Diamond Certified Companies are Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise.

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Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

Why Trust Diamond Certified Wine Cellar Companies Rated Highest in Quality?

Photo: Wine Cellar Pro / Market Engineering (2013)

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.

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SELECTED PHOTOS FROM THESE TOP RATED COMPANIES

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INDUSTRY INFORMATION AND RESEARCHED ARTICLES BY THE DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESOURCE

Haier Wine Cellars
Summit Wine Coolers
Viking Wine Coolers
Vintage Series Walk-In Wine Cellars
Cavispace Wine Cellars
Espace Wine Cellars
General Electric (GE) Walk-In Wine Vault
Le Cache Wine Cellars
EuroCave Wine Cellars
Wine Enthusiast Wine Cellars
N’finity Wine Cellars
Grand Cru Wine Cellar Cooling Units
Grotto Wine Cellars
Vinotheque Wine Cellars
Cuisinart Wine Cellars
Rosehill Wine Cellars
Vintage Keeper Wine Cellars
Marvel Wine Cellars
Transtherm Wine Cellars
Koolspace Wine Cellars
Avanti Wine Cellars
Vinotemp Wine Refrigerators
Marvel Luxury Wine Refrigerators
General Electric (GE) Wine Coolers
Danby Wine Refrigerators
Franklin Chef Wine Refrigerators

bulk storage wine cellars
individual rack wine cellars
luxury wine cellars
French limestone wine cellars
modular wine cellars
wine cellar rack installation
residential wine cellars / home wine cellars
portable wine cellars
built-in wine cellar design & installation
underground wine cellar
restaurant wine cellar installation
wine cellar system installation
wine cellar cooling system repair
wine coolers
wine refrigerators
multiple zone wine cellars
electric wine cellar installation
custom wine cellar design & installation
freestanding wine cellars
countertop wine coolers
walk-in wine cellars
humidity control wine cellars
prefabricated wine cellars
wine cellar waterproofing
wine cellar earthquake proofing
wine cellar storage rack installation

Agua Caliente
Alexander Valley
Annapolis
Asti
Bloomfield
Bodega
Bodega Bay
Boyes Hot Springs
Camp Meeker
Cazadero
Cloverdale
Cotati
Duncans Mills
El Verano
Eldridge
Fallon
Fetters Hot Springs
Forestville
Fort Ross
Freestone
Fulton
Geyserville
Glen Ellen
Graton
Guerneville
Guernewood
Healdsburg
Jenner
Kenwood
Lakeville
Larkfield
Lytton
Mark West
Monte Rio
Occidental
Penngrove
Petaluma
Rio Nido
Rohnert Park
Roseland
Russian River
Russian River Meadows
Salmon Creek
Santa Rosa
Schellville
Sebastopol
Sheridan
Sonoma
Stewarts Point Rancheria
Temelec
the Geysers
Sea Ranch
Two Rock
Valley Ford
Villa Grande
Vineburg
Windsor

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/)

 

Know What You Want
Getting Ready to Build a Wine Cellar in Sonoma County

As you undertake your wine cellar journey in Sonoma County, whether you are in Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Windsor, Healdsburg, or Cloverdale, your probably approach it with some degree of apprehensive. There are so many different choices. 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? 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. The questions will also help you outline exactly what you’re looking for in a wine cellar.

  1. Do I want a Diamond Certified wine cellar construction company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  2. Do I have electrical wiring, drain lines, or water lines in the area where I want to put my wine cellar?
  3. 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?
  4. Where in my house will I put my wine cellar?
  5. What are the heat and humidity conditions around my house year round? How hot does it get at the hottest?
  6. Do I have an area adjacent to my proposed wine cellar where I can vent hot air?
  7. Do I have ducting or want to install ducting?
  8. How big is the space where I am planning to put my wine cellar?
  9. How big is my collection of wine and how much do I plan to add to it?
  10. Do I want a free standing wine cellar or a built-in wine room?
  11. 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?
  12. Do I have oversize or unusual bottle shapes? How many? Do I plan to increase the number?
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What To Ask In Person
Speaking With Your Sonoma County Wine Cellar Vendor In Person

Once you’ve determined who gave you the best answers so far, you’ll be taking off for Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Windsor, Petaluma, Cotati, Guerneville, or wherever the best possibilities seem to be. 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:

  1. Can you show me some samples of the rackings you offer? What kinds of woods and finishes are available?
  2. How long will it take to design my wine cellar if I work with you?
  3. Can you show me examples of previous wine cellars you have built?
  4. Can I see different design styles you have built?
  5. Who on your staff will help me design my wine cellar?
  6. Can you show me different lighting styles you have implemented? (spot lights for specific wine bottles, back lighting for racks, overhead lighting)
  7. 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?
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  • What To Ask References
    Questions for References of Wine Cellar Contractors in Sonoma County

    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 Sonoma County 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.

    1. How big is your wine cellar and how long did it take to get it built?
    2. Did you have any delivery problems with material not showing up on time from the wine cellar vendor?
    3. Did you find your wine cellar vendor 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?
    4. How much of the cellar design did you do and how much did the vendor do? Were you satisfied with the ratio?
    5. Was your wine cellar completed on time and on budget? If not, what happened so that it got off track?
    6. Were you satisfied with the final product? If not, what didn’t you like about the process or the result?
    7. What kind of wine cellar did you build? Was it for storage only or do you have social space in it?
    8. What kind of cooling system did you install? What about it do you like or dislike?
    9. 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?
    10. Did your wine cellar vendor seem knowledgeable about wine in general? Did you feel comfortable taking advice from the vendor?
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  • Review Your Options
    Find and Hire a Good Wine Cellar Vendor in Sonoma County

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    Your choice of wine cellars contractors dictates the success of your new wine cellar construction. So before deciding on the best wine cellar vendor in Sonoma County for you, it’s important to consider the following questions.

