Need Help or Advice to Design or Build a Wine Cellar?

Whether you are designing and building a new home, or looking to convert an unused space, spare room or space under the stairs into a wine cellar, we can help. We work with your builder, architect or designer to ensure that you achieve a cellar that looks beautiful and performs its crucial role of protecting your wine collection.

The team at MacPhee’s has 18 years of experience in designing and building bespoke wine cellars. There are many technical aspects involved in building a cellar which need to be considered well before construction begins. Planning a wine cellar properly can avoid costly rework down the track.

If you would like to discuss your cellar project with us,
please email us or call us on 1800 733 621.

Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes

How much does it cost to build a cellar?

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Why underground is not always the best location for a cellar.

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Can I turn an existing room into a wine cellar?

Read More

Is climate controlling my cellar really necessary?

Read More

Can I build a cellar with glass walls to create a feature in the home?

Read More

Can I build a wine cellar under my stairs?

Read More

What do I need to know when selecting racking?

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Need inspiration? Here are some previously completed cellar projects.

Read More

Custom joinery vs modular systems. What are the Pros and Cons?

Read More

Who’s the best type of person to build and project manage my cellar?

Read More

What makes a good cellar?

Read More

Would a wine wall be a better solution than a wine cellar?

Read More

Which is the best climate control system for my wine cellar?

Read More

To find out the most common mistakes when building a cellar, download our ebook.


How much does it cost to build a cellar?

This is one of the most common questions to ask and of course there is not one definitive answer.  This will depend in a number of factors including the size and location of the space and the type of finishes and fittings selected. However as a guide, most cellars we see built cost between $15,000 – $30,000+.

Cost of main inclusions:

  • Climate control equipment: from $6,000
  • Insulation for ceiling, walls and floors: approx. $55 per m2
  • Glass (double glazed AND argon filled, with an energy or UV rating): approx. $850 – $1000 per m2 (plus frames and door hardware)
  • Wine racking systems: from $300 per m2 for proprietary systems, more for custom
  • Building and construction costs

Here are some examples:

ROOM CONVERSION: Estimated cost $36,000

MacPhees wine cellar before

  • Existing room.
  • Built stud walls for insulated plasterboard and to create cavity for cellar conditioner.
  • Installed double glazed, argon filled with UV coating windows and door for visual appeal.
MacPhees wine cellar before

  • Continuous, insulated plasterboard KingSpan K17 on walls and ceiling.
  • Incorporate 2 x penetrations for Inoa cellar conditioner air inlet and outlet.
MacPhees wine cellar before

  • Completed fit out.
  • Dark walls and minimal lighting inside cellar minimises UV heat and creates sophisticated ambience.
  • EuroCave racking systems combine oak and black steel.
  • Approximately 2,000 bottles

BASEMENT CELLAR: Estimated cost $27,000

MacPhees basement wine cellar before
MacPhees basement wine cellar before
MacPhees basement wine cellar before
MacPhees basement wine cellar before
  • Spare wall in living area.
  • Insulated area appropriately.
  • Allowed for space to duct Inoa cellar conditioner
  • Inset racking into wall for seamless aesthetics and stability.
  • Installed double glazed, argon filled with UV coating windows and door for visual appeal.
  • Utilised floor to ceiling mounted racks to display wine in front of glazing and maximise bottle capacity in the space.
  • Completed fit out with Vintage View and Bordex wine racking.
  • Filled with approximately 1,000 bottles of wine.

CELLAR UNDER STAIRS: Estimated cost $30,000 (includes high end custom joinery)

MacPhees understairs wine cellar before 1

Space under stairs filled with boxes of wine making it difficult to find individual bottles and risking ruining wine with no climate control.

MacPhees understairs wine cellar before 2

Allowances made to install climate control unit.

MacPhees under stairs wine cellar before 3

Insulated area and lined with timber for sophisticated aesthetics.

MacPhees understairs wine cellar before 4

Custom joinery designed and constructed to fill the unusual space.

MacPhees understairs wine cellar after

Transformation complete turning a dead space into a beautiful wine cellar for approximately 650 bottles.

WINE WALLS OR WINE ROOMS

EuroCave ShowCave Wine Cabinets in Hallway$24,395 for cabinets plus joinery

EuroCave_Pure_Wine_Cabinets_Fridges_Wine_Wall$32,380 for cabinetsplus joinery

EuroCave_Revelation_Wine_Cabinets_in_Wine_Room$61,050 for cabinets plus joinery

EuroCave_Wine_Cabinets_Fridges_Wine_Wall$97,580 for cabinets plus joinery

Our team can review your plans and provide you with customised advice.

