San Francisco – Wine Cellars

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28 Woodland Avenue
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 868-5907
(877) 312-1254

Serving the Bay Area

Services include Air Conditioning, Commercial Refrigeration, Free Cellar Design, Preventive Maintenance, Wine Cellar Cooling Systems, Wine Cellar Racks. Brands include .
License 557298 | DCID4154535758
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Why Trust Diamond Certified Wine Cellar Companies Rated Highest in Quality?

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a wine cellar company that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified wine cellar contractor. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated wine cellar company and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you'll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you'll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

How to Choose
What to Do When You Want to Build a Wine Cellar in San Francisco

Your wine collection is growing, and you’ve got some great bottles that are not yet ready to drink, so you’re considering a wine cellar to store them all. No matter where you live in San Francisco, you have easy access to lots of good wine....

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Your wine collection is growing, and you’ve got some great bottles that are not yet ready to drink, so you’re considering a wine cellar to store them all. No matter where you live in San Francisco, you have easy access to lots of good wine.

The idea of a wine cellar can be daunting- what all is involved in a wine cellar? Can I do it by myself or do I need professionals to help build it? How much will it cost? Those are some questions that come to mind as you start to consider whether you will actually build a wine cellar.

The term wine cellar is applied broadly to different things. We’ll be focusing here on wine cellars, or more broadly, wine rooms. Wine cellars, or wine rooms, can be installed almost anywhere in the house. So we’ll be talking about wine cellars that are not necessarily underground. Some also refer to the wine cellar as a “wine vault,” perhaps because there’s some precious stuff saved in there.

You should be able to get a better understanding of what a wine cellar might entail from the articles below. We’ll be looking at residential wine cellars. However, keep in mind that the same San Francisco wine room builders who offer home wine cellar design services also often offer commercial wine room building services.

Why Are There so Many Kinds of Wine Cellars in San Francisco?
Some companies sell what they call stand-alone wine cellars, which are typically big cabinet-like structures that store wine. These structures are also called wine refrigerators. Wine refrigerators, also called wine coolers, come in many sizes, holding anything from a few bottles to dozens of bottles. A wine chiller is a smaller device that is used to bring a bottle of wine to the correct drinking temperature. There is sometimes some confusion or overlap, since wine refrigerators may also hold wines at certain temperatures – chilling them, in effect.

As you shop in San Francisco, whether in the Sunset District, the Richmond District, Bernal Heights, the Mission District, or the Tenderloin, you’ll find plenty to consider. We’ll take a quick look at wine refrigerators, even though they are not our main focus.

There are two primary technologies for wine refrigerators. Compressor-based technology uses a method similar to that used in a kitchen refrigerator. Liquid changes to gas and back again, and this is combined with evaporation to produce cool-to-cold air. The other technology is thermoelectric in which a hot and a cold element exist, with the heat being transferred away from the cold side.

Thermoelectric wine refrigerators generally use less energy and have fewer moving parts. However, they can be less than efficient when the temperature is more than 80 degrees, and they cool only to about 50 degrees. They can also be less efficient at handling large numbers of bottles.

Compressor-based wine coolers typically can chill a larger number of bottles. Compressor-based wine coolers or wine refrigerators are sometimes criticized for having vibrations due to the moving parts. There have been no scientific studies to prove the point, but it’s something of a commonplace that fewer vibrations are better for your wine, since there’s less chance of disturbing the sediment and more chance of keeping the wine as clear as possible. Top-line compressor-based products will often offer vibration-suppression technology.

Wine chilling systems must provide more humidity than normal kitchen refrigerators. Wine must be stored with a relative humidity of about 55% to 75%, while the standard refrigerator has a relative humidity of about 20%. The humidity is required to keep the cork moist. If the cork dries out, it contracts and allows oxygen into the wine, along with any smells that might be around. For this reason, some even recommend that you only use a wine chiller to bring your wine to the correct temperature – so that you don’t place your wine in a standard refrigerator at all.

How Can I Tell the Difference?
A wine refrigerator or a wine cooler is a place to keep wines handy for drinking. Wines should not be stored in a wine refrigerator for more than a year.

A wine cellar is designed to be a place where wines can age over time.

Some manufacturers sell free-standing or standalone wine refrigerators and call them wine cellars. If you are contemplating a standalone wine cellar or buying a kit that lets you assemble a standalone wine cellar, be sure to ask if the wine cellar is designed for long-term wine storage. Wine refrigerators do fail. This failure is significant because one of the keys to storing and aging wine is ensuring that temperature does not fluctuate significantly. Wine stored in a failed wine refrigerator is at risk of changing temperatures drastically before you can replace the storage. It’s important to note that many wine refrigerators have warranties that last only a year. Some have slightly longer warranties that cover certain parts for up to five years. Be sure to ask any vendor of standalone wine cellars about how long their warranties last, known failure rates, and whether wine can be successfully stored for the long term.

Building an Actual Wine Cellar in San Francisco
So, you are going to build an actual walk-in wine cellar. Just to be clear, your wine cellar is a room anywhere in your house – not necessarily the basement or underground.

Wine needs cool and moist conditions, so look for the place in your house that is already the most cool and moist. Find such a space will also help reduce energy costs. Also take into account where you will be venting your wine cellar. We’ll discuss chilling systems in a bit, but every wine cellar chilling system needs a place to vent hot air. If the exhaust is going into another room in your house, then that room will need both a fan and a vent of its own so that it can move air around the room and out of the house.

Wine cellar designs can be found online or you can work with stores to create a design.You can find do-it-yourself wine cellar building kits or you can look for wine cellar plans. Custom wine cellar plans are available from a number of vendors. Many vendors will work with you on designs as part of the process of preparing a quote for you. As you design your room, you’ll have to decide what you want it to do for you.

