Your email is safe with us & never provided to 3rd parties.
Vapour Barrier Outside Insulation
The average wine cellar might cost between five and fifteen thousand dollars to install and will house between 25 and 50 cases of wine. Say you fill it with some decent wines and the average case costs you $600. Over the course of your cellar’s life, it could easily hold $100,000 worth of stunning wine from holidays, events and gifts. Taking care of your liquid investment is your responsibility as a friend and lover of wine! Having a wine cellar that’s showy, that’s easy. Having one that works, is magic!
Fundamentally, insulation can be the most limiting factor in the function of your wine cellar. R-value, or the thermal resistance value of a material is a critical rating. If the walls don’t reach an R-value of at least 20, and the floor and ceiling don’t reach at least 30, there will be cold air lost to the rest of the home. Your cooling unit will have to work a lot harder to keep the cellar at 13-15 C, the optimal resting temperature for wine.
In addition to proper insulation, vapour barrier is needed in the walls. The vapour barrier should be installed on the warm side of the wall, so if you stand inside your cellar and count the layers from the drywall of the next room, it should go: drywall of next room, vapour barrier, insulation, drywall of cellar. Vapour barrier will act as a guard for the drywall. Because of the cool air in the cellar and the warm air in the liveable room next door, condensation can build up.
If the moisture penetrates the drywall, mould will grow and the cellar and neighbouring rooms will have an unpleasant funk…not to mention, MOULD IN YOUR HOME!
Occasionally owners change their mind during a build, and a room that was meant to be an enormous theatre, might get divided into a medium theatre and a medium sized wine cellar. Hopefully this is decided before the radiant heat is installed in the floor, and the concrete poured. Radiant heat in a wine cellar is a big No-No. Sometimes, the heat is zoned so that the floor in the cellar can be shut off with minimal effect to the rest of the home. Whatever you do, do not heat the floor.
The moral of the story is insulation is your insurance in the walls of a wine cellar. As you have likely discovered some way, some how, in your life, when you don’t have insurance, something is bound to go wrong. It’s Murphy’s Law! So be a friend to Murphy and be sure your walls and ceiling are insulated properly before you go laying rock or tile or other gorgeous finishes in your cellar.
Be sure to call 1 888 400 CORK, for a complimentary consultation before starting your wine cellar project. Mention this article by Ruth for a complimentary gift! Happy Cellaring!
Add a cherished room to your home without dipping into your children’s college fund or taking out a second mortgage.
Come up with a list of criteria for your space.
For example, what capacity do you need? 300 bottles or 800? How important is display?
Is your room highly visible from the outside?
What is the overall look of your home and how should that be communicated in your cellar? Is your home contemporary or traditional?
What is a realistic budget?
*Vintage View Racking*
With a bit of initial brainstorming, the design and materials selection process becomes effortless.
For the most budget friendly solutions, consider the Vintage View racking mounted on the wall. We stock the Vintage View racking at our show room on the North Shore. Because we order in bulk we can pass on substantial savings to our clients. The wall mounted option is compatible with decorative tile or stone wall treatments, and provides an effective design solution for the budget conscious.
If metal is not the look you’re after, consider our modular wooden racking solutions. We offer three styles with over 20 different wood types and stains. Our modular units can be mixed and matched to create any look. Include the ever showy lit arch way, or the wooden case storage shelves, or vertical columns with display rows.
*A Modular Racking Solution*
All these modular options come in at a fraction of the cost of custom wood racking.
Things to avoid in your cost effective cellar design:
1) Drawers, although beautiful, will always be custom and pricey.
2) Custom stain matching. If your wooden racking needs to match other cabinetry or finishes not offered in the modular program, the price will go up.
3) Glass. Shelving and enclosures made of glass will almost always be custom solutions, and although stunning, there is a cost associated.
Preparations to manage cost:
1) INSULATE & VAPOUR BARRIER PROPERLY! This simple task will allow a cooling system solution to provide temperature control with ease. The R Value drops drastically without proper insulation, requiring a much more robust cooling unit to maintain the temperature.
2) Choose an exterior grade door with a solid core, double glazed insulated glass, drop sweeps and weather stripping.
3) Make sure prepared spaces are to the correct specs. When an installer shows up to begin work, he will first measure, and if he has to re-frame for a unit or some other preparations need to be set up before installation can begin, labour costs will soar.
We have solutions for tricky spaces, small spaces, large spaces, modern spaces, traditional spaces and every space in between. Call us and mention this article today for a COMPLIMENTARY CONSULTATION and FREE GIFT!
More than any other room in the home, the wine cellar brings character and atmosphere that speaks volumes about it’s tender. Like a library, your wine collection grows with you. As you travel the world you bring home sentimental bottles, that unlike a miniature spoon with the Italian flag on it, you can consume with friends and reminisce in a year or ten. You can point out the family crest on the bottle and recall its symbolism. You can nudge your travel partner and relive the day you visited the winery and how the heat made oils volatile from the ongoing olive harvest, and how the outdoors smelled like a rustic Italian cucina.
