How to Convert Your Closet into a Wine Cellar

Wine ages best when it’s properly acclimated, with temperature and humidity controlled to ensure that tannins do not flourish and potentially overpower base notes. For homeowners who are budding oenophiles (that’s Greek for “lover of wine”), you may want to learn how to turn a closet into a wine cellar. 

Steps to Turn a Closet into a Wine Cellar

A wine cellar doesn’t need to be a large space. Your professionally converted closet area likely offers enough space to preserve the wine. That is, as long as you take certain precautions.

1. Space 

Take into account the square footage, available space, and the number of wine bottles you want to store. An unused master closet should provide you with plenty of room to store your wine collection. 

If you need to move items out of one master closet and into another to create enough space for your collection, make sure you know the best master closet organization tips to help keep your space functional and prevent it from feeling overcrowded. 

You’ll also want to make sure the closet you choose is in an ideal area. Closets attached to inner walls are best because those attached to an exterior wall are subject to temperature fluctuations, which can potentially ruin the wine. 

Make sure to choose a closet that’s away from strong sunlight or in a shaded area of the house. Low-traffic areas are also ideal because your wine won’t be constantly exposed to sunlight or temperature fluctuations. You don’t want to use a closet that your family is opening every other day in search of something. 

2. Temperature

Make sure you discuss creating a custom wine cellar with the professionals. At Harkraft, we understand the nuances of preserving good wine, and we have the skills and experience to create a custom wine cellar in your home while taking all the necessary precautions to ensure your new wine storage looks great and functions perfectly!

Do I need a refrigerator for my wine cellar?

Yes and no. If it is a very small closet, you can easily control ambient temperatures without the use of a refrigerator.

For red wine storage, the best temperature range is about 55 degrees Fahrenheit, with very few temperature fluctuations throughout the year. 

One of the benefits of professional installation is that you can request a new electrical outlet inside of your closet––this allows you to power a necessary wine cooler refrigerator.

Cooling kits can also be installed directly into the closet to help regulate temperatures. Humidifiers specifically made for wine preservation are now compact enough that they can fit into small closets. Too high of a humidity level can cause the cork in the wine bottle to mold, potentially destroying the wine. 

However, if humidity is too low, a cork may dry out and affect the taste of the wine. A self-regulating humidifier will ensure proper levels in the closet-turned-wine cellar. Since closet-sized cellars aren’t as large as traditional room-sized cellars, controlling all metrics for ideal wine preservation and tasting becomes easier.

Do I need to insulate my wine cellar?

If you decide to use refrigeration, it’s important that the doors are properly insulated. This will save electric costs: temperatures will be concentrated due to the absence of drafts or air leaks. If you’re going to use lights in the closet-sized wine cellar, then note that the type of light bulb that you use can give off high amounts of heat.

This isn’t usually a problem in larger wine cellars, but it may pose a problem in smaller, closet-sized spaces. To control ambient temperatures, switch out halogen light bulbs for LEDs. LED light bulbs are not only cost-effective but also generate less heat.

3. Shelves

Once your new wine cellar is properly insulated, it’s time to move on to the main event: which shelving will you choose? Professionally installed plywood is a popular choice for wine storage. Mounting counters will provide flexibility and adaptability to any future changes or additions to the cellar. 

However, you can get custom-made shelves, and wine racks will allow you to specify dimensions, being particularly beneficial for collectors who manage a specific type of wine or spirit. And you aren’t limited to plywood as an option. 

While not traditional, wire shelving works wonderfully for storing large quantities of heavy items. Plus, wire shelving doesn’t warp or mold, so it’ll help maintain a clean environment for your precious collection. 

Converting Your Closet Space to a Wine Cellar

Wine cellars can be a fantastic way of adding character to a room since they can act as a conversation piece as well as a viable way of preserving your precious wines for social gatherings. 

However, they tend to be particularly difficult for people who want to convert a closet.

A closet and a wine cellar are built for different circumstances, with closets providing storage for clothing and wine cellars offering a temperature-controlled, humidity-controlled room designed to preserve the integrity of wine. 

Depending on the setup, a wine cellar may need additional refrigeration, an aspect that a closet may not be able to provide. Also, doors and entryways to closets have room to be drafty: cool or warm air will not damage clothing. 

With a wine cellar, entryways need to be properly sealed to keep conditions at their optimum level. That means that converting a closet to a wine cellar can potentially require renovation and initial gutting of the closet space.

More Wine Cellar Ideas

Looking for more wine cellar ideas? Check out all our blogs and wine cellar tips and tricks