Why underground is not always the best location for a cellar?

Wine requires a consistent temperature of 12-14°C to mature as the wine maker intended. Whilst traditional underground cellars in Europe have metres of earth protecting them around the perimeter and most importantly ABOVE the cellar, this is not the case for most wine cellars in Australia.

To build a cellar with the essential environment conditions required to protect wine, there are a lot of technical specifications and considerations. Sufficient insulation, protection from light and UV, correct cooling equipment and adequate ventilation to guard against musty smells and label damage are all requirements of a cellar.

Many underground cellars we’ve seen built have been done so using concrete or double brick and these do not provide sufficient insulation. In fact, these are very poor insulators and in the Australian climate, these materials can heat up and prevent the cellar from keeping to correct temperature. Even worse, these spaces often open into basement car parks and garages so the warm air comes straight in through the surrounding walls. Without proper insulation and climate control equipment, the end result will just be a “hot box” storage area, something that we see far too often.

Then there is the need climate control in the cellar. While some specialised climate control systems can utilise refrigerant piping or water coils for cooling purpose, most require some sort of ducting to an external area of the house or a large, well ventilated space. A standard air conditioner should not be used as they are not cold enough (often not operating below 18°C) and can reduce humidity which is detrimental to wine.

Having said all that, a cellar can be built almost anywhere in the home as long as it is built to specification including proper climate control and insulation.

So if you have your heart set on an underground cellar, don’t despair… but do talk to an expert during the planning stages. Achieving 14°C is never as easy as people think. Trying to retro fit insulation and a cellar conditioner after building the cellar can be a messy and costly process. Talking to a cellar expert upfront might save you and your clients money and pain down the track!

Basement_Wine_Room_with_EuroCave_Inoa_Cellar_Conditioner
MacPhees_climate_controlled_wine_cellar
Wine_Cellar_with_EuroCave_racking

Our team can review your plans and provide you with customised advice.

Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes

Enter your details below and we’ll email you a copy of the ‘Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes’ instantly

Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes

Can I turn an existing room into a wine cellar?

Yes, a cellar can be built almost anywhere in the home as long as:

  1. It is built to specification including correct insulation, glazing, lighting and so forth.
  2. It incorporates climate control equipment installed according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Private_Wine_Cellar_with_EuroCave_Cellar_Conditioner

Climate Control:
A wine cellar climate control system turns almost any space into a custom cellar by recreating the essential conditions required to mature your wine perfectly.Wine needs to be stored at the same consistent temperature of 12-14ᵒC, and a humidity level of 55% to 75%. Many people overlook the need for a cellar conditioner, however vast changes in temperature can be very detrimental to your wine collection. Selecting the correct climate control system will depend on the size of your cellar, its heat load, its location and the space available to install the unit and ducting appropriately.

Kinspan_Kooltherm_K17

Insulation:
All wall, floors and ceilings of the wine cellar must be insulated properly with approved materials such as Kingspan Kooltherm 17 and K3. Insulating only between stud walls is not sufficient as it must be continuous with no gaps. Any glazing MUST be double glazed with argon filled cavities and an energy or UV coating.

Ducting:
Each climate control system has different requirements for ducting. A through the wall unit and some ducted systems needs ducting which leads to outside or a well-ventilated space that is at least three times greater than the cellar. A split system needs a little ducting close to cellar but then uses refrigerant piping to connect to condenser positioned elsewhere in the home or outside. A water cooled unit requires access to a large body of water for cooling purposes. Any air ducting needs to be insulated and not exceed the recommended number of bends.

Our team can review your plans and provide you with customised advice

Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes

Enter your details below and we’ll email you a copy of the ‘Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes’ instantly

Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes

Is climate controlling my cellar really necessary?

The short answer to this is “YES” – If you want it to perform its crucial role of protecting your wine collection that is. Refer to Jancis Robinson, revered wine writer for over 30 years:

lefteris-kallergis

“Wine is relatively sensitive to storage conditions and is one of the very few consumer products that can improve with age” Jancis Robinson

Creating the perfect conditions for your wine cellar will ensure that your collection matures as the wine maker intended. We know from experience that there is no greater pleasure than opening a well cellared wine with some age that is “fresh” and lively rather than that dull sensation you can experience with poorly stored wine.

