6 Tips To Design Your Perfect Custom Wine Cellar

A wine collection is a thing of beauty that you’ll appreciate for years to come, and the same should be true of your wine storage. Whether you’re stashing a few bottles, or a few hundred, here are our top tips for creating your perfect home wine cellar.

1. It’s all about temperature control

Our number one tip: If you’re storing wine for any length of time, you want to control temperature and humidity to protect your wine until the moment you open it. The ideal environment for long-term wine storage is protected from light, with a temperature from 55°-58° F and enough humidity (50-70%) to keep corks from drying out. The single worst place in your home to store wine? In the kitchen.

 Control temperature and humidity with a unit like the CellarPro technology we use in all of our cellars. 

Control temperature and humidity with a unit like the CellarPro technology we use in all of our cellars. 

If you don’t have access to an underground wine lair (or, you know, a basement with a steady temperature) we recommend investing in a wine fridge or a temperature-controlled wine cellar, depending on the size of your collection. 


2. Consider your collection

Size matters when it comes to wine storage, and you’ll want to invest in enough space to house a growing collection vs. maxing out wine racks instantly. We suggest leaving room for 25-30% growth, so if you generally have a couple cases on hand, plan to be able to store an at least an additional half case. If you’re already into hundreds of bottles, leave room for another 50-100. Also think about the bottle formats in your collection — if you invest in large format bottles, make sure to use a universal racking system that will accommodate them. 

 Design your wine cellar with room for your wine collection to grow. 

Design your wine cellar with room for your wine collection to grow. 


3. Size up your space 

If you have a lot of space, and a big wine collection, you might consider the ultimate luxury of a fully dedicated custom wine room, but you don’t need a 5,000 square foot home to invest in wine storage — we work with clients all the time who need to design around narrow spaces, angled rooms, low ceilings, stairways and other obstacles

Two simple ways to deal with small spaces are to build wine storage into your existing cabinetry, or to invest in a piece that can double as furniture, like a credenza wine cellar.

 Wine storage doesn't have to be an eye sore. Creating a wine cellar or fridge that can double as a beautiful piece of furniture means you can maximize space and style.

Wine storage doesn't have to be an eye sore. Creating a wine cellar or fridge that can double as a beautiful piece of furniture means you can maximize space and style.


4. Decide if portable or built in wine storage is best for you

If you’re renting, or living in a house that you know isn’t your “forever” home, going with a stand-alone piece means that when you move you can take your wine cellar with you. On the other hand, built-in wine storage, whether it’s a wine fridge, wine cellar or custom wine room is an investment with a good return that can set you apart from other properties when it’s time to sell. 

 Freestanding or built in? Decide which is best for you based on your space and how long you plan to stay in your home.

Freestanding or built in? Decide which is best for you based on your space and how long you plan to stay in your home.


5. Express your style 

Making the up front investment in a wine cellar that suits your style and fits seamlessly into your home means you’ll keep it for much longer than one you don’t love or that’s not quite “you.” Whether you’re matching finishes to existing cabinetry, or creating a stunning piece of furniture that doubles as wine storage, consider whether you want a modern, rustic, decorative, or industrial look — when it comes to finishes, the sky is the limit and these are the details that will really set your cellar apart. 

 A modern, rustic look creates a show stopping look in this wine country estate. 

A modern, rustic look creates a show stopping look in this wine country estate. 


6. Give it a story 

For something truly unique, consider using materials that matter to you — whether it’s wood from a family barn or hardware from a family heirloom, you can work it into your design to create a truly custom home wine cellar. 

 This custom wine bar and cellar was crafted from wood we hand harvested from a 100-year-old barn on our client's property. 

This custom wine bar and cellar was crafted from wood we hand harvested from a 100-year-old barn on our client's property. 

Wine Travel Guide: Willamette Valley

With Oregon’s lush valleys of vineyards and world-renowned Pinot Noir scene, it’s no coincidence that we started Sommi Wine Cellars here.

When we head out to stock our own cellars, we drive straight for the Willamette Valley — it pays to have have one of best wine travel destinations as your back yard. As you gear up for your year and start planning your own wine and food travel experiences, we hope you’ll add this amazing wine country gem to your list. To help, we’ve put together our Willamette Valley Luxury Wine Travel Guide, including 10 Airbnbs that will put you right in a vineyard for the ultimate Oregon wine country experience, plus our top tasting room and dining picks. 


Where to Stay:
Vineyard Living in 10 Luxurious Willamette Valley Airbnbs

While Oregon is beautiful at any time of year, our favorite times to visit wine country are Spring and Summer when the vines are lush. Many wineries unveil their new releases over Memorial Day weekend with rare releases disappearing before summer's end. Head over to our Airbnb wishlist to book your stay and bookmark these homes. 

If you’re new to Airbnb, you can also snag $40 towards your first trip with the link below.


Where to eat:
The Best Restaurants in Willamette Valley For Quick Bites & Casual Meals

  Photo by Red Hills Market

Photo by Red Hills Market

The Red Hills Market serves up gourmet lunch fare and wines by the glass in this bustling Dundee favorite. 

