Minneapolis area wine cellar expert offers advice

Minneapolis area wine cellar expert offers 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.

"Cellars round out the experience of enjoying good wine," says Warren L. Eck, president of Harkraft Inc., a company specializing in home storage and organization in New Hope. "I keep bottles from special events, write on the label and store them in my cellar. There are times when I simply go to my cellar to bask in fond memories."

Wine cellars are becoming a standard in high-end homes. "They've become somewhat of an expectation for homes valued in excess of $1 million," Eck says. "Many older neighborhoods are finding new life through updating and remodeling, and wine cellars are on the list when giving older homes a lift."

After purchasing wine during their travels, Norman and Kathy Baer of Golden Valley decided to add a wine cellar to their home. "We also use it as a tasting room and sit down with our guests to have a glass of wine around the old wine-barrel table and under the chandelier," Norman says. "Everyone thinks it's great."

Those with a thirst for fine wines can find a storage system suitable to their needs. There are many options - from wire racking for a few bottles to a complete climate-controlled room with storage for thousands of bottles. According to Eck, cellars can range from $1,500 up to $45,000.

Eck says the ideal temperature for wine storage is 55 degrees, but a consistent temperature is most important. Refrigeration and climate control should be included if you intend to age your wine, but can be left out if you're on a budget.

Instead, he suggests focusing on special touches such as a granite-topped tasting table, glass doors with vineyard etchings and painted murals to evoke the romance of the European countryside. "A wine cellar is a luxury item and should be fun," he says. "Spending a lot on environment control will limit your ability to do things that really enhance the experience."

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