Sleek wine rooms fitted with state-of-the-art wine coolers are fast becoming a feature of most entertainers’ homes and a talking point for guests.
South Africans have an enduring love affair with wine. With some of the best winemakers in the world dotted around the Western Cape, it is not surprising that wine forms an integral part of our social culture. Whether it is an intimate dinner party with a few close friends, sun-downers after a long day at the office, or a good old South African braai, a bottle of wine is a given.
Every wine aficionado needs a place to store their priceless collection of fine wines, but why stop at a wine fridge when a smart wine room is an ideal place to showcase your wine savoir-faire and enjoy the fruits of your carefully curated lifestyle investment?
Dusty old subterranean wine cellars are a thing of the past, making way for modern, minimalistic wine rooms or wine walls that incorporate a lot of glass and metal. While a fully-fledged smart wine room is the gold standard, converting wasted space, such as under staircases into wine walls or glass feature cellars, is bang on-trend and right now, especially in smaller homes where space is at a premium.
Creative Wine Room Solutions
Creative wine room ideas can be fun and functional, and although it is more of a necessity in smaller homes, it can be just as effective and useful in a large mansion to store and display everyday drinking wines.
The aesthetic goal of modern wine rooms is to make the wine the star of the show. A sleek wine cooler featuring a tempered glass door, anti-fogging technology and LED lighting will show off your prized collection of wines while keeping them chilled at the perfect serving temperature. In addition to a wine cooler, inventive wine rooms not only display your best-loved bottles in style but also double up as wall art and space-saving functional decor.
Ideas for Small Wine Rooms
Glass wine cellars are great to showcase smaller wine collections, especially under a staircase and will give the appearance of floating wine bottles in a modern design setting. Metal wine racks are popular in contemporary wine cellars and create a dramatic effect in a glass custom wine cellar.
Innovative wine shelves behind glass doors – such as a peg wine rack system where bottles are supported horizontally on stainless steel or wooden pegs attached to a board on the wall – is perfect for wine connoisseurs who want to show off their wine collections in a temperature-controlled zone and is also a great conversational piece.
In short, simplicity, subtle sophistication, and deliberate use of texture and clean lines are the fundamental elements of a contemporary style of decorating. Contemporary interiors strive to showcase space rather than things.
Here are a few creative wine storage ideas to get you going:
Wine Room Under Stairs
Did you know that the space under the staircase experiences the least temperature fluctuation in the house? This stability in temperature makes the under staircase space ideal for storing wine. A metal shelf attached under a staircase is a trendy and bold idea to put your wine on display without taking up any additional floor space.
Wine Room Shelving Ideas
French riddling racks, cleverly adapted as wine bottle displays, have become popular with homeowners. Originally created in the early 1800s for the use of making Champagne, French riddling racks are perfect for showing off special bottles of wine for special occasions or of special vintages. Enclosed in a temperature-controlled glass cage, this statement is piece is guaranteed to be a showstopper.
Cork Catcher Console
If you are someone who keeps wine corks, be it for display purposes or arts and crafts, incorporating cork storage with your wine room concept could add an interesting decorative dimension. An attractive side table can be modified to store and display a few of your favourite bottles along with your hoard of wine corks in style. A cork catcher compartment behind a glass window allows you to drop corks into it like a piggy bank.
When it comes to displaying wine as wall art, the sky is the limit. Minimalist wine racking of all shapes and sizes, custom made to fit any space will show off your wine collection while beautifying your home. Think circles, squares, tall columns, or even racking in the shape of the African continent or an elegantly curved display to compliment the flow of your home. For something really different, go for a wall with round cavities in different sizes to store wine bottles.
Once you’ve run out of wall space and odd nooks to display your wines, why not take a page out of Jasmine Roth’s design book and build in a secret cupboard in the media room just for wine? Install four of five very shallow drawers, designed for the size of wine bottles, to maximise the storage space to a tee.
Setting Up the Perfect Wine Room for Your Home
Function and flow are just as important in a wine room as it is in other vital parts of the home like the kitchen.
