Here at Rosehill Wine Cellars, we make all types of wooden wine racks in our modern woodshop behind our Mississauga showroom. Our facility is equipped with every machine and tool required to make wine cellar visions come to life. Our skilled staff is comprised of …
Author: Rob Campbell
What I learned while hosting a blind tasting (wine taste challenge) with foodies. Wine tastings are not about drinking lots of wine per se, but rather more about smelling and experiencing the subtle flavours present in each glass. Sommeliers taste wine in four distinct phases. …
There’s a science to selecting the right wine cellar cooling unit, even if you’re refrigerating a smaller space that doesn’t require much cooling. Part of maintaining a healthy home is to design energy efficient living areas, and if your wine cellar cooler is too big or too small then it’s probably inefficient or in-optimal for the task of keeping your wine stored at the perfect temperature. Also small storage spaces can have annoying cooling units that are too loud, or too inaccessible, or they vent in such a way as to make standing in the cellar uncomfortable.
Select the Best Small Wine Cellar Cooler Unit for your Space
Small cellar managers don’t need to worry so much about calculating the heat load of their wine storage space, or charting the changes over the course of a hot summer days and cold winter nights. With a small space the load is pretty constant and manageable. That being said however, cellar owners should decide on the best type of unit for the intended application. They should know the various styles, sizes, capacities and venting options of all suitable solutions, and then decide on the proper make and model. Wine cellar cooling units come in four different styles, and each type employs a different refrigeration methodology or ducting pattern:
Self-contained (the evaporator and condensing unit share the same housing)
Fully ducted self-contained (the unit is fully ducted – instead of being mounted in the cellar, it is installed elsewhere and the air is “conducted” in and out of the cellar)
Split system (the evaporator is in the cellar, and the condensing unit is outside or in an attic or adjacent utility room; a line set connects the two halves of the system)
Fully ducted split system (the evaporator unit and condensing unit are both separate and ducted – instead of being mounted in the cellar, they are both installed elsewhere, and the air is “conducted” in and out of the cellar)
The cooling fans inside self-contained units and non-ducted split systems will generate noise. If you prefer a quiet cellar environment, you should select a fully ducted system. And fully ducted cooling units allow more versatile installation options as well, but they can be more complicated to access for routine maintenance.
Cellar Pro 1800 Series Wine Cooling Unit
The CellarPro 1800 wine cooling unit series was designed for cabinets and small spaces. This popular model is 18″w x 16.5″d x 10.5″h and is a good fit for both residential and small commercial cellars or dining establishments where there’s a lot of foot traffic at mealtimes. This unit offers a choice of top or rear hot exhaust. If the unit’s location does not provide sufficient room for airflow, you may need to purchase a rear duct kit. These cooling units can be installed above the wine cellar when used with our front intake hood. They can also be installed completely inside the wine cellar when used with our rear duct kit, which allows supply and return air flows from the rear of the cooling unit to be ducted up to 100 equivalent feet (50 feet per duct). Energy-saver mode, quick-chill mode, and auto-defrost cycle provide convenient solutions to common cellar needs.
CellarPro cooling units are designed to operate in environments ranging from 40 to 95 degrees. For installations in environments down to 20°F, we recommend adding our compressor heater modification to the cooling unit. Below 20°F, the cooling unit’s performance will begin to degrade.
This unit has cooling capacity for cellars that are 200-400 Cu. Ft.
CellarPro 1880H Houdini was introduced in 2018
The new CellarPro 1800H (the Houdini) is shorter, narrower and longer than the other 1800 series cooling units. It was introduced in 2018 and marketed by the company as “the first cooling unit specifically designed for glass-enclosed wine cellars“. This factoid is on their website. It is designed for wine cabinets or cellars of up to 200 cubic feet.
The highly versatile Houdini can be installed inside the cellar, above the cellar, in the ceiling or in the next room. It may also be partially or fully ducted. Ambient temperature range is 40F to 95F. By adding low ambient accessories, the unit will then tolerate cold as low as -20F. The removable power cord can be plugged in from the rear or the side of the cooling unit. The unit includes a three amp receptacle for power (eg to a light) inside the cellar, and it includes a fresh-air filter for easy maintenance and upkeep.