Are you looking only for a place to store wine or do you want to be social in the space, to host tastings, for example? Size your wine cellar depending on the size of the collection you have and how big you want to build that collection. Often, if you can build a bit bigger than you first think, you’ll have a better fit over the long run. But don’t think you need huge spaces – wine aficionados have built wine cellars in apartments.

Building Out an Actual Wine Cellar in San Francisco
You’ll need some basic knowledge to build your wine cellar or supervise the people who build it. Whether you do the work yourself or hire someone, of course you should start with the proper permits for your local city or area. Your construction will also need to comply with state, national, and federal building codes.

A wine cellar will have much higher humidity than the rest of your house, so the construction must take the additional humidity into account to avoid mold growing or any rot setting in. For this reason, the vapor barrier and insulation are particularly important. Typically, you have a choice of insulation methods. One method of insulation consists of the combination of a 6 mil vapor barrier and insulation batting. The other method is spray foam insulation.

When using the vapor barrier and fiberglass batting method, you’ll have to wrap the wall studs and joists in the vapor barrier. Be sure you check the codes for the proper application of the vapor barrier – sometimes codes require that the barrier be placed on a certain side of the wine cellar, often what is called the warm, or exterior, side of the cellar. When placing the batting, be sure there are no air pockets. As you wrap the studs and ceiling joists, you’ll want to leave sufficient vapor barrier material at the corners so you can overlap and tape the corners off. Fill any holes in the joists or studs with sealant rated for fire protection. This will reduce air movement. Spray foam is more expensive, but if you use a closed cell, non-shrinking spray foam, then there is no risk of a vapor barrier being punctured by a nail, screw, or other implement as electrical or other lines are placed in the wine cellar.

Make sure the proper utility lines are present or plan to install them – you will definitely need electricity and perhaps water lines. You may also need to install lines to allow condensation to drain out, a water line so that any devices you install can keep the area humid. Depending on the type and complexity of the cooling unit you choose, you may also need line voltage, ducting, and control wires, for example to manage alarms. You should carefully check with your wine chilling company to see what kind of supply lines and drain lines are needed. For many more complicated things, such as ducting, it’s often mandatory that licensed heating, air conditioning, and ventilation personnel install them.

Wine cellar construction is a bit different from standard construction. Often the walls and ceiling are covered with green board, which is water-resistant drywall. This kind of drywall is used normally in kitchens and bathrooms, or any place with the potential for high humidity. It’s specifically recommended that you use screws to attach the drywall. Also, make sure the green board goes all the way down to the floor. More standard construction sometimes leaves gaps on the assumption they will be covered by molding.

In a wine cellar, the molding goes on the front of the wine racks, so the drywall must go all the way down to the ground. Obviously, this means that you should not place molding against the drywall, as this will prevent the racks from sitting flush with the wall. Again, when painting the drywall, be sure the paint extends all the way down to the floor – you don’t want to see any gaps if that particular area doesn’t happen to be covered by a wine rack.

Alternatively, you may choose to install tongue and groove material on your walls and ceiling. Use screws to install marine-grade plywood on the walls or ceiling. The tongue and groove material is then attached to the marine plywood. The tongue and groove material may be designed to complement your choices of wood, lacquer, or stain used on your wine racks. Wine cellar ceilings can also incorporate many sophisticated looks, such as raised panels. These don’t directly affect the insulation quality in the wine cellar but are design options available.

Humidity can affect your choice of floor and floor covering. Rugs and carpets are not likely to withstand humidity well. Vinyl does not last very long in high humidity because the mastic holding it to the under floor will never completely dry and the vinyl can buckle and move. Common floorings are tiles, cork, or hardwood. Some wine cellar builders even offer reclaimed wood from wine barrels as an option. You can have a concrete floor, as long as it is sealed. Within the constraints placed by humidity, your choice of finishing materials is dictated by your design sense.

Your wine cellar door can be elaborately decorated or simple, glass or wood, but it must be an exterior grade door, not an interior one. Use weather-stripping to seal three sides of the door and install a threshold and door sweep at the bottom of the door. These steps are required to seal in the coolness and humidity you are trying to achieve in your wine cellar. Doors are offered in several materials, including wood and glass. Glass doors should be thermopaned, again to support the conditions in the wine cellar and prevent condensation.

Keeping Your San Francisco Wine Cellar Chilled
Your wine cellar needs to keep your wine between 55-58 degrees, and you’ll need a wine cooling unit to maintain the temperature. Some units also have the capacity to monitor and manage the humidity in the cellar, so if you don’t have other ways to regulate the humidity, ask about such units.

Some cooling units can only regulate temperatures relative to the surrounding atmosphere. This is important because if you live in very hot climates or you are venting to a room that does not cool off, then the unit will not be able to reach the desired temperature, will run continually and will risk freezing or premature collapse.

For example, some units can only reduce the temperature by 30 degrees. Suppose you set such a wine cooling unit to 55 degrees. If you vent into a room with no air movement and no venting, that room’s temperature can rise. If it rises past 85 degrees, the cooling unit will not be able to reduce the temperature in the cellar to 55 degrees and will keep on running. Be sure to check for this kind of relative temperature behavior when you choose your unit, keeping in mind the conditions in your home.

You will find three main types of cooling units. The self-contained or through-the-wall unit sits, as you might expect, in the wall of your wine cellar. It is one of the easiest to install and does not require help from professional heating, air conditioning and ventilation (HVAC) professionals. It pulls hotter air from the wine cellar and exhausts it into another room or area close to the wine cellar. It’s important that the area that the through-the-wall cooler exhausts into has its own way of moving air through the room and venting the air out. Otherwise heat will build up in the exhaust area.

