Nothing says you’ve made it quite like your very own wine cellar. It’s a guaranteed mark of a sophisticated and classy individual—one who enjoys the finer things in life. No wonder it’s right there at the top of a lot of people’s wish lists!
If you’re one of the lucky few who have followed their dreams and decided to put in a custom wine cellar, one of the important aspects you shouldn’t overlook is the door itself. While you might only go inside your cellar every once in a while, you’re going to be gazing longingly at the door often enough, wondering if you’re allowed to uncork that Bordeaux Grand Cru yet.
The right door is also so important for the health of your cellar in other ways, including the way it seals in the correct climate. Whether you’re buying a door for form or function, make sure you keep these tips in mind.
1. Account for the Climate
Traditional wine cellars were carved out underground, where minimal fluctuations and a naturally cool, relatively dry climate created ideal long-term storage conditions.
Unfortunately, not many of us these days have the luxury of digging out a new cellar, so we may have to make do with a space that needs more climate management. That means focusing your wine cellar design on humidity and temperature control and carefully considering how your door fits in with all of it.
First, you’ll need to think about the materials you’ll use and how they’ll fit with the outside weather conditions. Wood is a wonderfully rustic look—especially for wine cellars—but if it’s in a damp or humid place, they can expand quickly and become difficult to operate.
Second, if you have to artificially manage the climate inside the wine cellar, you’ll want to keep it tightly controlled. That means sealing off the space as best you can, and that requires weather stripping around the door frame and installing a door sweep. Do this, and you’ll not only have much more peace of mind, but you’ll save a lot on power, too.
2. Get a Custom Fit
The need for an airtight seal means one thing: In almost all cases, you’ll have to strongly consider a custom-fit door. Although there are standard sizes for doors in your home, wine cellars are a little more unique and don’t always stick to the script.
The benefits of a custom iron door are enormous. Besides getting it measured to your specifications, you’re free to customize just about everything else, too. You can go wild with color, shape, decorations, inserts, and so much more. In other words, choosing a custom-fit door lets you bring your dream to life, instead of settling for something that everybody else has.
3. Pair It Well
Everybody knows about pairing the right wine with your meal, but what about pairing the door with your wine?
It might sound silly, but if you’ve chosen a custom door and have become stuck for ideas, it’s not a bad place to find inspiration. You’ve got to think about how the door and what’s behind the door will go together. For that, you need to think about what kinds of wines you’re looking to store.
Is your cellar for investment, full of old reds you’re not planning on drinking? Or are you just giving some young wines some maturity and waiting for the right guests to arrive to share them? Maybe you’re a different kind of connoisseur and are storing vintage champagne? Or fortified wines? How can you best represent your collection through the style of your door?
You should, of course, also consider how the door will match the rest of the house’s style. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Although an eclectic look is charming in the right doses, there’s nothing more pleasing to the eye than harmony and symmetry. While a heavy, ornate wooden door might look great for the cellar, it probably will look out of place in a home with a modern design.
4. Strike the Right Balance
One other thing you should think about is the functionality of your door, as this will feed into a lot of the features you’ll need. Specifically, you need to work out whether you’re aiming to show off your wines (visibility) or keep them locked down and out of harm’s way (security). Or do you want a balance between the two?
Again, it depends on your collection and your preferences. If you’re not planning on making money off your cellar, and it won’t be the worst thing in the world to lose a couple of bottles, then, by all means, install a single swinging glass door so you can see what you’ve got on hand without going inside. If you don’t want the kids to get in, or you’ll just sleep a bit better at night knowing your wines are tucked up, then you’ll want to lean toward a door that has more security features like an iron security door.
It is also possible to have a balance, especially with a wrought iron glass door where the glass panels are secured by the iron; just make sure you plan out the space before you think about what kind of door you want. There’s no point having glass panels if the bottles themselves are tucked around the corner, for example.
5. Double Down
If you’ve got the budget for it, there is a way you can get the best of all worlds: Instead of one set of doors, have two!
A standard double-door design would have an inner door made of single or double glazed glass, while the outer door would either be wood or ornamental wrought iron. The inner door is strictly for climate control while allowing you to check the status of the cellar without going inside. The outer door, on the other hand, beefs up the security on your cellar while adding any design flair you’ve got your eye on.
Naturally, two sets of doors are going to cost extra, but another important consideration is the space you’ll have in and around the cellar since, normally, when you have two sets of entry doors like that, they’ll need space to swing in both directions. If room and money are no object, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better solution that will also look amazing.
6. Dare to Dream
While a beautiful wine cellar is a must-have for some, many people consider it a luxury. It would be really nice to have one, but only if they had a much bigger house, and only if they won the lottery.
We’re here to tell you that if you’d really love to have a wine cellar, you can do it no matter what you’ve got to work with. Dare to dream!
Many people have made their wine cellars using only limited space and a tight budget. If you don’t have a basement, repurpose an old room, use your kids’ bedrooms after they move out, or even convert a pantry or nook. If you’re on a budget, start off small, build up the cellar over time, and trawl the streets for any secondhand materials you can use.
Building a wine cellar is a bit like drinking wine: If you’re enjoying yourself, there’s no wrong way to do it.
7. Bonus Tip: Make It Wrought Iron
When it comes to custom wine cellar doors, there’s one material that ticks all the boxes: wrought iron. It’s versatile, allowing you to customize it in any way you want and fits with any style. It’s tough, standing up for years to any weather or climate conditions, and it’s secure, making your beautiful cellar and all the wine inside as safe as it can be.
If you’re building your dream wine cellar, why would you settle for anything less? Get a decorative iron door that matches your cellar perfectly. Get your door handmade by the craftsmen with five generations of experience. Get a door from Universal Iron Doors. Browse our range of wrought iron doors, see our portfolio of custom designs, or call us at (818) 771-1003, and we’ll make your dream cellar door come true today!