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Indianapolis wine cellar expert shares storage advice

No proper oenophile should go without a wine cellar. It's a place to keep, display and share a collection with family and friends. Cellars aren't only practical for the storage of wine, but can be beautiful and valuable additions to any home.

Whether you're building new or have been in a house for years, wine cellars are becoming a must-have for many. "Most new homes valued at more than $600,000 have a spot designated for a wine cellar or storage area," says Chris Meutsch, an Indiana and Ohio design consultant for Wine Cellar Innovations in Cincinnati. "We're seeing a lot of people turning small closets and rooms into cellars in existing homes as well."

Indianapolis member Kathy Harrison became inspired to add a wine storage and tasting room to her home after years of visiting wineries during her travels. "I fell in love with the warmth and richness of the old-world feeling I would get when I'd walk into a tasting room," Harrison says. "I wanted to capture that feeling in my own home."

Those with a thirst for fine wines can find a storage system suitable to their needs. There are many options - from simple wooden or metal racks to self-contained, custom rooms. A pre-made cellar kit with a refrigeration system from Wine Cellar Innovations costs around $6,000 up to $12,000. A 1,000-bottle custom cellar with commercial-grade refrigeration runs between $12,000 and $20,000.

Many cellars are installed in basements since there's usually an abundance of unused space. "There isn't really a preferred location for a cellar - provided it's built correctly," Meutsch says. "Proper room construction is the key - no matter if the room is downstairs or right off the kitchen. Steady temperatures between 55 and 58 degrees and lack of light are the best ways to ensure valuable wine will be drinkable in a few years or even a few decades."

When it comes to the design of your cellar, your taste and imagination are the only limits. Meutsch says one of his customers turned a screened porch into a closed-in, refrigerated wine cellar. "The room was fully equipped with stained glass and a custom chandelier," he says. "It turned out beautifully."

Harrison's wine room also houses custom stained-glass windows and arched doors with forged wrought-iron handles. "I had my friends over, and it took their breath away," Harrison says. "It has that same effect on me - no matter how many times I look at it."

To find someone who can build wine storage, type in the keywords "wine cellar" when checking the List. Because service companies can perform a variety of tasks, you can also find them by searching a category, such as "carpentry — woodworking" or "closets."


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