Ruddick Wood, with its rustic, industrial interior and stellar wood-fired menu (think burgers, steaks, and luscious grilled veggie dishes) is the perfect end to a day in wine country. 

Community Plate serves up fresh and delicious lunch and breakfast plates 7 days a week in downtown McMinnville. 

The Blue Goat may be off the beaten path in the tiny little town of Amity, but with mouth-watering wood baked breads, pizzas and more, you'll be glad you made the detour. 

 

Fine Dining & Romantic Nights Out OPTIONS

  Photo by The Painted Lady

Photo by The Painted Lady

Thistle’s intimate McMinnville impeccably decorated dining room is the perfect choice whether you want to perch at the bar for a snack with your sweetie, or sit down for several courses. Focusing on farm to table and seasonal fare with some unexpected twists, this is Oregon cuisine at its best.  

There’s a reason The Painted Lady tops every wine country fine dining list and has for years. Pair hyper-local ingredients, a top-notch kitchen and one of the best wine lists in the valley in a Victorian era dining room with all the right touches, and you’ve got a recipe for the perfect romantic evening out. Reservations are recommended.


Where to Taste Wine:
5 Willamette Valley Wineries You Can’t Miss

Sommi's Wine Travel Guide: Willamette Valley | Where to Taste

De Ponte is one of Oregon’s best kept wine secrets, producing some of our favorite Pinot Noirs with a deep library list of verticals. You won’t find these wines anywhere else because they don’t distribute. Bonus: They also make a killer Melon de Bourgnone that pairs perfectly with summer dishes and they expect to release a series of sparkling wines later this year. 

The intimate and elegant lodge at White Rose is perched atop the Dundee Hills, making for the perfect setting for this boutique producer of Pinot Noir. Tastings of their current list is well worth the $20 tasting fee with selections focused by vineyard for a terroir tour through the valley guided by their expert staff. 

You could easily spend an entire day on Maysara’s massive property, complete with a herd of longhorn cattle roaming the hills, and their castle-like stone tasting room and barrel house. Specializing in biodynamic Pinot Noir, this family-owned gem is off the beaten path and like nowhere else in the valley. 

In our opinion, you can’t go wrong with any of the wineries dotting the Ribbon Ridge AVA, where you’ll find an abundance of Pinot Noirs that truly express Oregon’s earthy and delicate terroir. Eminent Domaine has become a favorite of ours recently with their newly built tasting room, knowledgeable staff and stunning views. 

With a range of tasting experiences, from the standard pours of their current releases of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, to vineyard tours, or a simple stroll through the collection of contemporary art or the Japanese garden, the tasting experience at Saffron Fields is one not to miss.


Traveling with Wine

 
Tips for Traveling with Wine from Sommi Wine Cellars
 

If you’re stocking your cellar on your trip, here are three tips to get your wine safely back home. 

  1. Many wineries in Willamette Valley will case and ship your wines back home for you, and this may be your best bet if you're buying several cases. 
  2. For Alaska Airlines members, you can check a case of wine for free on your flight home from Portland. 
  3. Packing a few precious wine bottles in your luggage? Opt for a hard-shell case, pack clothing along the sides, and use a sealed product like VinePair Wine Skins (a 3 pack is $9) to protect your wine (and your belongings) in flight. 

Remember to let your wine rest in the cellar for a few days (and up to two weeks for delicate or unfiltered wines) after travel to enjoy it at its best. 


Two Cool: The New Sommi Wine Fridge Is Here

Introducing the brock series dual wine refrigerator

As the mercury in Oregon has already hit 100 this summer, it's a perfect time to debut our latest product line, the Brock Series Dual Wine Refrigerator. 

Named for our friend, fellow wine connoisseur and interior design extraordinaire, Lori Brock of Brock Design Group, the new series is designed for double duty — protecting your wine collection in style while highlighting your home's decor as a beautiful, heirloom-quality furniture piece.  

With two separate fridge areas, each able to hold up to 18 bottles, the Brock is the perfect place to store everything from Albariño to Zinfandel with temperature settings from 39°  (perfect for your ready-to-serve Whites, Rosés and Sparkling Wines) to 55° (ideal for long-term storage of any wine). The middle cabinet smartly stashes everything from stemware and openers to that bottle of Macallan Single Malt you've been meaning to hide from summer guests. 

With its clean lines and modern good looks our wine fridges are at home in any home, from the urban loft to the cul-de-sac classic. So here's to you, and a summer full of Champagne toasts. 

Three Luxe Finish Options

Whether your style is Modern-classic, Scandinavian-chic or Luxury-cabin, we've got you covered. 

 
 

Product Details

  • Available now, ships in 6-8 weeks
  • Stores up to 36 bottles (18 in each fridge), with adjustable shelves
  • Select your setting for each fridge from 39°F (best for ready-to-serve whites) to 55°F (ideal for long-term storage)
  • Choose from three luxe finish options — White/Walnut, Natural/White Oak, and Walnut/Smoke
  • Stemware racking system designed to hold up to 12 glasses
  • Solid brass hardware