    1. Will the wine cellar vendor give you the design options you need to match your aesthetic?
    2. Does the wine cellar vendor offer knowledge of wine the unique challenges of storing wine over the long term?
    3. 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?
    4. Does the wine cellar vendor show good knowledge of the local weather conditions and seasons when making recommendations about cooling units?
    5. Does the wine cellar vendor have experience in building wine cellars similar in size to your space?
    6. Will the wine cellar vendor also take into account the construction and utilities involved in making a wine cellar?
    7. Does the wine cellar vendor help you understand the information you need to provide so that the best recommendations can emerge?
    8. Is the wine cellar vendor dedicated to getting you exactly the space you want to age your collection and protect your investment?
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  • How To Work With
    Before You Decide on a Sonoma County Wine Cellar Vendor

    Whether in Healdsburg, Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, or Windsor, you can find a good vendor by using a little common sense. 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 goal of your wine cellar is preserving and aging wine over the long run, so practicalities are even more important than aesthetics. 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 HVAC technicians when needed and that complies with construction laws.

    Partner with Your Sonoma County Wine Cellar Vendor

    You can take a few simple steps to keep the process running like greased rails. 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.

    Know how you want to use your space. Is it only for storage or do you plan to hold tastings in it? If you have a particular design aesthetic, you can help your design consultant by describing it and particularly by bringing pictures of things that please you.

    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.

    In short, the more you know about your space and your collection, the easier the process will be.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    Check the Quotes You Get, All Invoices, and Collect Warranties from Your Sonoma County Wine Cellar Vendor

    In the process of building your wine cellar, your choices may mean your work with many different people or with a single vendor. If you build your wine cellar yourself, youll be acting as the contractor. But most likely youll be working with wine cooling unit vendors for equipment and with wine cellar vendors for racking. If you dont build your own wine cellar, then you may work with a wine room contractor to build the cellar and with a wine cellar vendor to place the racks, lighting and other equipment.

    In the process of building your wine cellar, your choices may mean your work with many different people or with a single vendor. If you build your wine cellar yourself, youll be acting as the contractor. But most likely youll be working with wine cooling unit vendors for equipment and with wine cellar vendors for racking. If you dont build your own wine cellar, then you may work with a wine room 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 construction process.

    Every person on the job or providing material should give you an estimate or quote for the work done and materials supplied. Youll need to ask how long each one expects to need to complete their tasks. Youll need to track progress to make sure the work is being complete as quoted on the invoice and that the proper materials are delivered. Youll 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. Youll also need to track that the wine racks, display cases, and lighting are delivered as described.

    You are basically project manager for a construction site. You, or your trusted representative, need to know what your project entails Design? Utilities? Racking? Lighting? Flooring? Ceiling? You need the gritty details as well as the broad strokes for instance, 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, youll have a successful build.

    For any equipment installed, whether cooling units, racking, lighting, or any other materials, get the warranty. Services, such as electrical lines run, may also have a warranty so make sure you get the warranties and understand what each warranty covers.

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Check The Work
Check the Quotes You Get, All Invoices, and Collect Warranties from Your Sonoma County Wine Cellar Vendor

In the process of building your wine cellar, your choices may mean your 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 most likely you’ll be working with wine cooling unit vendors for equipment and with wine cellar vendors for racking. If you don’t build your own wine cellar, then you may work with a wine room 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 construction process.

Every person on the job or providing material should give you an estimate or quote for the work done and materials supplied. You’ll need to ask how long each one expects to need to complete their tasks. 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 are basically project manager for a construction site. You, or your trusted representative, need to know what your project entails – Design? Utilities? Racking? Lighting? Flooring? Ceiling? You need the gritty details as well as the broad strokes – for instance, 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, whether cooling units, racking, lighting, or any other materials, get the warranty. Services, such as electrical lines run, may also have a warranty so make sure you get the warranties and understand what each warranty covers.

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Written Warranties
The Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee

Diamond Certified wine cellar contractors in Sonoma County are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the wine room construction company you’ve hired is Diamond Certified and you can’t resolve the issue by talking with the owner, contact the mediation department at [email protected] or call 800-738-1138.

Diamond Certified wine cellar contractors in Sonoma County are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the wine room construction company you’ve hired is Diamond Certified and you can’t resolve the issue by talking with the owner, contact the mediation department at [email protected] or call 800-738-1138.

No More Conflict with Sonoma County Wine Cellar Vendors
The first step to resolving conflict is to work with the party and see if you can resolve it directly. If you cannot, you have different options, depending on who is involved. If you have contractors working on building the wine cellar and you cannot resolve complaints with them, the California State License Board accepts complaints. 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 against 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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Top 10 Requests
Top Wine Cellar Construction Services in Sonoma County

The wine community is large and enthusiastic. When you want to store wine in your Sonoma County home, 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.

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.

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.

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
Wine cellars can incorporate special display stands or cases that allow you to highlight special bottles.

Top Wine Cellar Brand Requests
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.

Koolspace
A line of cooling units for walk-in wine cellars.

WhisperKool
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.

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.

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

Air Innovations
Air Innovations offers the Wine Guardian range of cooling units, including ducted and through-the-wall 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
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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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Wine Cellar Building Terms

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?
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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