Some through-the-wall units can exhaust outside, but you should ask carefully whether the unit supports this function. Also consider how hot the outside is. If the outside rises well above the temperature you want to keep in the cellar, you may run into the relative heat limitation discussed previously. If the through-the-wall cooler is outside, it must be protected from rain and sun. Some choose not to use a through-the-wall system because they are comparatively noisy and may not match the décor of the wine cellar they are in.

The second type of cooling unit is a ducted unit, which requires air ducts installed in the house or added with the cooling unit to pull in and exhaust air. You’ll need an inflow duct to send cool air to the wine cellar and an exhaust duct to direct the hot air outside. There are limitations on how far the ducting can extend, so be sure to check if the ducts you have or install are close enough. Some prefer a ducted system because noise can be greatly reduced depending on installation, and the ducts themselves can be hidden, rather than having a presence in the room. When you buy a ducted system, be sure you know how many feet of ducting the system supports –for example, can the ducting be no longer than 25 feet to ensure proper functioning?

The third kind of cooling unit is a split system, which requires a licensed professional to install it. In a split system, the evaporator part of the system is placed in the cellar, or nearby. The condenser part of the system, which is the noisy part of the system and the part that needs to dissipate the heat, is placed away from the cellar.

No matter which kind of cooling unit you decide on, your dealer should be able to show you the unit’s specifications. You’ll need to know its cooling volume – you’ll need greater cooling capacity for more bottles and more space. You will also probably want to check into the decibel measurements of the noise that the unit generates. You’ll want to look for reliable units. Remember that one of the ultimate goals of your wine cellar is to store wines so they can age with as little temperature fluctuation as possible.

Adding Décor to Your San Francisco Wine Cellar
Once the construction decisions are made, you can decide on furnishings, which center around lighting and racking.

Racking, or wine racks, are wine storage containers that hold each bottle in its own niche. You’ll probably be able to choose between metal or wire racks and wood racks. Wood racks – often mahogany or pine – are preferred because they don’t tend to scratch the wine bottles or mar the labels the way metal racks can. Also, metal can bend over time. Individual racking for each bottle is recommended over bin racking. In a bin, the bottles rest on each other, again raising the possibility of scratching or tearing the label.

Choosing the right size rack is also important, since bottles come in different sizes and styles. Much wine comes in Bordeaux-shaped bottles, but Pinot Noir and other varietals also come in longer bottles. Universal racking can cover this contingency, but it takes more space. Also, consider how many big bottles you want to store. Do you want to keep a jeroboam of champagne or two? Oversized bottles are fun and gaining in popularity. In addition, you might have special bottles you want to show off, in which case display shelves can allow you to set off a particular bottle or two.

Lighting options are pretty much unlimited in a wine cellar. Some believe that UV lighting might affect wine adversely over the long term, so some advise that it not be used in a wine cellar. There’s no proof one way or the other, but don’t be surprised to encounter this advice. If you are going for can lighting, be sure the cans are thermally fused – also called IC rated cans. Sellers also commonly offer back lighting for racks and spotlights for end displays. You’ll want to check that the electrical power in the wine cellar can support all the lighting you decide to incorporate.

If you are using the cellar as a tasting room, you might want to include a table and chairs. You might want to install a fountain if you need additional humidity beyond that provided by any systems you install. Tiles, mirrors, and other decorative objects are available, so your décor can be as elaborate as you like. Remember that the air is extra moist if you choose furniture to go in your wine cellar. You can even install windows, though again, thermopanes would be needed to keep the humidity in the right state.

You can go green in your wine cellar construction as well as in other areas. In the wine cellar, this typically means using paints on the walls and ceilings that are water-based and do not have volatile organic compounds (VOCs) Similarly, any stains or lacquers used on woods would not contain VOCs. In your timeline for building your cellar, remember to include time to air out the cellar after any painting or staining or similar activity. Not only do you not enjoy the fumes, but you also don’t want them getting into your wine at all.

If you want to computerize your cellar, you can find software programs to manage your collection. Typically, they let you enter data about a bottle such as date of purchase, number of bottles, and the like. Tasting notes and the ability to scan the label are often included. Some come with databases of material that can supply additional information about your bottle. Some allow you to create bar code labels for each of your bottles.

What If a Wine Cellar is Too Much for Me?
You can find wine storage facilities that will store your wine for a fee. The storage facilities should be temperature and humidity controlled. You should also look for secure access – you and storage facility personnel should be the only ones who can access your wine.

Some facilities will pick up wine for you, sometimes for a fee. The fee may be waived for large loads. Storage is often in cardboard boxes with dividers keeping the wine bottles separate. Fees may be by case or by pallet. You may have to share a pallet if you don’t store enough wine yourself.

Ask the facility about picking – do you get to pick your own wine when you want? Or do employees pick for you? Some of the storage facilities also buy and sell wine.

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Know What You Want
Getting Ready to Build a Wine Cellar in San Francisco

Even thinking about adding a wine cellar in San Francisco is enough to get your thoughts spinning. Many companies offer services to help you through the process, including plans and designs that help you both design your wine cellar and spec out the quote.

You’ll have to decide at what point you want to engage these wine cellar specialists. Will they build the cellar themselves? Will you renovate an area in your house, then have someone install racking? There are so many different choices....

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Even thinking about adding a wine cellar in San Francisco is enough to get your thoughts spinning. Many companies offer services to help you through the process, including plans and designs that help you both design your wine cellar and spec out the quote.

You’ll have to decide at what point you want to engage these wine cellar specialists. Will they build the cellar themselves? Will you renovate an area in your house, then have someone install racking? There are so many different choices.

To help you evaluate who you’ll work with, it’s a good idea to have some questions prepared. That way, even when you get sidetracked by discussions, you’ll have to same set of questions to ask each one.

