Imagine your own private wine cellar, doesn't it just conjure up images of old oak barrels, warm fruity smells, ruby glows, roaring fires and great company?
Having received quite a few questions to the site regarding wine cellars, we had a look around at what's available and found these amazing spiral cellars. Jo from Spiral Cellars sent me the following information regarding these uniquely beautiful solutions for storing your favourite bottles of wine or two or three ... up to 1600 bottles in fact!
Currently they are only available in the UK, Europe and the US but they are a fabulous source of inspiration and we're hoping it won't be long before Spiral Cellars are available here in South Africa. If you require any further information, you can contact Jo at Spiral Cellars, details at the end of this article. Click on the images to enlarge, they really are super-fantastic.
For many dedicated wine-lovers, having a private wine cellar where they can leisurely survey their collection and pick the perfect bottle of Puligny Montrachet for dinner that evening, may seem an impossible dream. Since genuine underground cellars are rare, especially in urban homes where space is at a premium, most wine buffs will have to either opt for professional temperature controlled storage off-site, or resort to keeping wine under the stairs, in the kitchen or in the garage - but none of these are satisfactory options. However, there is a company that has come up with a unique and simple idea – the Spiral Cellar - that allows you to keep your wine at home so it is easily accessible and maintained in the perfect conditions.
While professional storage will ensure your wine is stored properly, it does mean that you don’t have immediate access to your collection and a great degree of pre-planning will be required. Other home storage solutions can often be detrimental to your wine, particularly if it is kept at the wrong temperature. Keeping a wine above 20°c for even a couple of months will damage it irreparably and, if you ever want to resell, how and where the wine has been stored will be critical to its value; auction houses won’t be interested in wine that’s been kept in your spare room. To age good wine over a number of years, or simply keep a short term stock in excellent condition, it is crucial that the home wine storage environment is a clean, dark, humid area with good ventilation, a constant temperature and free from any vibration. Keeping your bottles in the under stairs cupboard with the Dyson or in the loft with the Christmas decorations is definitely not to be recommended while the kitchen with a hot oven, vibrations from the washing machine and constant light is probably the worst place you could choose. So where can you store your wine conveniently and safely?
Luckily there is an answer that doesn’t entail buying a new house with a cellar. No matter where you live, having your own private wine cellar is now an attainable and affordable reality thanks to Spiral Cellars, a company with a simple yet ingenious answer to all these wine worries. Spiral Cellars creates prefabricated cellars which can be installed regardless of space or the condition of the ground beneath the property.
The idea of the Spiral Cellar was dreamt up in 1978 by a Frenchman, Georges Harnois, who came up with the design when he realised how few modern homes had any sort of cellar space. Inspired by the Pont du Gard, a stunning aqueduct in France with internal spiral staircase, Harnois developed the idea of storing wine in an excavated cellar using the spiral concept. Today, over 15,000 Spiral Cellars have been built in France and now the UK, with increasing sales and consumption of fine wine, is discovering its ingenuity and practicality. Over the last 25 years, Spiral Cellars has installed over 2,500 cellars in the UK . No mechanical cooling or heating is required under normal UK conditions. This is a passive system that will run in the event of a power cut, will require no maintenance and adheres to The Wine Society best practice guidance for storage; cool, humid, vibration free and steady temperature all year round. The whole process of installing the cellar takes five working days so disruption to the home can be kept to a minimum.
The Spiral Cellar is really an extension built downwards. A hole is dug where the cellar is to be situated with a diameter of 2000mm and the base covered in a layer of sand. The bottom and the walls of the hole are lined with felt and then a 1.5mm thick butyl waterproof liner to ensure that the cellar will be totally watertight even in an area with a high water table. Pre-cast concrete modules, with one step to each layer, are installed, forming a honeycomb in which bottles can be stored and ventilation pipes and a trap door are then fitted.
Two types of cellar are available – the Spiral Cellar which is available in four different depths, from 2m – 3m deep, which can store up to 1600 bottles, and the Mini Cellar which comes in depths of either 1.35m or 1.6m. The Mini Cellar can store up to 770 bottles and has a simple wooden staircase leading from a double trap door.
Cellars can be situated in any room where there is a 2.5m space to excavate – the most popular choices are kitchens and garages but cellars have also been installed in conservatories, studies and sitting rooms. Planning permission is not normally required. Building regulations approval is needed for additions within a property, but not for garages or outbuildings. Spiral Cellars has its own consultant engineer to oversee this side of the installation, who can liaise with a local authority where necessary.
Access to the Spiral Cellar is through a trap door – a four panel wooden trap door with a flat handle and lock is standard and comes with a gas strut to support the door when it is open, and can be made to blend in with the flooring in the room, whether that’s wooden boards or carpet. Other styles, including recessed doors or glass doors, can be made to order ensuring that the style suits the location.
The Spiral Cellar provides the best possible alternative to an actual domestic wine cellar, allowing easy access, the right conditions and a great use of existing space. Whether used for aging good wines, keeping an investment in perfect condition or just for storing bottles for more immediate use, more and more wine-lovers are discovering it as a practical, affordable and clever storage solution. It can also add value to your home.
For more information please visit the website, Spiral Cellars.
Judith Fereday / Jo Howe
Camron Public Relations, 7 Floral Street, London WC2E 9DH
Tel: 020 7420 1700