To climate control your cellar, a purpose designed cellar conditioner is required.Do not install a standard air conditioner as wine requires a consistent temperature of 12-14°C.A standard air conditioner is generally notcold enough (often not operating below 18°C) and can reduce humidity which is detrimental to wine.

A cellar conditioner can create 4 of the 5 essential conditions for a wine cellar, however, climate controlling your cellar takes more than just simply installing a wine cellar conditioner.

There are a lot of technical aspects that requireconsideration during the design and building stages of your project. Engaging the right people and planning a cellar properly can avoid costly reworking down the track.

The team at MacPhee’s has been involved in thousands of residential and commercial wine cellar projects for 18 years. We work with leading architects, builders and developers as well as home owners providing expertise and technical advice about the best, most effective cellar designs.

EuroCave_Inoa_Cellar_Conditioner_in_Wine_Cellar_Cropped
EuroCave_Inoa_Cellar_Conditioner_in_Wine_Cellar_Cropped

Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes

Enter your details below and we’ll email you a copy of the ‘Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes’ instantly

Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes

Can I build a cellar with glass walls to create a feature in the home?

Glass cellars make a spectacular feature in the home so it’s no wonder that many clients want to incorporate glass walls or doors in their cellar, particularly if it is positioned close to living areas.

eurocave-wine-cellar-conditioner-insitu
EuroCave_Glass_fronted_wine_cellar
MacPhees_glass_wine_cellar
MacPhees_basement_wine_cellar_before
Millesime-Custom-Wine-Rack
Millesime-Custom-Wine-Rack
Millesime-Custom-Wine-Rack
MacPhees_wine_cellar_in_showroom

You can absolutely build a cellar with glass walls or door but if you want it to maintain the essential environmental conditions to cellar your wine properly, there are some guidelines that you must consider upfront in the planning stages to ensure the effective operation of your cellar.

  1. Any glass walls or doors MUST be double glazed with argon filled cavities and an energy or UV coating.
  2. Any glass walls or doors will elevate the heat load in the cellar. The more glass used the higher the heat load and the harder the cellar conditioner needs to work. This will need to considered when deciding which climate control system is most suitable for you cellar.
  3. Other surfaces in the cellar (walls, doors, floors) must be insulated properly with approved products and be continuous, not just between studs.

The team at MacPhee’s has extensive experience wine cellars. We work with leading architects, builders and developers as well as home owners providing technical advice about designing and building a wine cellar.

Our team can review your plans and provide you with customised advice.

Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes

Enter your details below and we’ll email you a copy of the ‘Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes’ instantly

Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes

Can I build a wine cellar under the stairs?

When space is limited, building a wine cellar under the stairs can be an appealing option.Some important things to consider are:

  • Do you want the area to be climate controlled and if so, how will the area be insulated and ducted?
  • Vibrations can be detrimental to wine over long periods of time so consider where people walking on the stairs will have any sort of impact on the area below.
  • Consider your fit out carefully. To make the most of the space and maximise bottle capacity, a racking system which can be staggered on an angle (such as Bordex wine racking) may be best.
Wine Cellar Under Stairs
Wine Cellar Under Stairs

CASE STUDY:MacPhee’s designed, built and installed this climate controlled solid timber home wine cellar under an elaborate staircase in Sydney. Whilst the client was previously storing his wine by the case under this staircase, a number of cases had to be moved each time he needed to locate a particular bottle. MacPhee’s met the client’s request for access to as many individual bottles as possible whilst maximising the use of this unique space, using adjustable storage shelves for individual bottles, bins for multiple bottles and displays for special bottles. A small bench for opening and decanting wine was installed as well as a large roll out shelf at floor level for bulk cases to make use of an awkward angle.

Before

under stair wine cellar conversion
MacPhees_understairs_climate_controlled_cellar_before
MacPhees_understairs_climate_controlled_cellar_before

After

MacPhees_understairs_climate_controlled_cellar_before
MacPhees_understairs_climate_controlled_cellar_after
MacPhees_understairs_climate_controlled_cellar_after

Our team can review your plans and provide you with customised advice.

Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes

Enter your details below and we’ll email you a copy of the ‘Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes’ instantly

Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes

What do I need to know when selecting racking?