Breezaire Compact Series
Breezaire WKCE Compact Series Cooler Units are smaller-sized cellar cooling units that blow the cold air out the bottom. The air flow direction makes them ideal to be installed in cabinets or narrow width spaces. Compact units can be configured with hot air blowing out the top of the unit as opposed to at the back which is standard. The fresh air intake is still needed at back of unit so plenty of room is needed for air circulation or perhaps a wall-cut to access adjacent space.
Breezaire is sometimes selected by cellar owners because of its attractive metal cabinet that blends in with the decor of their cellar area and can be flush mounted to any wall. Another popular selling feature is their easy installation. Breezaire’s most popular wine cellar cooling systems are completely self-contained modules that are simply mounted in a wall and connected to a standard 115AC source (230V/50Hz also available as special order). No plumbing, no complicated wiring or special procedures are required for on-site installation (you may want to prepare for a drain line). (Split system requires professional installation by a licensed refrigeration technician). Units are shipped from the factory fully charged and ready for use when mounted in a wall and connected to 115 AC volt source.
Two Breezaire Compact Series models available for capacities of up to 265 cubic feet.
Koolspace KoolR 600
Are you looking for a real quiet wine cellar cooling unit? This make and model is the standard for which others measure the noise of their products. The KoolR Plus (Magnum) Wine Cooling Unit (KoolR 600) leads the industry in efficiency, power and quality. Koolspace, koolR™ may be a good choice for a small spaces.
Ideally, koolR / KoolRPlus Magnum units should be installed above the cellar door as they need air circulation around and below the unit. The cooling unit’s rear end conveniently monitors the temperature inside your wine cellar with a digital display. The koolR & KoolRPlus (Magnum) wine cellar cooling units come with an off-white colored front grill which can be painted any colour to allow the back end of the device to blend-in with existing decor.
The units come standard with a High-Temperature Alarm. The system’s electronic controls come with advanced EMI / RFI filters. EMI Filters, or electromagnetic interference filters, also called RFI Filters or radio-frequency interference filters, are an electrical device / circuit that mitigate the high frequency electromagnetic noise present on the power lines.
WhisperKOOL Mini Split Wine Cooling Unit
WhisperKOOL Platinum Mini Split is a compact wall mounted wine cellar cooling unit that cools wine cellars up to 500 cubic feet.
The Platinum Mini Split is small and compact, yet powerful and quiet. This efficient wine cooling unit can cool rooms of up to 500 cubic feet. It’s a good choice for a converted closet, pantry, and or economical wine cellar. As with all of the Platinum Models, the Platinum Mini Split comes with our most advanced controller and gives the user complete control over their cellar environment. If you don’t mind seeing the grill of your cooling unit in your cellar, a wall-mounted split system is what you need. If you prefer your unit to be out of sight, you should get a fully ducted split system.
The Platinum Series of split systems allow you to decide where the evaporator unit and the condensing unit will be located. The condensing unit can be located up to 100 feet away from the evaporator unit. The evaporator unit will be mounted in the cellar, or it can also be located nearby with air ducting.
Please note it’s strongly recommended that buyers also purchase the exterior housing with the WSSMINI regardless of positioning. Without the housing, the inner fan is exposed. There is no additional delivery cost if the housing is ordered with the cooling unit, while there will be a delivery fee if the housing is ordered separately afterwards.
A Ceiling-Mount Mini Split is also available where the evaporator may be fully or partially recessed into the ceiling for a very discreet appearance.
Maintaining Your Wine Cellar’s Chill
After a wine cellar has been built, regardless of its size, volume and material specifications, the time will still come when regular inspections are needed to keep an eye on its integrity and make sure you’re not inadvertently cooling down your entire house or restaurant. Even giving the unit a good vacuum occasionally will help to clear any build-up.
During wine cellar inspections, the use of thermal imagery can determine whether the conditions of the cellar plus the wine cooling unit still provide the ideal environment for wine storage.
Liebherr Group is a manufacturing juggernaut with German origins that has been making wine fridges since the early 1990’s. Initially they only created large refrigerators for high-end restaurants, wineries, and hotels, but it wasn’t long before public demand for their commercial refrigeration systems found them …
Wine collectors sometimes refer to their rare vintages as treasures. So it only makes sense that some wine cabinets should look like fortified treasure chests (they do), and some glass-enclosed wine cellars could be made to look like silver jewellery boxes. This is just what …
Add Classic Decor with Howard Miller Wine Furniture
For many good reasons, a wine cellar is NOT the best room in your house in which to conduct wine tastings. It’s just too cold to be comfortable, and too small to be accommodating. Your wine cellar is probably not furnished with comfy chairs or couches, and so there’s likely nowhere to sit down or relax. And it’s dark down there, and turning on the lights is not recommended. These are the most obvious reasons homeowners don’t host wine tastings in wine cellars. With all your eggs in one basket, why put your wine at risk? Human bodies affect temperature and humidity. They change the lighting and make vibrations just by talking loudly and stomping around (looking for a place to sit down) and even worse, strangers have the tendency to touch the bottles.
