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Stellar Cellars

Fine Wines Get a Room of Their Own

Home wine cellars can be set up for thousands of bottles, for serious collectors.

Home wine cellars can be set up for thousands of bottles, for serious collectors.

When asked what dessert Americans would prefer a friend or family 

Serious wine connoisseurs don’t just have a bottle lying on a shelf in the refrigerator. They treat it right; even revere an excellent vintage, with a room of its own. 

Dan and Patty Winter are on their second home wine cellar.

“We put one in our previous home  (in 2003) and we loved it so much, we put one in when we built our new home” in 2014, Dan Winter says. “It was kind of a new thing then,” but now they wouldn’t want to be without one. 

He stores his “modest collection” of about 350 bottles in the 57-degree temperature-controlled room, with LED lights highlighting the shelves and illuminating the labels of his favorite French, Italian and American wines. 

With the resurgence of the economy and of building new homes and remodeling existing ones, at least one company is finding that the Winters aren’t the only ones indulging in the trend. 

Wine Cellars & Storage of Colorado, based in Parker for 25 years, has done more than 2,200 wine cellars all over the country, but mostly in Front Range homes. That includes “quite a few in Colorado Springs,” says owner Mike Dunkel. 

Though he sometimes works with builders, most of his clients are private homeowners, like the Winters, looking to take it to the next level in their romance with wine. 

Projects can range from a simple $2,000 racking system that will organize your overflowing collection to a spectacular $90,000 room that will house 15,000 bottles of wine and serve as a showpiece of your home, he says.

The cost depends on the collector’s needs – how much refrigeration, what type of racking system or specialized lighting (in-rack or behind racks), for example. You can even get a computer to help you find just the right bottle in your cellar.

Most are carved out of space in basements – “that’s what people think of when they say ‘cellar,’” Dunkel says. But they also can be installed on main levels, near the kitchen or dining room for convenience. 

All projects, big or small, are custom-designed for the homeowner’s space and needs, Dunkel says. 

“We usually do racks in redwood or mahogany, because they resist dry rot and mold, but we can do any wood the customer wants,” he adds. 

The company even has a sommelier on staff who can help a budding collector choose some wines that are drinkable now and some that benefit from being properly aged, he says. 

As for the Winters, they already know what they like and love taking guests down to the wine cellar for a tasting of their latest finds.

“Patty really wanted a special place where we could do that,” Winter says of his wife. “We love it.” 

member bring to their house for a holiday dinner, the top three choices were: