“Wine racks can be made from any type of wood, which really makes wine cellars and wine rooms completely custom,” notes Bogue. “Depending on the wood you choose, the price can go up or down.”
Heigl works with a metal crafter who can custom build racking systems out of metal components. “They have a patina so they look old, and we sometimes mix them with cedar, oak or other wood for effect,” he says.
And, since racks are custom-built to work with the rooms, innovative accessories can be created right along with them.
McGowan notes that, on a wine room project, she was working with 11-foot ceilings. “The racks went all the way up to the ceiling,” she comments, “so we designed a ladder that could attach and detach anywhere in the room so the wine could be reached.”
Kitchen and bath designers debate the inclusion of cabinets in wine tasting rooms. When going for a more rustic, European-style room, open racks for wine glasses and minimal storage is the norm. However, for the more elegant and elaborate designs, rich cabinetry – and sometimes a lot of it – adds to the ambience and the bottom line.
“The profit areas are in the cabinets and the racking systems,” stresses Heigl.
And, according to Ypsilantis, a wine tasting room can have as much cabinetry as some kitchens. “If you compare the linear feet of cabinetry in a wine room to a kitchen that has windows and appliances, it can be very close to the same amount of cabinetry,” she explains. “And, it’s more specialized in the wine room because it has to include wine racks that have to be custom made because of the heights involved. They’re not standard cabinets, because you don’t want them to look like kitchen cabinetry.”
Sitting and Sipping
While typical wine cellars do not usually offer any type of seating or entertaining area, tasting and wine rooms often do. Depending upon the intended use of the room, gathering spaces can go from a simple bistro table and chairs to a lengthy dining table with seating for multiple guests.
Traditionally, wine rooms do not have elaborate seating, as the rooms are often refrigerated and not a comfortable place to congregate for lengthy periods of time. However, accommodating guests comfortably, even for short periods, is still important to homeowners.
“Homeowners don’t necessarily want to have seating for a lot of people, but rather have comfortable seating,” Ypsilantis adds. “They want club chairs and a table.” She sees this as a move away from the bar-type of feeling to more of a room where you sit down and have a drink.
“Seating can make the room a more relaxing, intimate space,” offers McGowan.
The Full Treatment
Taking their cues from Old World wine cellars, most wine tasting rooms include distinctive wall and floor treatments of stone and brick and exposed wood beams. This is definitely an area that lends itself to increased profits, designers note.
“When finishing the walls with wood, you could have wood paneling that can be in either raised panel style or rustic panel style,” offers Hamilton-Gray.
“I designed one wine cellar in the dirt basement of a home using the exposed earth and huge rocks as the walls,” notes Bogue. “It truly appears as a wine cave, with the bottle racking scribed to the stone.”
A lot of people go with a stone floor, whether it’s flagstone or another similar product. Heigl adds that his firm has done stone of the floor as well as on the walls, “mixed in between the racks. It’s so authentic looking, it’s almost like you want to bring the dust in, too,” he comments.
Hamilton-Gray notes that one of her designs features five wine refrigerators around the room that were recessed into walls that were finished in rock. “I put rock all over the walls and ceiling, which made it very cave-like,” she reports.
Ypsilantis used cork on the walls of a wine room she recently created. “The cork was kind of soft and, along with the cabinets, provided a casual area between the formal dining room and the kitchen,” she comments.