Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Do I Need a Wine Cellar? - By John Seitz the Master Wine Cellar Builder

“What is a wine cellar and why do I want one?”

  A lot of people think that a bottle of wine can be kept in your kitchen cabinets and let it go. The temperature in a home tends to be around 70 degrees. Temperatures that fluctuate more than 6-7 degrees could ruin that great bottle of wine. The cork could expand and contract to let air in, oxidizing the wine. Leave a bottle of wine in a room with a temperature of over 72 degrees and you could certainly have a bottle of vinegar. So if you intend to keep wines for more than six months, you should look into some kind of long term storage. Keeping your wines in cooler environment shouldn’t hurt your wines over a short period of time.

If you think you only need a 700 bottle wine cellar, double the numbers, even triple your thought process. When you have a wine cellar, it always seems that some of your friends bring back wines when they take those trips to the wineries. When having a wine cellar, you are now able to purchase a case or two instead of just a bottle or two. Building a wine cellar to small, you will be back to the original question, “What do I do with all this wine?

Can I store my wine in a dark place in the basement?

This is not a good idea at all. Depending on where you live in the country, too much humidity or not enough humidity could hurt your wine. The amount of light could make a difference also. And of course the temperature variation would affect the wine. So the answer to this question would be definitely not.

Where will I build my cellar?

Having a place to build a wine cellar is another question you should ask yourself. Do you have a place that the vibration, or noise could be at a minimum? Can you insulate and vapor barrier all sides of your new wine cellar? Do I want to make the investment of a wine cellar? You don't need a ballroom for a wine cellar/room. I have installed racking under a stairway. Do you go with your local contractor or do you go with a racking company?

Who is going to build your racking?

Do you go with your local contractor or do you go with a racking company? A good carpenter could certainly build your racks. But, how much will it cost you to do this? The carpenter has to have a plan. Who or where will he get this plan? These are questions that you need to ask yourself before you start your wine cellar. If you go to a specialist in the wine cellar field, your money would be a lot better spent. They know the how’s, why’s, and any other question you might have for them!

Racking is also a very important visual factor in your new wine cellar.  So you really want to know where the racking came from. You want to have different racking, not only for visual, but for storage. Once you walk in your new wine cellar, do you want to see only racking or do you want to see an arch with lights, maybe focusing on your favorite piece of art? Maybe your thoughts go to a stemware rack, showing off your great crystal collection. Whatever your dreams are, don’t let your decision be made by the cheapest price!

Can I afford a wine cellar?

A wine cellar is only for those that are well off! This is very much of a myth. Wine cellars are for all wine lovers. No one should be denied this pleasure. The cost of a wine cellar could range from the low $10,000.00 to
whatever you want to. The build your own wine cellars could only set you back as little as $4,000.00. Then there is just a wine room (not temperature controlled), this could even be lower. So the price could vary and you really could afford this luxury that was set aside for only the fortunate few.

 Your wine cellar should be a place of refuge, a place to relax and immerse yourself in a thing of beauty. And when it's built right, it can be an entertaining and charming feature of your home. Here you can let your wines mature to a great taste. Have those wines handy for all those special occasions. This is also a place that you can invite your friends and family to share in those great wines. When your friends enter your wine cellar for the first time, they should be amazed. I never thought it would be this beautiful. Those are the words I always want to hear from my customers.

As I leave you, remember there is one thing to remember

"Never drink great wine out of a Dixie cup"

John Seitz

Master Wine Cellar Builder

The Magnum Company Inc

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wine Crates: Investment or Accessory? - Portchester, NY March 8th 2012 – There’s nothing quite like the vintage appeal of a wine crate. Wine crates add charm to wine cellars yearning for a twist of authenticity.
In the last 10 years the United States has been severely affected by the “wine bug”. Sales of fine wine are up an average of 12% every year, even in a down economy. The US has dramatically changed its relationship to wine.

As we’ve moved from Budweiser to Chateau Beychevelle, a new playground for the affluent has emerged: The private wine cellar. This has become a place that’s not for just storing wine anymore. Gone are the days of endless rows filled with wine bottles in a dull cave-like structure. The modern wine cellar has become a haven for social gatherings where rare wine bottles are opened, chats about the future take place, old friends are cherished and new friends are made. The modern wine cellar is often two or more rooms; One is 58 degrees for the wine, and the others are cozy with plush amenities for the enjoyment of company.

This evolution of the wine cellar has spurned an entire industry catering to its beautification. There are wine cellar designers, architects, builders and interior decorators all specializing in creating the perfect wine cellar for you. With the wine cellar creators comes the wine cellar accessories, and we all love those!

Introducing the original wooden wine crate -

Wine crates are the staple of any wine cellar. There are different sizes and styles that can fit anywhere. Wineries all over the world make them, and each country makes them a little differently. High-end wineries craft them to protect their most valuable wines. Most wine crates are branded with the logo of the winery that made them, and that logo is likely to be hundreds of years old (If not thousands). Wine crates were mankind’s first packaging type, so many of these logo designs represent very ancient artwork.

The beauty part about wine crates is they serve two décor enhancing purposes: They’re made specifically to store wine, and the logo designs make for very eye-catching show pieces. They also serve another little known purpose: Wine crates are an investment.

If you have a collection of fine wine from the same winery and vintage, you need the wine’s original crate. This is because wine sold in its original crate yields 10% – 15% more at auction. This is a substantial premium!

Looking to sell a house? A wine cellar increases the value of a home as an addition. More people are drinking wine, so a wine cellar can be a major reason to buy a home. Home stagers have picked up on this trend, and are using wine crates to fill-in areas of a house that look too plain.

Wine crates themselves are an investment. In the last 8 years we’ve witnessed a triple in price for original wine crates. This is thanks in part to four reasons:

·         Original wine crates were built to last for generations

·         90% of the world’s wineries are using cardboard boxes and making less wooden wine crates. Within the next 10 years it will be nearly impossible to acquire them

·         Fine wine stores, investors and collectors realize the value of original wine crates, and they’re utilizing them for storage and display

·         Wineries that produce very expensive wines only produce 5 – 10 thousand cases of wine per vintage (one case is either 6 or 12 bottles of wine). Half of those wine bottles are purchased before the vintage is even introduced to the public. This means that wine crate production is very limited every year.

There’s already a major shift happening with fine wine makers and wine crates. We can see this most in Napa Valley. The vast majority of Napa winemakers are using cardboard boxes as an economical alternative to wooden wine crates. While this option is cheaper in the short-term, it does carry a grave disadvantage: The wine itself will be viewed as cheaper as well.

The smart higher-end Napa wineries such as Screaming Eagle, Harlan Estate and Hundred Acre realize this and continue production of their signature wine crates. The end result has been higher dollars per wine bottle and a cult following of loyal collectors and investors. In the end these wineries produce less and make more. I strongly believe that wooden wine crates contribute greatly to the success of a wine maker.

Whether accessory, investment or both, the wine crate has proven itself time and again to be the best way to keep fine wine. For the last thousand years no packaging has ever truly replaced it, and our appreciation for the wine crate has never been quantified.

Specializing in unique wine cellar decoration and home décor. Winepine offers the world’s finest original wine crates, wooden wine boxes and wine crate panels. We also custom make wine crates and boxes personalized with your artwork or logo.

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