How to Build a Wine Cellar in Your Basement

Wine bottles in a row.
  • 72-168 hours
  • Advanced
  • 10,000-30,000
What You'll Need
2x6-inch studs
6-mm plastic sheeting
R-19 and R-30 insulation
Moisture resistant sheetrock
Moisture resistant paint
Wine cellar air conditioning unit
Cellar door
Wine racks
Hardwood or stone tile flooring material
Construction tools

Building a wine cellar in your basement is a formidable task; however, the rewards are considerable. For every dollar invested in building a wine cellar, you will easily see a $3 return in increased property value. Plus, as a wine enthusiast, creating a cellar allows you to store your wine under proper conditions over a period of many years. Follow these instructions to add a wine cellar to your basement.

Step 1 - Plan

Building a wine cellar is a major do-it-yourself project. For an average-sized wine cellar, a professional contractor will charge anywhere from $50,000 to $60,000. If a cellar construction includes excavation and concrete pouring, the price can soar upwards. You will need to determine a realistic budget that will dictate the type and size you can afford.

Step 2 - Build Storage

If you decide to build a room that accommodates not only storage, but also dining and tasting, you will need to double the space. A traditional wine storage cellar only is a 10x10 foot room with enough wall space to store 1,600 bottles of wine.

Step 3 - Add an Air Conditioner

Purchase a wine cellar air conditioner that can properly preserve and mature your wine selection. Optimum room temperature is 55 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, the room humidity must be between 60 percent and 70 percent. Due to the unusual temperature and humidity requirements, normal home air conditioning units will not work. Depending on your needs or desires, you can choose between a wall unit, a split system controlling temperature and humidity, or a duct system with no appliance inside the room. It all comes down to budget and aesthetics.

Step 4 - Frame the Walls

Use 2x6 inch lumber to frame your wine cellar walls. This size lumber is necessary to contain R-19 insulation, which maintains a consistent temperature. Don’t fret if you are using two existing walls that employ 2x4 inch lumber.

Locate your wine cellar room where two existing walls can be used. If any existing walls are concrete, you will need to construct a two-sided frame and attach it to the existing wall.

Step 5 - Install Plastic

Wine bottles in a row.

Staple the plastic sheeting to the outside walls, which is commonly referred to as the warm side of the wall. The plastic acts as a vapor barrier. If you have two existing walls and cannot access the outside, attach the plastic to the inside area. If the walls are concrete, first attach an anchor strip equal to the length of the desired room over the top and at the bottom of each existing concrete wall.

Step 6 - Install Electricity

While your wine cellar walls are open, install all necessary wiring. Make sure to install it according to your local codes.

Step 7 - Complete the Wall

Use R-19 insulation on the walls and R-30 insulation on the ceiling. If the floor is particularly cold, install furring strips as a base with rigid foam insulation on top and then whatever frame you desire on which to install flooring.

Be aware of any necessary step-up when entering the room due to a floor build up. Sheath the interior walls with a vapor barrier.

Step 8 - Add Flooring

Install a moisture resistant flooring material, such as hardwood or tile.

Step 9 - Install Wine Racks and Door

Use the assistance of a wine specialist to determine the type and amount of racking to accommodate your selection. Keep in mind that if you are growing your hobby, you can add racks and select designs that will stay current in the future. Install your commercially acquired special wine cellar door to provide the insulation and air tight seal.