How is a wine room different than a wine cellar?
A wine room denotes an area of a modern residential home which is just like any other room, except that wine is stored here in climate-controlled wine cabinets, and possibly there is some furniture for people to sit around and enjoy the wine. A wine cellar by comparison is a purpose-built dimly lit refrigerated room for aging wine that has no accouterments for human comfort or wine appreciation.
If you do a search on the words ‘wine room’ on Wikipedia, you’ll be directed to their wine cellar page. That’s because few humans really understand the difference. At Rosehill Wine Cellars we believe a wine room is very different than a wine cellar.
A wine room denotes an area in a residential home or business where wine is stored in climate-controlled wine cabinets. Wine rooms themselves are set at comfortable 72 degrees Fahrenheit – room temperature. And the space often is furnished with tables, chairs and couches and the walls decorated with suitable artwork. Strangers are welcome to sit in the wine room and admire the wine collection that is safe behind glass in wine cabinets and wine refrigerators in that room.
A wine cellar by contrast is a specially contained area in a home or business that exists behind an exterior quality door. The dark and chilly room is specially designed for long-term storage of wine. It may have an attractive glass door, but the space inside is likely off-limits to unaccompanied strangers.
What is a Wine Tasting Room?
A commercial wine room is often called a wine tasting room and is generally focused around a walk-up bar counter where staff offer guests small samples from a list of products produced by the featured winery (and usually for a fee). Wine is poured by staff that has been trained in the particulars of that operation’s products and production practices. In most tasting rooms, the proprietors encourage the tasters to keep their glassware which generally has the name of the brand stenciled on the side. Destination marketing is more important than ever for modern wineries targeting tourists and hoping to make a memorable brand association. Instead of promoting just the wine cellar door there’s a need to broaden the offering and this includes upscale tasting room experiences. We can learn from the wine industry as we design comfortable wine tasting rooms in residential houses.
Ideas for Decorating Wine Rooms
Generally speaking, the wine collector’s own wine cabinets and wine fridges are the star attractions in the wine room. The exception to this rule is when the room has a fancy bar or another visual amenity, but in general the wine storage device is the central item on display and arguable the most important thing in the room.
Howard Miller’s beautifully crafted line of spirits and wine furniture offers a variety of styles and sizes of wood wine cabinets including a cleverly designed line of hide-a-bar cabinets. Please note these cabinets are not climate controlled but they are handy for storing amenities like openers, special glassware and wine glass coasters.
Below is the Shiraz Wine Cabinet, by Howard Miller. This is a Hide-A-Bar ™ wine cabinet console with raised door panels allows ample room for wine and spirits. The center console of the cabinet features a lazy-susan style door that spins like a secret panel to reveal additional storage.
Because there are so many styles of wine cabinets available these days, it’s easy to find a unit that matches your design theme. Below is the Howard Miller Walker Bay wine cabinet which is a popular choice because its weathered, ‘driftwood finish’ (its name inspired by the natural yet rustic nature of reclaimed wood) matches lighter coloured walls and looks perfect in cottages and rustic decor themed homes.
This portable, Hide-a-Bar cabinet is finished on all sides and features cane mesh panels on the two front doors, and a veneered flat panel on the back. Four casters allow the homeowner to easily move the piece and place it either against a wall, or in an open setting where it can be accessed from all sides. The cabinet doors have antique bronze handles.
There are Howard Miller wine cabinets with an art deco theme or all-wood construction or stainless steel finishes, but if you’re starting from scratch it might help to start with the best fitting furniture pieces, regardless of style, and then design and match the decor of the rest of the room around that centerpiece wine cabinet.
Two temperatures are sometimes required in wine rooms. One cabinet maybe set warmer for immediate serving temperatures, while another compartment or separate machine may be set for colder temperatures to better accommodate long term wine storage requirements.