These questions will also help you outline exactly what you’re looking for in a wine cellar:

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified wine storage company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  • Where in my house will I put my wine cellar?
  • Do I want a free standing wine cellar or a built-in wine room?
  • Do I want to keep wine over time to age or do I want to store some bottles for about a year so that they are always ready for drinking?
  • Do I have ducting or want to install ducting?
  • Do I have oversize or unusual bottle shapes? How many? Do I plan to increase the number?
  • Do I have electrical wiring, drain lines, or water lines in the area where I want to put my wine cellar?
  • What are the heat and humidity conditions around my house year round? How hot does it get at the hottest?
  • Do I have an area adjacent to my proposed wine cellar where I can vent hot air?
  • How big is the space where I am planning to put my wine cellar?
  • How big is my collection of wine and how much do I plan to add to it?
  • What’s important to me- do I want to store wine without scratching the bottle or tearing the label, or do I want to focus on having the most bottles in the smallest space?
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What to Ask on the Phone
Using the Phone to Interview Your San Francisco Wine Cellar Vendor

You can start by evaluating wine cellar vendors on the phone. You’ll get a good feel for the kind of services offered, what their customer service is like, and an overall feeling for whether they are someone you want to proceed with.

It’s a good idea to ask the same questions of everyone so you can really compare apples to apples with the answers. Keep in mind, questions may vary depending on what exactly you are looking for. ...

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You can start by evaluating wine cellar vendors on the phone. You’ll get a good feel for the kind of services offered, what their customer service is like, and an overall feeling for whether they are someone you want to proceed with.

It’s a good idea to ask the same questions of everyone so you can really compare apples to apples with the answers. Keep in mind, questions may vary depending on what exactly you are looking for.

  • Has your wine room construction company earned and maintained a Diamond Certified rating?
  • What kind of wine storage racking is available and what do you recommend?
  • Can you help me build my new wine cellar from the ground up? Who will do the actual building and how do you manage the relationship if you do not build it yourself?
  • What kind of woods do you offer for racking?
  • Can you advise on the proper cooling unit for my home wine cellar? Do you work with any particular brand or do you recommend all brands?
  • I want to build a wine cellar. Can you tell me what size wine cellars you have built in the past? Do you specialize in large spaces? In small spaces?
  • I am planning on renovating part of my house for the wine cellar – can you tell me what kind of special preparation I might need for the high humidity of a wine cellar?
  • Can you help me with designs for my wine cellar? If so, what kind of services do you offer and what are the costs?
  • What can you recommend for racking my particular wine collection? (My collection includes oversize bottles, Pinot Noir, etc.)
  • Do you have any lighting recommendations for my wine cellar? Is any kind of lighting better than another?
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What to Ask in Person
Getting to Know Your San Francisco Wine Cellar Vendor In Person

Once you’ve determined your most interesting options, you’ll be taking off for the Mission District, the Sunset District, Bernal Heights, the Tenderloin, the Richmond District, North Beach, the Bayview District, or wherever the best possibilities lie. Once you get there, you’ll be able to get more detailed information out of the wine cellar vendors. Again, it will help if you have a list of prepared questions so that you can approach your vetting in a uniform way. Below are some questions you might want to ask in person:...

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Once you’ve determined your most interesting options, you’ll be taking off for the Mission District, the Sunset District, Bernal Heights, the Tenderloin, the Richmond District, North Beach, the Bayview District, or wherever the best possibilities lie. Once you get there, you’ll be able to get more detailed information out of the wine cellar vendors. Again, it will help if you have a list of prepared questions so that you can approach your vetting in a uniform way. Below are some questions you might want to ask in person:

  • What kind of stains and lacquers do you use on your wooden wine racks? Are they water based with few VOCs, or are they oil-based?
  • Can you show me different lighting styles you have implemented? (spot lights for specific wine bottles, back lighting for racks, overhead lighting)
  • Can you show me examples of previous wine cellars you have built?
  • Who on your staff will help me design my wine cellar?
  • Can you show me some samples of the rackings you offer? What kinds of woods and finishes are available?
  • How long will it take to design my wine cellar if I work with you?
  • Can I see different design styles you have built?
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What to Ask References
Questions for References of Wine Cellar Builders in San Francisco

It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified wine cellar vendor because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality from a wine cellar vendor in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews....

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It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified wine cellar vendor because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality from a wine cellar vendor in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews. That’s because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

If you can’t find a Diamond Certified wine cellar vendor within reach, you’ll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it’s wise to call some references provided by your wine cellar vendors. Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the wine cellars are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. So the contractors will likely give you a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.

If you do call references on your own, specifically ask for a list of the company’s 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied.

  • Are you having any difficulty maintaining the proper humidity? Do you use a fountain for humidity or does your cooling unit monitor and manage humidity along with temperature?
  • How much of the cellar design did you do and how much did the vendor do? Were you satisfied with the ratio?
  • Was your wine cellar completed on time and on budget? If not, what happened so that it got off track?
  • Were you satisfied with the final product? If not, what didn’t you like about the process or the result?
  • What kind of wine cellar did you build? Was it for storage only or do you have social space in it?
  • What kind of cooling system did you install? What about it do you like or dislike?
  • Did you have any delivery problems with material not showing up on time from the wine cellar company?
  • Did you find your wine cellar builder offered the range of materials that you wanted or did you have to go to several places to get everything? If you went to other places, what materials did you get from other places?
  • Did your San Francisco wine cellar contractor seem knowledgeable about wine in general? Did you feel comfortable taking advice from the vendor?
  • How big is your wine cellar and how long did it take to get it built?
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Review Your Options
Find and Hire a Good Wine Cellar Vendor in San Francisco

Before deciding on the best wine cellar contractors in San Francisco for you, it’s important to consider the following questions....

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Before deciding on the best wine cellar contractors in San Francisco for you, it’s important to consider the following questions.

