for wine cellar flooring. Carpet should be avoided as it will retain moisture and lead to mold and mildew. Flooring should be level and free from base trim or molding that can interfere with the wine racking.


The lighting of a wine cellar can be both functional and beautiful. LED lighting has become more commonly used because it does not emit heat and is also energy efficient. Recessed can lights, display lights, and rope lighting are also popular options. No matter the type of lighting used, cellar lighting should be set to a dimmer to control brightness. Lighting should also be connected to a time system to prevent them from being left on for extended periods.

Cellar Cooling System

There are two types of cooling used in a wine cellar. A passive wine cellar is built below the ground level where the soil's natural temperature is consistently cool. No cooling unit is required in a passive wine cellar. A climate-controlled wine cellar uses cooling equipment to keep the wine cellar at a consistent 55◦F and the humidity around 70%RH. For wine cellars that are less than 2,000 cu ft, a split system or through the wall system may be used. More extensive wine cellars may require commercial refrigeration equipment installed by a certified refrigeration expert.

Wine Racking

Wine racking may be made from wood, acrylic, glass, or metal. Traditional wood racking may be made from redwood, cedar, or mahogany. A cellar expert can help you create a 2D or 3D CAD layout to customize your racking system to match your storage needs.

Build a Wine Cellar

If you are ready to begin your wine cellar project, contact a Vinotemp team member with our Contact Form.