Ten years from then, when you visit Italy again with your children, maybe you reach for the Amarone instead of the Chianti and set a date, when they turn 18, you will share that bottle and relive this adventure. We all cellar for similar reasons, and the way we enjoy our cellar, as a room in our home, is mostly the same. We like to see materials that remind us of the places we’ve been to collect. We like to show off our favorite bottles and park the large format bottles where we can be reminded of the upcoming celebration where we will get to pop the top. We generally don’t spend much time inside our cellars, but the space around it is often positioned to look on or in and allow for a seamless part of the entertainment space. One thing to remember is, the bottles must be at an angle that keeps the cork moist. The labels will be harder to read with many racking solutions, but the preservation of the wine must be foremost. Of course you are welcome to stand the bottles up for the party, but don’t forget to lay them back to rest afterwards.
Ready for Insulation and Vapour Barrier
The important elements of a wine cellar functioning properly are inevitably the least sexy parts of the cellar. The dreaded cooling unit for example is potentially the least attractive part of the cellar. The ducting has to be hidden in the ceiling and the walls. The grate on the front has to be unobstructed to provide sufficient air flow. Depending on the unit you select, there might be an element you can see from outside your home. Depending on your budget, all these elements can be addressed. For the cooling unit to work successfully, the walls and ceiling must have been insulated and vapour barrier installed properly, and the exterior grade door must have been selected with care. The room must function as a micro climate, and therefore be cut off from the rest of the home. You can absolutely use big glass doors, just choose exterior grade doors, with solid wooden frames and correct casing to keep the climates separate. With these small hurdles overcome, a thriving wine cellar can be enjoyed for a lifetime of hobbying and entertaining alike. Please contact us at Blue Grouse Wine Cellars for further assistance designing your space.
Mention this blog article for a FREE GIFT and a COMPLIMENTARY CONSULTATION today! Posted by Ruth Sanborn
Enjoy a big, bold glass of red? How about a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon made from the region’s finest grapes?
If so, you don’t have to buy a California-made wine; it’s being produced right here on Vancouver’s north shore!
California Cult Classics is pretty much exactly what it says on the bottle: a Napa Valley winery making cult wines. Grapes come from some of Napa’s top vineyards including those tended by the legendary Andy Beckstoffer. Many of these same grapes are used by prestigious Napa Valley producers such as Schrader, Beringer, Stag’s Leap and Duckhorn.
Pretty neat, eh? But what’s even neater is that California Cult Classics is a members-only U-Vin facility where you can get involved in the wine making process. Another benefit to its U-Vin status: none of those hefty liquor taxes. California Cult Classics makes wines for around $40/bottle (you purchase by the quarter, half or full barrel).
So you’ve got great grapes but that’s just one part of the top quality wine equation. This is where Frank, Kelly and sophisticated wine making equipment come into play. Frank Gigliotti, the winery’s proprietor has been making oustanding wines for 26 vintages. Alongside Frank you’ll find Kelly Symonds who’s been with the winery since 2008. Kelly brings valuable experience as former winemaker for the Okanagan’s Hillside Estates winery. She also contributes a strong scientific background, having earned her degree in enology from the University of Adelaide in Australia.
Then you’ve got the equipment and materials used to make the wine. Fermentation takes place in climate-controlled steel tanks. All wines are aged in custom-toasted Seguin Moreau oak barrels that are only used once. Bottling takes place on an $83,000 nitrogen-injecting machine. No expense is spared in the making of these amazing wines.
Impressive credentials aside, everyone here at Blue Grouse is a huge fan of this winery and is happy to sing its praises.
Interested in learning about the opportunity of membership with California Cult Classics? Let us know. We are happy to arrange tours, and of course, come along for the tasting
This past weekend we spent at the Vancouver Convention Centre, participating in the Vancouver Home and Design Show. It was a great weekend for us, meeting a number of fellow oenophiles and discussing potential wine cellars.
This year, we decided to update our display and include a glass wine cellar with floor-and-ceiling mounted Vintage View wine racking. This is a style we’ve been installing for customers quite a lot lately and based on response, that trend will continue.
It seems that the organizers of the show agreed that our display was a stunner, presenting us with the award for Best Medium Space, beating out anywhere from 100 – 150 other displays!
Check out some of the photos below and be sure to get in touch if this idea excites you as well. We’re happy to offer a free consultation and quotation for your own version of the glass beauty.
If you’ve been researching climate-controlled wine cabinets you’ve likely come across some with a single temperature control and others with two temperature zones. So which one is right for you?
It basically comes down to the following questions:
1) Are you storing your wine long or short-term?