The best racking solution depends on your priorities. Here is a checklist of some things you should consider:

  • Do you want to maximise capacity with bulk storage or create a space where you can display your precious bottles?
  • Are you looking for a functional space to cellar your bottles or somewhere you can linger or entertain guests?
  • What sort of aesthetic are you looking to achieve? Do you prefer a modern look or a more traditional style cellar?
  • Do you want to mount your wine racks on the wall or does it need to be free standing or installed floor to ceiling?
  • Do you have any magnums in your wine collection that you need to provide space for?
Wine_cellar_with_EuroCave_Modulosteel_racking
EuroCave_Inoa_Cellar_Conditioner_in_Wine_Cellar
EuroCave_Modulotheque_Franch_Oak_Wine_Racking
Mckimm Exon

 

Then of course there is the question of budget. Having custom joinery designed and built can be expensive so luckily, there are plenty of modular racking systems that can be customised to fit almost any space and be personalised with finishes.

Metal wine racks are usually available in a number of options such as silver or black, and some timber wine racks can be stained to complement the fit out.

For a more comprehensive list of things to consider, download our e-book now…

Selecting wine racking ebook download

Enter your details below and we’ll email you a copy of the ‘Designing or Building a Wine Cellar’ instantly

Selecting Wine Racking For Your Cellar

Our team can review your plans and provide you with customised advice.

Need Inspiration? Here are some previously completed cellar projects.

Our team can review your plans and provide you with customised advice or for more inspiration, visit our Photo Gallery.

Custom joinery vs modular systems. What are the pros and cons?

Custom Joinery
PROS

  • Totally customisable.
  • Can be designed and built to fit any space.
  • Possible to construct with materials used elsewhere in the home for visual continuity.
MacPhees_custom_build_cellar_with_inoa_cellar_conditioner
CONS

  • Can be very expensive.
  • Can be a more time consuming process.
  • Not always designed and built by wine storage experts who know what you need.
MacPhees_wine_cellar_with_custom_racking
Modular Systems
PROS

  • A more affordable option.
  • Will fit most spaces.
  • Wide variety of options available and many can be personalised with finishes.
  • Can try before you buy and see what you’re getting ahead of time.
Millesime-Custom-Wine-Rack
CONS

  • Can personalise but only to a limit.
EuroCave_Modulotheque_Franch_Oak_Wine_Racking

For a comprehensive list of things to consider when selecting racking, download our e-book now…

Selecting wine racking ebook download

Our team can review your plans and provide you with customised advice.

Who is the best person to build and project manage my wine cellar?

Designing and building a cellar has a lot of technical aspects that require consideration. It is an area that requires specialist knowledge that architects, designers and builders don’t always have. Likewise, a traditional air conditioning installer does not always have experience with wine cellars, which need to deliver the five essential environmental conditions required to cellar wine properly, not just a cold environment.

If you are planning a cellar in your home, it is critical that you get the right advice up front. In our 18 years of experience, the most successful wine cellar projects are those designed and built by a team that has worked closely with our team of wine cellar experts and followed our advice regarding building materials, insulation, ducting, cooling equipment and so forth.

The end result is a wine cellar that not only looks amazing also performs its important role of protecting your wine.

Wine_Cellar_plans
EuroCave_wine_cellar_conditionser_installation
MacPhees_climate_controlled_wine_cellar

Our team can review your plans and provide you with customised advice.

Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes

Enter your details below and we’ll email you a copy of the ‘Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes’ instantly

Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes

What makes a good cellar?

From a functional perspective, a good cellar must deliver the following five essential environmental conditions:

  1. Consistent, low temperature(12-14°C ideal)
  2. High humidity(55-75% ideal)
  3. Fresh airflow
  4. Minimal vibration
  5. Heat and UV free lighting

To achieve these conditions, a wine cellar needs the correct climate control equipment and insulation which our team can help you with. Of course, if you are investing the time, effort and money to build a wine cellar in your home, then you also want to love the space, to feel joy every time you walk past the space or open the door to enter. This is a more subjective measurement but here are some things to consider:

  • Do you want the area to be visible from the living space?
  • What sort of aesthetic appeals to you and what will complement the style of your home?
  • Do you want to use the cellar purely to store wine longer term or do you want to entertain in it, taking friends there for tasting?
  • Do you tend to buy wine in bulk or collect individual bottles along the way?
  • Do you want to maximise capacity or is it more important to display wine?
Wine_Cellar_with_EuroCave_racking
Mckimm Exon
eurocave-wine-cellar-conditioner-insitu
Wine_cellar_with_EuroCave_Modulosteel_racking

Our team can review your plans and provide you with customised advice.

