How Spiral Cellars are Constructed

How Spiral Cellars are Constructed

15 May How Spiral Cellars are Constructed

Today, wine collection and drinking has become a very popular in Australia. But not every homeowner has the space to allocate an entire room for wine storage. In some cases, space becomes the major factor that prevents people from getting a wine cellar installed in their home. With this in view, it’s best to opt for a spiral wine cellar– it’s compact and can fit perfectly into almost any ground floor room, and has the capacity to accommodate up to 1,800 loose bottles of wine.

The Background

This system was developed by a Frenchman, George Harnois, in 1978, who noticed that very few modern homes actually had wine cellars- but people still wanted and needed a place to store wine. Any serious wine collector knows that their collection can very quickly outgrow a wine fridge or wine racks.

The Construction Process

The spiral cellar design creates good storage conditions by using the surrounding earth’s thermal mass as natural insulation. However, it requires only a fraction of the space that any other underground wine cellar would require. What makes it an even more attractive option for wine storage is that it’s a passive unit and does not require electricity for temperature cooling, when optimally located in a south or south east facing location- which also makes it a cost-effective long term storage option. Let’s take a look at how spiral cellars are constructed:

  • A professional installation team will excavate a hole in the space that has been designated for the cellar, using a curved steel shuttering system as formwork
  • The hole is then lined with a waterproof Butyl membrane and a concrete slab poured in the bottom of this liner
  • The construction then begins as concrete modules are built up creating storage in the surrounding “cassiers” and spiral stairs around a central column
  • This central column also acts as a conduit for the ingenious passive ventilation system, which keeps the air fresh
  • Once the modules are in place, a concrete ring is poured around the entire structure and a concrete roof slab is set with the trap door in place
  • Then the finishing touches are added: Perhaps you would like LED lighting or Leather Stair treads; and then the floor surrounding the cellar is replaced
  • The entire installation is designed with function in mind but the final result is always visually impressive too
  • As you wind your way down its central stairway, you can view the rows of wine
  • Some people end up storing more than wines in these spiral cellars (on account of the cooler temperatures inside) and it can become a walk in pantry
  • An optimally located spiral cellar always maintains a cool and stable temperature
  • The simple, yet ingenious passive ventilation system means that warmer stale air is constantly and slowly replaced with cooler fresher air.
  • Homeowners can opt for hidden/flush-door versions, or can make an impressive statement with an impressive glass entrance that intentionally highlight their presence. Some are made specifically to stand-out while others will blend in seamlessly and smoothly with the flooring in that space
  • They are very low maintenance as there is no need for a mechanical cooling unit. However, if you prefer to keep your wine at a steady mechanically cooled 12C rather than naturally slightly warmer, then climate controlled options are available
  • One of the major benefits of having a spiral wine cellar is that it’s a space saver, allowing you to have additional living space above ground
  • You have the option to choose the capacity you want. The Original Spiral Cellar can hold up to 1,600 single bottles and the slightly larger White Spiral Cellar can accommodate up to 1,800 single bottles.

You can have the kind of lighting you want and “cool” LED lighting is now popularly used in wine cellars as it helps in maintaining the internal temperature. Based on what your specific requirement is, you can opt for Sisal carpet, different tread coverings such as slate-effect inlays, leather coverings etc- which adds a unique look to the installation.

The Custom Designed Wine Cellar

A spiral wine cellar is the perfect choice for people who want to store their wines properly but prefer a space saving and low-maintenance option. Since it can be installed almost anywhere, it also provides easy and quick access and is a convenient way of storing wines. If you are considering getting a spiral wine cellar installed in your home, it’s important that you contact a credible and experienced custom wine cellar company like Signature Cellars.

We will carefully consider and coordinate everything from modular storage design & dimensions, bottle sizing, the environment, capacity, location, access and stair layout and provide you the kind of solutions you need. For more information, call us on 02 9340 7515 or use this contact form to get in touch with us.

Thanks for reading,
Neil Smallman
Signature Cellars
02 9340 7515

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