2) Do you want to have your wine ready at a serving temperature?
3) Do you collect both red and white wine or are you partial to one or the other?
Short-Term vs. Long-Term Storage
All wines (both red and white) should store long-term at the same temperature (a constant 14 – 16°C or 50 – 55°F ). This helps them mature at the right speed and keeps the corks from expanding and contracting, causing oxidization. Long term exposure to temperatures that are colder than this causes corks to harden and lose elasticity which results in broken seals, stale wine and sparkling wines without their sparkle. If you plan to store your wine for longer than 3 – 6 months, a single temperature zone wine cabinet is recommended.
Short-term, wine can be stored at a cooler temperature without a negative effect, therefore, a dual zone wine cabinet would be suitable.
The Convenience of Serving Temperature
A dual temperature zone wine cabinet offers convenience when it comes to white wines. Store them at a serving temperature (or very close to – not all white wines are recommended to be served at the same temperature, ie. Chardonnays at 12°C, Champagnes at 6 – 8°C).
Because of the convenience factor, dual temperature zone wine cabinets are popular with restaurants or in kitchens where wines are frequently selected at the last minute.
Reds and Whites in Your Collection?
I personally, do not discriminate when it comes to red vs. white wine, but some people have a preference. A dual temperature zone wine cabinet is really only useful if you collect both red and white wines. The white wines would store in the cooler zone and the reds in the warmer zone.
If you collect only reds or only whites, stick with a single temperature zone wine cabinet.
Dual Zone Wine Cabinets Available from Blue Grouse Wine Cellars
Single Temperature Zone Wine Cabinets Available from Blue Grouse Wine Cellars
My husband and I were looking for something fun to do a couple weekends ago, so we figured we’d head across the border and check out a couple Washington wineries. The plan was to go just for the day and return that evening – not a great idea with weekend border-crossing traffic, I must admit.
Border-crossing aside, we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon with visits to Willowtree and Mount Baker Wineries. We tasted some nice wines (including a very pleasant Pinot Gris from Mount Baker for only $7.99!) so we decided to bring a few bottles home, despite the fact we had no duty-free allowance (1.5 litres per person after 48 hours out of Canada).
I’ve heard that importing wine to BC can be costly but had not been able to find a reliable resource online to tell me exactly what to expect. So I’ve decided to share the breakdown so you can make an informed decision next time you decide to bring wine into BC.
Disclaimer: I am not a representative of the Canada Border Services Agency and am not claiming to be an expert on importing wine. Below is simply a breakdown of what I paid for the wine I brought across the border.
I claimed $68 USD (converted to $67.18 CAD) worth of wine.
- Excise Tax ($0.62 per litre – I had 4.5 litres) of $2.79 was added to create a new base value of $69.97
- HST of 12% was then calculated on the base value = add $8.40
- An 85% Provincial Mark-up was then added to the base value = add $59.47
My Total Payment to Canada Border Services Was:
Excise Tax: $2.79
Provincial Mark-Up: $59.47
So basically, the cost of my wine more than doubled when it crossed the border. The provincial mark-up had to be the biggest surprise.
Note: I had heard through the grapevine that the provincial mark-up maxes out at a certain value (ie. more expensive wines weren’t fully subject to an 85% mark-up). I wanted to learn more about this so I called and spoke to arepresentative at the BC Liquor Distribution Branch. According to her, my sources were incorrect. It doesn’t matter if the value of your bottle of wine is $5 or $500, the full 85% provincial mark-up applies (I should point out that I’ve read conflicting information stating the mark-up maxes out at $12.75/bottle, so take that for what it’s worth). She also shared with me that even if you are willing to pay the fees, a consumer has a limit of 45.45 litres (or 60, 750 ml bottles) of wine they can legally bring into BC at a time.
So will I bring wine across the border again? In most cases, probably not. I suppose if I found a phenominal bottle I couldn’t buy back home I might change my mind but for anything less, forgeddaboudit.
Above is a copy of my receipt for my payment to the CBSA for the wine I imported to BC.
I remember attending a first-year university biology lecture focused around the health benefits of certain foods. My professor treaded lightly when it came to the topic of red wine. I recall paying close attention as she advised that a glass of red wine a day was actually good for you. I also remember the lecture hall buzzing with reaction. It was then quickly qualified for us that a glass a day must be exactly that: you couldn’t save up a weeks’ worth of glasses and cash them in on Saturday night and expect any sort of healthy benefit
Recalling this lecture many years later, I decided to look further into the health benefits of wine (both red and white). Here are some of my findings:
The health benefits listed below apply to a maximum daily consumption of one 5 oz glass of wine for women or two 5 oz glasses for men.
- Turn back the clock. The antibody produced by grape skins (only used in production of red wine), Resveratrol repairs skin cells and acts as an antioxidant to reverse the aging process. A 2003 Harvard study even found that it extended the life span of yeast cells by 80%! Resveratrol is absorbed through the gums so whether you’re drinking or just tasting the wine, you’ll enjoy the benefits.