  • Does the wine cellar builder have experience in building wine cellars similar in size to your space?
  • Will the wine cellar vendor give you the design options you need to match your aesthetic?
  • Is the wine cellar vendor dedicated to making the wine cellar as environmentally friendly as possible, offering you the option of using recycled woods or materials where appropriate and using stains, lacquers, and paints with low levels of volatile organic compounds?
  • Does the wine cellar vendor offer knowledge of wine the unique challenges of storing wine over the long term?
  • Does the wine cellar vendor show good knowledge of the local weather conditions and seasons when making recommendations about cooling units?
  • Does the wine cellar vendor help you understand the information you need to provide so that the best recommendations can emerge?
  • Is the wine cellar vendor dedicated to getting you exactly the space you want to age your collection and protect your investment?
  • Will the wine cellar vendor also take into account the construction and utilities involved in making a wine cellar?
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How to Work With
Before You Hire a San Francisco Wine Cellar Vendor

You’ll find the best wine cellar vendors by taking a little care. Look for vendors who have worked with spaces similar in size to your own....

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You’ll find the best wine cellar vendors by taking a little care. Look for vendors who have worked with spaces similar in size to your own.

If you have an apartment, you can find vendors who have lots of experience in building wine cellars in smaller spaces. Similarly, if your wine cellar will be on a larger scale, you would probably want someone accustomed to designing for a large space.

The practicalities are even more important than the aesthetics when it comes to preserving and aging wine over the long run, so look for someone who can offer sound advice about cooling systems, humidity management and the nuts and bolts of construction – insulation advice, what utilities will need lines run into the cellar and the like.

Look for a firm that uses licensed technicians when needed and that complies with construction laws.

Working with Your San Francisco Wine Cellar Vendor
Even the best wine cellar vendors find it easier to work with someone who’s prepared. You can identify where you want to put your wine cellar – whether it’s new construction or a renovation. Gather information about the size of the wine cellar – approximate dimensions or exact, if you are renovating.

Take temperature and humidity readings so you know the state of the space before work begins. If you are thinking about venting to the outdoors, make a note of that. If you are thinking of exhausting to another room, check its normal temperature and check for its air movement and ventilation options.

Try to gather data about how temperatures vary according to the seasons in your neck of the woods. Tally up the size of your wine collection and give serious consideration to how much you expect it to grow, and how quickly. Note the bottle shapes you own. Are they Bordeaux or Pinot Noir bottles? Do you have or plan to add oversized bottles? Are you seriously concerned with keeping the bottle from scratching and the labels from tearing? Or could you live with it if a label got torn or a bottle scratched? Considerations about bottle conditions can help you decide if bin storage is ok for you or if you really want individual storage.

Know how you want to use your space. Is it only for storage or do you plan to hold tastings in it? In short, the more you know about your space and your collection, the easier the process will be. Help your design consult by being able to describe your particular design aesthetic. Bring pictures of things that please you or of previous projects if they are applicable.

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Be a Good Customer
How Can You Be a Good Wine Cellar Vendor Customer?

It's the wine cellar vendor’s responsibility put in quality wine cellars using the best possible installation techniques. But you play a big part in the success of your wine cellar, too.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a San Francisco wine cellars....

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It's the wine cellar vendor’s responsibility put in quality wine cellars using the best possible installation techniques. But you play a big part in the success of your wine cellar, too.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a San Francisco wine cellars.

  • Be clear and upfront with the wine cellar vendor. Let them know what you want from your wine cellar, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
  • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way.
  • Before you hire a wine cellar contractor in San Francisco, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the wine cellars representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local wine cellar vendors occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
  • Ask your San Francisco wine cellar builder if you should call to check on the progress or if he will call you with updates.
  • Be sure your service representative has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they’re installing your wine cellar. The work will move along more smoothly if your wine cellar vendor can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
  • When your contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the wine cellar vendor on schedule.
  • Pay for the wine cellars installation promptly.

Why would you want to be a good customer?

Wine cellar vendors in San Francisco appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check the Work
Get Written Invoices and Warranties from Your San Francisco Wine Cellar Vendor

You may have a lot to juggle, depending on the number of people involved in your wine cellar construction. In the process of building your wine cellar, you may work with many different people or with a single vendor. If you build your wine cellar yourself, you’ll be acting as the contractor, but you’ll be working with wine cooling unit vendors for equipment and with wine cellar vendors for racking, most likely....

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You may have a lot to juggle, depending on the number of people involved in your wine cellar construction. In the process of building your wine cellar, you may work with many different people or with a single vendor. If you build your wine cellar yourself, you’ll be acting as the contractor, but you’ll be working with wine cooling unit vendors for equipment and with wine cellar vendors for racking, most likely. If you don’t build your own cellar, then you may work with a contractor to build the cellar and with a wine cellar vendor to place the racks, lighting and other equipment. Or you may work with a wine cellar vendor who undertakes the entire process. Know what each person on your project is contributing. Each should provide an estimate or quote for the work done.

You’ll need to ask for a time estimate, as well. You’ll need to track progress to make sure the work is being complete as quoted on the invoice and that the proper materials are delivered. You’ll need to track any utility work that is done to support the wine cellar – for instance the installation of electricity or water lines or duct work. You’ll also need to track that the wine racks, display cases, and lighting are delivered as described. You need to know what your project entails – Design? Utilities? Racking? Lighting? Flooring? Ceiling? You need to track the details, like making sure the utilities are run to match the lighting design – i.e. do you have lines where you have switches designed? For each piece of the project, you should note who is responsible for delivery, when the delivery is promised, and how to contact that person.

You should also note any dependencies – for example, construction of the walls needs to be complete before you can install racks. If you track the elements of the room and their dependencies on each other, or have a trusted installation team that is doing it for you, you’ll have a successful build. For any equipment installed – cooling units, racking, lighting –  get the warranties and understand what they cover. You should also ask for warranties for any services provided, such as running the electrical lines.