South Africa’s extreme climate with huge temperature and humidity fluctuations between seasons necessitate climate control to keep our wines in good shape.
With a functional wine room, there is no need to leave home to have a good time and you also don’t need to worry about driving home. You and your guests can just sit back, relax and enjoy beautiful wine.
Once you’ve perfected climate control, it is time to create a space that is inviting, well-organised and a statement entertainment area.
A custom organising system is the first port of call. Think high-grade wine coolers, custom shelving and cabinets along with contemporary wine racks. Glass display walls with minimalistic racking options such as cable racking or metal racks are very popular right now.
While South Africa is still grappling with Covid-19, it is perhaps best to enjoy your wine in the open air which means separating storage from enjoyment, in favour of well-ventilated spaces.
Decorate with a bar table and stools or some stylish armchairs for serving and lounging. Barrel tables are popular in a modern farmhouse style home. They are also environmentally friendly as they allow you to up-cycle old barrels and they can be used outdoors too.
Add a selection of your favourite barware like corkscrews, wine decanters, a variety of glassware and other essential accessories as well as an ice machine so that everything is conveniently within arm’s length.
Remember, the wine must be the hero of the wine room so be sure to keep it minimalistic – do not overcrowd the wine room.
How to Serve Wine
- Be mindful of the room temperature. If you are ever in doubt, serve the wine a few degrees cooler than room temperature. This will allow the release of rich and powerful aromas as the wine warms up to room temperature.
- Decant as needed. Decanting wine will bring it up to room temperature and will allow the wine to breathe.
- Take note of the position of the wine glass. It would be best if you always poured wines towards the centre of the wine glass. It would also be best if you always poured sparkling wines against the side of the glass to preserve the bubbles.
- Always keep recommended serving temperature in mind. No wine should ever be served over 20˚C.
- Don’t forget to use the right glass. As subtle differences in glass shape can affect the aromas, flavour profile, mouthfeel, and finish of certain wines, make sure that you always use the appropriate glassware for your wine.
- Serve wine in the correct order. If you are hosting a party, you should try and serve lighter wines before full-bodied wines and serve chilled wines before those at room temperature.
- Use recommended methods to preserve unfinished bottles of wines. These include using wine bottle stoppers, wine shields, wine pumps and argon gas. These preservation methods are cost-effective and ensure the wine does not get wasted.
- Use a high-quality, reliable corkscrew. To ensure a smooth bottle opening and wine serving, make sure you to always keep a tried and tested corkscrew that you are already comfortable with.
Why is serving/drinking temperature important?
Often overlooked, the serving temperature is the key to unlocking the wine’s full flavour and aromas. Each wine has an ideal serving temperature; therefore one temperature is not suitable for all. For your convenience, we have compiled a guide for wine storage and wine serving temperature at the bottom of the page.
Suggested Wine Drinking Temperatures
19°C Vintage Port
18°C Bordeaux, Shiraz
17°C Red Burgundy, Cabernet
16°C Rioja, Pinot Noir
15°C Chianti, Zinfandel
14°C Tawny/NV Port, Madeira
12°C Beaujolais, Rose
11°C Viognier, Sauternes
7°C Champagne, Sparkling Wine
6°C Ice Wines
5°C Asti Spumanti
Suggested Storage Temperature for Wine
17 °C Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Burgundy, Barbaresco, Barbera, Barolo, Brunello, Recioto, Malbec
18 °C Shiraz, Zinfandel, Grand Cru Bordeaux, Ribera del Duero, Carmenere
19 °C Vintage Port, Banyuls, Madeira
8 °C Alsace Riesling, Italian Whites, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pouilly Fume, Pouilly Fuissé, Gruner Veltliner
9 °C Chenin Blanc, Bordeaux Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc
10 °C Chardonnay
11°C Condrieu, White Burgundy
12 °C Full-bodied Chardonnay and Graves
Light to medium-bodied reds
12 °C Beaujolais
13 °C Young Spanish and Portuguese Wines
14 °C Chinon, Sherry, Tawny Port
15 °C Light Zinfandels, Chianti
16 °C Pinot Noir, Merlot, Rioja, Bordeaux (Young)