- Keep your heart and brain healthy. The alcohol present in wine (red and white) raises your good cholesterol and thins your blood. It can also prevent or postpone the onset of Parkinsons, Alzheimers or other forms of dementia. The Resveratrol in red wine helps with heart health too, preventing blood clotting and plaque that can clog arteries.
- Prevent cancer. That amazing Resveratrol comes into play again by blocking the formation of cancer cells.
- Ward off ulcers. Moderate consumption of alcohol was proven to ward off peptic ulcers and bacteria suspected of causing them in a 2003 study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. Note: overconsumption had the exact opposite effect.
One of the most interesting studies I stumbled across in my research is known as the “French Paradox.” In this study by a Bordeaux scientist, he compared the incidence of heart disease in the French and British populations. He noted that both countries consumed fairly high-fat diets but the French had much healthier hearts. He attributed this to their higher consumption of wine and its risk-reducing benefits.
How wonderful to discover that something I enjoy may actually be good for me! Now I’m just waiting for those kinds of studies to come out about Mars bars…
Spring has finally sprung in Vancouver (we’ve now had about 5 whole days without rain – believe it or not!). Following the theme of the season, we’ve decided to do a bit of clean-up and clear-out some of our stock.
If you’ve got some wine that needs a home and you love a deal, check out the following clearance items:
- 1 N’Finity 170 Dual Zone Wine Cabinet (Stainless Steel Frame) with a small scratch/dent on the bottom of the door. ($250 off and free shipping/delivery within the Greater Vancouver area. A total savings of approx. $600!)
- 1 Build-Your-Own Single Wine Cabinet (dark walnut finish) that was a floor model at the BC Home & Garden Show – only displayed and switched on for 5 days. This cabinet is undamaged and runs perfectly – its just used up a couple months of its warranty. Save yourself the trouble of assembly – a $160 value! (Only available in the Greater Vancouver area due to packaging constraints. Local delivery at no charge – an additional value of approx. $150)
- 1 WhisperKOOL Slimline 2500 wine cellar cooling unit. This was intended for use in one of our wine cellar projects, but alas, it did not quite fit the space provided. We’ve been holding onto this one for awhile and now it’s time to clear it out. If you’ve got room to install above your wine cellar door and no more than 350 cubic feet to cool, this could be a great deal for you. ($250 off plus free delivery in the Greater Vancouver area – now only $1,245)
Please note: Clearance items are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact us asap with questions or to place an order.
What are Biodynamic Wines?
Can a cow horn full of manure make your wine taste better?
Ok, I’m not suggesting a food and wine pairing (and I’m sure you wouldn’t have followed that suggestion anyways), but rather exploring the practice of biodynamic wine making.
Biodynamic agricultural practices are used in hundreds of vineyards around the world. The belief of supporters is that it makes for better quality wine that’s more expressive of its terroir (place of origin, texture, flavour and aroma). Sceptics view it more as mystical hocus pocus. Those in the middle believe the amount of attention it requires of the winemaker is at least a side affect that improves quality.
Breaking Down Biodynamics
Biodynamics takes organic growing a step further, factoring in cosmic influences as well as how all living organisms affect the vineyard. All pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers are banned. Biodynamic growers follow a calendar based on cosmic rhythms for guidance on when to plant, prune and dig.
Here are the steps they follow:
Step 1: Cow horns are filled with cow manure and buried in the vineyard through the winter and dug up in the spring. The manure is mixed with water and sprayed over the soil in the afternoon.
Step 2: Cow horns filled with ground quartz are buried in the vineyard through the summer. The horns are then dug up and their contents mixed with water and sprayed over the vines at daybreak
Step 3: Yarrow flowers are inserted into a stag’s bladder, German chamomile flowers into a cow intestine and dandelion flowers into a cow peritoneum. Both are hung out in the summer sun then buried through the winter and unearthed in spring. The flowers are then added to the vineyard compost mixture.
Step 4: Stinging nettles are buried in the soil through summer, unearthed in autumn and then added to the compost.
Step 5: Oak bark is inserted into the skull of a farm animal, buried through the winter, dug up and then added to the compost.
Step 6: Valerian flower juice is added to the compost.
Step 7: Common horsetail is then made into a tea or liquid manure mixture and added to the vines or soil.
Is Biodynamic Wine Better?
I know I don’t have an opinion on it and have to admit I’m probably not aware most of the time if the wine I’m drinking was made by biodynamic processes or not. I’m going to start paying attention though and let you know if I notice any patterns or trends.
The experts seem to be divided on this issue; however, a blind tasting conducted by Fortune Magazine had seven wine experts choosing biodynamic wines over their counterparts nine times out of ten.