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Top 10 Requests
Popular Types of Wine Rooms and Wine Cellar Services in San Francisco

The wine community is large and enthusiastic. When you want to store wine, there are a few requests that commonly rise to the top of the list.

Bring Wine to Temperature
A wine chiller is used to bring one or two bottles to the correct serving temperature. A good wine chiller respects the humidity demanded to keep the cork intact and replaces the option of popping the bottle into a standard refrigerator.

Cellars to Store Wine...

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The wine community is large and enthusiastic. When you want to store wine, there are a few requests that commonly rise to the top of the list.

Bring Wine to Temperature
A wine chiller is used to bring one or two bottles to the correct serving temperature. A good wine chiller respects the humidity demanded to keep the cork intact and replaces the option of popping the bottle into a standard refrigerator.

Cellars to Store Wine
To really store wine properly, the wine must be in an environment where the temperature does not significantly fluctuate and where a proper humidity is maintained. Storing wine properly allows it to maintain its true character, as the cork does not shrink and the wine is protected from improper exposure to oxygen.

Age Wine
Wine cellars are designed to allow users to age wines over time in a controlled environment. One of the pleasures of the practice is get a case of wine and see how it develops over time, perhaps having a bottle or two per year to see how the wine changes.
Keep Wine Ready for Serving
A wine cellar does not really keep wine ready for serving. For this scenario, you probably want a wine refrigerator or wine cabinet, which stores wine for about a year.

Enjoy Wine Tasting with Friends
A wine cellar can be used as a tasting space, if designed to incorporate a tasting area. This brings a social dimension to the wine cellar and makes it more than a storage room.

Display Rare or Unique Bottles of Wine
Wine cellars can incorporate special display stands or cases that allow you to highlight special bottles.

 

Popular Wine Storage and Wine Cooling Brands
Many elements go into making up a wine cellar, from floorings to ceilings to walls to racks. This list does not cover all the elements, but mentions some of the key brands for items especially for wine cellars.

EuroCave Wine Cellars
Standalone wine cabinets or refrigerators designed to provide conditions similar to a real wine cellar.

WhisperKool Wine Cellars and Wine Cabinets
WhisperKool offers cooling unit systems for wine cellars and wine cabinets. It offers self-contained, or through-the-wall units, as well as split systems and ducted systems.

Air Innovations Wine Cooling Systems
Air Innovations offers the Wine Guardian range of cooling units, including ducted and through-the-wall systems.

CellarPro Cooling Systems
CellarPro provides cooling systems for wine cellars. It was founded by the Le Cache Premium Wine Cabinet’s owners when they could not find cooling units that suited their demands.

BreezaireProducts Company
Breezaire offers cooling units for wine cellars.

Koolspace Walk-In Wine Cellars
A line of cooling units for walk-in wine cellars.

Vinotemp International
Vinotemp manufactures the Wine-Mate line of cooling systems, which includes split systems, self-contained systems, and ducted systems.

EdgeStar
EdgeStar makes many different products, including wine refrigerators which boast thermoelectric cooling, thus using very little power.

Danby
Danby also makes many appliances, including wine refrigerators. It’s important to note that some Danby products garner excellent ratings and are among the most in-demand, while others have disappointed. It’s worth doing research on the specific model you are interested in.

Haier Wine Refrigerators and Wine Cellars
Haier’s line of wine refrigerators and wine cellars includes both built-in and standalone models. They offer thermoelectric and compressor technologies and single and dual-zone cabinets.

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If Things Go Wrong
The Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee for Wine Cellar Customers

Diamond Certified wine cellar contractors in San Francisco are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the wine cellar builders you’ve hired are Diamond Certified and you can’t resolve the issue by talking with the owner, contact the mediation department at info@diamondcertified.org or call 800-738-1138.

Finding Ways To End Conflict with San Francisco Wine Cellar Vendors...

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Diamond Certified wine cellar contractors in San Francisco are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the wine cellar builders you’ve hired are Diamond Certified and you can’t resolve the issue by talking with the owner, contact the mediation department at info@diamondcertified.org or call 800-738-1138.

Finding Ways To End Conflict with San Francisco Wine Cellar Vendors

There are many components that go into your wine cellar. If you have trouble with any of them, you have different resources at hand. If you have contractors working on building the wine cellar and you cannot resolve complaints with them, you can file complaints with the California State License Board.

The process covers both licensed and unlicensed contractors. Details of the complaint process can be found online at the Web site. If your complaint is with the provider of the wine racks or the cooling unit or other material providers, try to resolve the complaint with the provider first.

If you cannot resolve the complaint there, you can go with the small claims court process. You can also report the business to the Better Business Bureau.

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Glossary of Terms
Glossary of Wine Cellar Building Terms
Walk-in wine refrigerators and multiple zone wine cellars.
Built-in wine cellar design and installation by a local wine room contractor. Photo: Wine Cellar Pro / Market Engineering (2013)

Below are some terms that you may find useful as you explore ways to store and age your wine collection.

20 degree angle display
In a wine rack, the rack is designed to show a row of bottles at a 20 degree angle.

Also known as: high reveal display row

base molding
In wine cellar terms, base molding is the decorative trim applied to the bottom of the wine racks in the room.

beam support...

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Below are some terms that you may find useful as you explore ways to store and age your wine collection.

20 degree angle display
In a wine rack, the rack is designed to show a row of bottles at a 20 degree angle.

Also known as: high reveal display row

base molding
In wine cellar terms, base molding is the decorative trim applied to the bottom of the wine racks in the room.

beam support
Beam support refers to the solid wood bars that provide additional backing for the wine racks above them.


CAD
Wine cellar builders often use CAD programs to help them design wine cellars. CAD stands for computer aided design, and refers to computer software for designing custom wine rooms and wine cellars.