For a more comprehensive list of things to consider, download our e-books

Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes

Enter your details below and we’ll email you a copy of the ‘Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes’ instantly

Avoid Wine Cellar Mistakes

Selecting wine racking ebook download

Would a wine wall be a better solution than a wine cellar?

Sometimes a cellar is not the best option to store your wine collection. Ask yourself, what do you want to use the space for? Is it purely for the storage of wine, or are you wanting to create an entertaining / tasting area? Are you planning to cellar your wine for longer term or do you want to have wine close at hand and ready to service at ideal drinking temperature? What space do you have available for the cellar?

A “wine wall” created with multiple wine cabinets is a great alternative depending on your needs.

EuroCave_Pure_Wine_Cabinets_Fridges_Wine_Wall
EuroCave_Revelation_Wine_Cabinets_in_Wine_Room_Credit_Andrew_Hobbs_Photography
EuroCave_ShowCave_Wine_Cabinets_Wall_Private_Residence
EuroCave_Wine_Cabinets_Dining_Room_by_CoLAB_ORIGINAL

These are some of the benefits of a wine wall.

  • There are less technical considerations and space required for a wine wall. There no need to do any building works unless you want to integrate wine cabinets and there is no need to worry about insulation, ducting through wall or treatment of condensation… simply plug the wine cabinets into a powerpoint and you’re set.
  • Wine cabinets or fridges can be integrated into joinery into any part of the home. You can also incorporate a bar area for glassware, decanters and so forth into the joinery.
  • The room will remain at ambient temperature making a wine wall or wine tasting room a more comfortable option if you want to enjoy the space by entertaining near your wine. The low temperature required to cellar wine is restricted to the inside of cabinet (not the whole room).
  • Wine cabinets can provide easier access to wine bottles so you and your guests can easily go through your collection to select a bottle. Including a multiple temperature cabinet means you can keep various wine varietals at ideal drinking temperature, ready to serve.
  • Wine cabinets are generally more energy efficient costing as low as $20 per annum to run.
  • No annual servicing/maintenance by a qualified refrigeration mechanic required.
  • You have the ability to relocate / move cabinets in the future if you move home.

The MacPhee’s team is the exclusive distributor within Australia for EuroCave, inventor of the wine cabinet and world leader in wine storage, service and preservation equipment.

EuroCave invests significantly into research and development. EuroCave wine cabinets offer leading technology and are made to exacting standards with no plastic interiors, low noise levels, enviable energy efficiency ratings and quality, luxurious finishes. To find out more, click “More Info Wine Cabinets” to be redirected to the EuroCave website.

Our team can review your plans and provide you with customised advice.

Which is the best climate control system for my wine cellar?

When selecting which climate control system will be the most appropriate for your wine cellar, there are three key questions you must ask yourself:

  • What is the size of my cellar?
    You must select a unit that is suitable for the cubic space of your cellar.
  • What is the heat load of my cellar?
    This will vary depending on the materials used to build cellar, the size of it and any other heat generating equipment in the cellar.
  • How much space is available for the unit and for ducting?
    Consider whether you want equipment to sit in the cellar, adjacent or even in the ceiling or bulkhead. Also, what space is available for ducting. Here is a summary of the different types of climate control systems available:

Through the Wall Systems

Through Wall Systems

  • Self contained unit to be mount inside cellar or directly outside cellar (in wall, adjacent room or outside undercover).
  • (Air) ducting from unit to exterior or large well ventilated space.

Ducted Systems – Air Cooled

ducted system

  • Self contained unit that can be located in ceiling, bulkhead or up to 8m away from cellar.
  • (Air) ducting from cellar to unit and unit to outside (or large room).

Split Systems

split system climate control

  • Evaporator and Condenser.
  • Evaporator can be located in ceiling, bulkhead or up to 8m away from cellar.
  • Condenser can be located anywhere in home or outside.
  • (Air) ducting from cellar to Evaporator. Refrigerant piping from Evaporator to Condenser.

Ducted Systems – Water Cooled

 Water cooled system

  • Self contained unit that relies on constant source of water (tank or pool) for cooling.
  • Can be located in ceiling, bulkhead or up to 8m away from cellar.
  • (Air) ducting from cellar to unit and specialised water coil from unit to outside.

Our team can review your plans and provide you with customised advice