Building Private Residential Wine Cellars and Fumoirs
A New Era For This Age Old Pastime
We are entering in to a new era for the private residential wine cellar and smoking room. These highly individual spaces are increasingly being used as a place in which to gather friends; a social hub. Those with the resources can create a statement environment in which to host wine tastings for friends and associates and combine this with an elegant cigar lounge. We are asked to design these spaces for contemplation and relaxation combining a sense of ceremony with harmony. We created a wine room with humidor for a client, developing a vaulted environment reminiscent of a great wine house in the Bordeaux region. Humidifier shelves were incorporated to house the client’s rare and specialist cigars and the Cognac and Armagnac collection was contained within an elegant bar, giving the required shade and ensuring a constant temperature is maintained.
These projects are not for the faint hearted; a fully air conditioned and humidified environment requires significant funds, they are technically challenging builds and require specific heat sensitive lighting and are often subterranean which involves creating a dedicated showcase for rare wine vintages alongside the tasting area with space for the sommelier to perform his rituals. It is rather akin to a theatrical setting for a favoured performance where the guests are the players and the space is the stage. It’s tremendous fun developing these areas with clients who are passionate about the process of the design.
Sometimes, clients ask us to dedicate a part of their cellar to their whisky collection and they ask what complexities might be involved. Luckily, as distilled spirits, not fermented wines, bottled whiskies are not subject to anywhere near the same amount of considerations that wines are. So there’s really no need to worry about temperature, humidity, angle of storage, or any of the other details that dictate how wine should be stored. In fact, it leaves us open to a lot more opportunity in design.
“If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking and loving, you don’t actually live longer; it just seems longer.” Clement Freud