Also known as: computer aided design

casing
The decorative molding around a door or window in the wine cellar.

corked
Used to describe wines when the cork fails from being dirty or other failures. The wine often smells bad.

diamond bin
A container in a diamond shape that is used to store a bulk quantity of bottles. This is in contrast to storing each bottle in its own separate space. Bulk storage may lead to bottles getting scratched or labels being torn.

double deep
Refers to a wine rack that is two times as deep as a standard bottle.

dual zone
A dual zone wine refrigerator is one in which the compartment allows you to set two temperature settings that govern different parts of the container. The dual temperature settings are often used to allow storage of red and white wines in the same wine cabinet.

Also known as: dual-zone

etching
A technique where blasting is used to ingrain a design. Many glass doors for wine cellars are etched.

handleset
The hardware used as the door handle.

filler scribe
Pieces of wood used to fill in gaps between racks and corners to give a seamless appearance.

Also known as: filler strip

individual rack
A component of a wine storage system. Each bottle stored in the component has its own place.

jeroboam
A large bottle of wine that contains about four to six normal-sized bottles.

kit wine racking
You can buy the pieces you need to assemble your own wine storage system.

Also known as: wine rack kits

Methuselah
A bottle containing the same amount as eight standard wine bottles.

plain sawn
In lumber, the plain sawn cut is cut parallel to the tree’s growth rings. It is the most common kind of cut in lumber.

quarter round display
A component of a wine storage system, it is a piece of shelving that sits at the end of wine racks and shows off special bottles.

quarter sawn
In lumber, the quarter sawn cut is cut perpendicular to the tree’s growth rings. It can be desired for showing grain patterns to good effect.

magnum rack
Component of a wine storage system. The rack can hold magnums, or larger-sized bottles.

medium density fiberboard
A building material that is very sturdy, resists warping, and absorbs vibration. It is capable of taking a precision cut and is easy to assemble.

Also known as: MDF

modular wine cellar
A modular wine cellar is a cellar in which different components, for example wine racks, wine bins, and shelves, are combined to make a complete storage solution.

relative humidity
Relative humidity is derived using a set equation. The result is usually expressed as a percentage. Relative humidity refers to how much water vapor is present in when air and water vapor are both present in a system.

sidelight
Sidelights are panels of glass next on the sides of a door.

single deep
Refers to a wine rack that has a depth of one bottle length.

single-zone
A single zone wine refrigerator or cabinet is one in which only one temperature is maintained. This is in contrast to a dual-zone wine refrigerator.

Also known as: single zone

ullage
The space left between the top of the surface of the wine in a wine bottle and the bottom of the cork.

wine chiller
A device used to lower the temperature of a bottle of wine to the recommended drinking temperature – usually only for one or two bottles.

wine cooling unit
A wine cooling unit is the device used to regulate the temperature, and sometimes the humidity, in a wine cellar. It may be a split unit, a through-the-wall or self-contained unit, or a ducted unit.

Also known as: wine cooling system, cooling unit

wine refrigerator
An appliance used to store wine at specific temperatures and humidity.

Also known as: wine cabinet, wine cellar, wine vault

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Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ for Clients of Wine Cellar Construction Companies

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified wine cellar contractor?...

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Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified wine cellar contractor?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a wine cellar company with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only wine cellar vendors rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified wine cellar builder.

Q: Do I need a custom designed wine cellar?
A: You can construct a wine cellar using standard materials. You can even get kits that allow you to build the units – racks, shelves, displays – that go into your new wine cellar. “Custom” means many different things in the wine cellar world. It may refer to special woods or cuts of wood that are different from standard offerings. It may refer to special stains, lacquers or paints. It can also refer to special pieces of furniture within the wine cellar, or specially cut and beveled rack edges. Custom installations may involve a higher price point. Make sure you are paying for something you want and that fits your exact specificiations.


Q: What makes a new wine cellar different from normal construction projects?
A: Wine cellars need to stay between 55-58 degrees and they need to have humidity levels of 55% to 75% relative humidity. This makes them cooler than most rooms in your home but also much more humid. The construction of your wine cellar needs to take the additional humidity into account, by having the correct insulation or vapor barriers, machines to cool the air, and ways to introduce and control humidity. The materials your Sonoma County wine cellar builder uses to construct and furnish the wine cellar must also be humidity resistant, which rules out carpet or vinyl, since the one will rot and the latter will not stick to its underlayer.

Q: Why do I need an exterior door on my wine cellar?
A: Your wine cellar is trying to maintain a steady temperature and humidity level, which are different from the rest of your house. An interior door is not sturdy enough to prevent the passage of heat and humidity. You need not only an exterior quality door, you should also surround the top and sides with weather stripping and use a threshold and sweep on the bottom of the door.

Q: What is a passive wine cellar?
A: A passive wine cellar is one in which temperature and humidity controls are not introduced. The wine cellar relies on natural conditions – such as being underground or in a cave – to provide an appropriate climate for the wine.

Q: Does my cooling unit also control humidity?
A: This is one where you have to pay attention to the unit you are installing. A few units may also monitor humidity, but most do not have the ability to add humidity to the air when needed. In these cases, you may need a fountain to add moisture to the air.

Q: There are so many terms. What is a wine cellar exactly?
A: A wine cellar is room – not necessarily in the cellar – where wine can be stored in controlled temperature and humidity conditions over the long term. This is in contrast to a wine refrigerator, which is used to store wine for about a year. Some stand-alone or free-standing wine refrigerators are called wine cellars. You should speak with the vendors about the prospect of storing wine in these machines over the long term. Wine refrigerators are also called wine vaults or wine cabinets.