Wine Glass Racks and Wine Glass Caddies for Wine Tasting Rooms
In a wine cellar we talk about wine racks for bottles, but in a wine room we look for racks for glassware. Wine glass racks should accommodate at least three different styles of wine glasses, but we have laid out four different categories below.
The wine glasses in your wine room are very important. If you stock and serve red wine in your tasting room, you may consider buying premium glassware to help set the proper tone at these special occasions.
Zalto Stemware is made to very high standards in a boutique glassblowing factory in Austria, and because of its fine lines and the company’s attention to detail, the brand is widely praised in Europe by wine professionals and journalists. Glassware matters: Some researchers believe as much as eighty percent of what we taste happens in our nose, not on our tongues. If your guests can’t smell the wine they’re drinking, then they’ll not be able to properly taste it. So your wine glasses need to be the right shape to accommodate the bouquet that comes in every bottle.
Four Types of Glassware in the Wine Room
Red Wine Glasses
Red wine glasses are easily identified by their spherical bowl shape. They are often the largest type of wine glass because the larger bowl enhances the bouquet and flavor of red wines.
White Wine Glasses
White wine glassware has a slightly longer stem, more upright, with a smaller more U-shaped bowl as white wines do not need to be aerated as much as red.
Sparkling Wine Glass (Flute)
Sparkling wine glassware is commonly referred to as “flutes” or “champagne flutes”. This type of wine glass is typically used for all sparkling wine and not just champagne. With its long stem, the flute is tall and narrow. This design is necessary as the extra surface area within the glass helps capture the carbonation and retain the flavor.
Dessert Wine Glass
Dessert wine glasses are smaller than other types of wine glasses. Common glasses for dessert wines are sippers, port glasses and sherry glasses. The main characteristics that these wine glasses have in common is their small, compact shape that will help accentuate their rich aromas and sweet flavors.
Wine Room Furniture Improves Tastings
Depending on your lifestyle, your wine room can be a highly social environment with a custom bar and stools, or tables and chairs, or it can be more intimate; two armchairs by a fireplace works equally well as the perfect setting for pouring and tasting fine wine. Whatever the case, you need to make sure it has style.
Howard Miller, the famed American clock-making company has also manufactured high quality furniture for wine rooms since the mid nineteen seventies; they make wooden cabinets, and tables and chairs that are iconic and have over the last forty years come to signify the quintessential style of a classic American wine rooms.
Howard Miller – Niagara Games Table is a classic hexagon shaped Pub & Game Table that has a durable clear coat for wear protection. There’s a non- refrigerated cabinet in the base of the sturdy table. Its hexagon shaped top comfortably accommodates six people and features six full-extension drawers. Each drawer holds beverages and snacks and includes a removable sandstone drink coaster to absorb moisture. The reversible top features cherry veneers in a sunburst pattern on the dining surface side and a Texas Hold ‘Em pattern on the lounge side. Below are the chairs that could be matched with the table (the Niagara Club Chair in the center is the match to the Niagara Games Table above). All photos of Howard Miller furniture have been used courtesy of Howard Miller USA.
Barware, corkscrews, glass decanters and other accessories
Widely used by restaurant and bar professionals, the Classic Gold colored Pulltaps corkscrew is made with a double lever design. This design feature allows any bottle of wine to be uncorked in two steps without damaging or breaking the corks.
Proper Lighting, Lamps and Sconces
Unlike the cellar where the overhead lighting is subdued to protect the collection, a wine room in a residential home can have wide open windows and bright lights, but often just the opposite is true. Wine tasting rooms set the mood with stone fireplaces, artwork, bookshelves and proper furniture.
Forgotten Furnishings in Wine Tasting Rooms
Silver spittoons scale-up sophistication in wine tastings
Every tasting room needs a proper spittoon for people who wish only to taste the wine, and not consume so much they become inebriated. The best spittoons are made of silver which forgives everyone involved because of its semi-precious composition, history and tradition.
Rosehill Wine Cellars distributes authentic Oenosablier spittoons, each of which is laser signed L’Oenosablier as a mark of authenticity and to signify that this sturdy hourglass-shaped wine spittoon and not simply a wine spitting bucket. It’s L’Oenosablier.
The spittoon is designed for wine professionals and connoisseurs and is available in three styles.
Because of its universally recognized classic style, the Oenosablier wine spittoon easily and quickly transforms an ordinary meeting into a professional tasting event.