Wine refrigerators come in different capacities for holding different numbers of bottles. Some are single zone, meaning they only allow you to set one temperature. Others are dual zone, allowing you to set two temperatures, for example so you can store red and white wines at different temperatures.
Wine refrigerators also come with compressor technology, which uses a condenser coil like a normal refrigerator and evaporates off water during the change from liquid to gas and back again. Compressor types are usually recommended for larger containers. Thermoelectric machines use the Peltier effect and have a hot and cold element inside, pushing the heat away from the cold. They tend to use less energy and have no vibrations. Compressor technology does have some vibration, which some claim can damage wine.

Q: What’s green board and what’s it doing in my wine cellar?
A: Green board refers to a type of drywall that is usually built into bathrooms and kitchens. It is designed to resist water. This makes it good building material for a wine cellar, where the humidity is high.

Q: Why can’t I just put my wine in a normal fridge?
A: While some wine refrigerators use the same compressor technology as normal refrigerators, the humidity is the critical factor. Standard refrigerators keep humidity very low - much lower than the 55%to 75% relative humidity that wines need. Wines need the high humidity to keep the corks in good shape. Without the humidity, corks will shrink, allowing in oxygen, which will destroy the wine, and any smells that surround the wine.

Q: How do I design a new wine cellar?
A: You can design a wine cellar on your own or look for examples of wine cellars and copy them. You can find kits to assemble different parts of a wine cellar. You can also work with wine cellar specialists in Sonoma County. Often they will provide detailed plans as part of the quoting process. These wine cellar designers often use CAD software to produce drawings and specifications of your wine cellar.

Q: Can I put a wine cellar anywhere in my house?
A: In general, yes, but there are some things you should consider. If you are going to build a passive wine cellar, then you need to build where the heat and temperature will suit long-term wine storage. In a passive wine cellar, you do not introduce machines or devices to control heat and humidity.
In a controlled wine cellar, you will be using machines to control heat and humidity, so you want to consider the existing heat and humidity in the space. Are there spaces where you can easily vent heat from the wine cellar? Do nearby rooms have the ability to move and exhaust air if the cellar is vented into them? If you are venting outside, do you have the necessary ducting or do you need to install it? For the unit you are buying, how long can the ducting be? If you plan on a split system, do you have a safe place to handle the outside unit.
 

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Consumer Agencies
Consumer Agencies and Associations for Local Wine Cellar Builders

American Wine Storage Association (AWSA) (www.americanwinestorage.org/)
California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) (http://www.cawg.org/)
American Institute of Wine & Food (AIWF) (http://www.aiwf.org/)
Wine Institute (www.wineinstitute.org/)
Better Business Bureau (BBB) (www.bbb.org)...

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American Wine Storage Association (AWSA) (www.americanwinestorage.org/)
California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) (http://www.cawg.org/)
American Institute of Wine & Food (AIWF) (http://www.aiwf.org/)
Wine Institute (www.wineinstitute.org/)
Better Business Bureau (BBB) (www.bbb.org)
Contractors State License Board (CSLB) (www.cslb.ca.gov/)

 

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Industry Information
San Francisco Wine Cellar Information
Popular Brands of Wine CellarsTypes of Wine Cellars & Services Available in San FranciscoDistricts Served Zip Codes Served
Wine Enthusiast Wine Cellarsbuilt-in wine cellar design & installationBarbary Coast
Bayview District
Bernal Heights
the Castro
Cole Valley
Cow Hollow
Diamond Heights
Duboce Triangle
Eureka Valley
Excelsior
Financial District
Fisherman's Wharf
Fort Mason
Glen Park
Golden Gate Park
the Haight
Haight-Ashbury
Hayes Valley
Hunters Point
Inner Richmond
Inner Sunset
Jackson Square
Japantown
Laurel Heights
Marina District
Mission District
Nob Hill
Noe Valley
North Beach
Outer Richmond
Outer Sunset
Pacific Heights
Potrero Flats
Potrero Hill
Presidio
Rincon Hill
Russian Hill
San Francisco
Sea Cliff
South of Market Street (SOMA)
Sunset District
Telegraph Hill
the Tenderloin
the Presidio
Treasure Island
Twin Peaks
Union Square
West Portal
Western Addition
94101
94102
94103
94104
94105
94107
94108
94109
94110
94111
94112
94114
94115
94116
94117
94118
94119
94120
94121
94122
94123
94124
94125
94126
94127
94129
94130
94131
94132
94133
94134
94140
94141
94142
94146
94147
94157
94158
94159
94164
94165
94166
94167
94168
94169
94170
94172
94188
N'finity Wine Cellarsunderground wine cellar
Grand Cru Wine Cellar Cooling Unitsrestaurant wine cellar installation
Grotto Wine Cellarswine cellar system installation
Vinotheque Wine Cellarswine cellar cooling system repair
Cuisinart Wine Cellarswine cellar waterproofing
Rosehill Wine Cellarswine cellar earthquake proofing
Vintage Keeper Wine Cellarswine cellar storage rack installation
Marvel Wine Cellarswine coolers
Transtherm Wine Cellarswine refrigerators
Koolspace Wine Cellarsmultiple zone wine cellars
Avanti Wine Cellarselectric wine cellar installation
Vinotemp Wine Refrigeratorscustom wine cellar design & installation
Marvel Luxury Wine Refrigeratorsfreestanding wine cellars
General Electric (GE) Wine Coolerscountertop wine coolers
Danby Wine Refrigeratorswalk-in wine cellars
Franklin Chef Wine Refrigeratorshumidity control wine cellars
Haier Wine Cellarsprefabricated wine cellars
Summit Wine Coolersbulk storage wine cellars
Viking Wine Coolersindividual rack wine cellars
Vintage Series Walk-In Wine Cellarsluxury wine cellars
Cavispace Wine CellarsFrench limestone wine cellars
Espace Wine Cellarsmodular wine cellars
General Electric (GE) Walk-In Wine Vaultwine cellar rack installation
Le Cache Wine Cellarsresidential wine cellars / home wine cellars
EuroCave Wine Cellarsportable wine cellars