Building a simple wine cellar

Isn’t this what the reserves option is for? :joy:

Every time I think about buying new wine, I go into the cellar and ask myself “where am I going to squeeze those bottles in?”, and the urge declines (very slightly).


The facility of putting a mixed case of six into reserves has proved to be a bit of a disaster for the bank account.

Very cunning, TWS.


Looking at the above I think the £13K build cost could be dwarfed by the contents used to fill it with 1000+ bottles to offset TWS storage costs.

Looks like a more complex calculation is needed taking in average wine bottle cost, wine price appreciation and average consumption.

Also with the above comments there are other factors. When I had adequate space under the stairs it worked well until two things happened in my life. 1) Studying WSET examines increased interest and purchases 2) Finding TWS community which ignited wine purchasing until wine purchases spilled over into a) garage b) TWS reserves.


@EagleOwl I’m keen to find out how your cellar does in terms of temperature. I know nothing about building but what is the temperature difference between the bottles at the bottom and the ones at the very top? I also wanted a spiral cellar and have been put off by the cost. The one at the TWS showroom looks deeper than 1.9m
Good luck!

When doing some work to the back of my house in west London I took the opportunity to dig a hole under what was to be the kitchen floor (at that point it was outside). The main reason was to locate a water tank & pump for a sprinkler system, but why not make it a bit bigger to take some wine, I thought? I was v cautious with adjacent foundations so it’s not that deep: 1.1m from floor level, 0.9m actual height under the joists. It’s ventilated by one air brick to the exterior. You can certainly feel the cold air come in from that.

Air temperature down there now is 14.5º, outside is 9º, with the winter room temperature above anything from 18º to 20º, depending on time of day/night, & thus central heating level. Lowest winter temperature down there has been circa 13.5º, summer is usually 16-17-ish, peaking at 19 when outside was at its hottest. I found blocking the air brick by day in the hottest times in summer helps.

Of course this is the air temperature. My best wines, such as they are, are boxed and sit directly on the concrete slab, the temperature of which is, of course, more stable, providing a radiator in reverse. It feels a tad colder nearer the bottom than the top, especially in summer, but I’ve not measured that. I imagine the modest depth means it’ll not actually be that great.

If I had my time again I would not have put any insulation under the concrete slab (I think it was 2" of Kingspan), and probably could have eked another 6" or so in depth - for space, that is. Not sure I’d have done it all had it not been for the water tank, the cost of the wine storage area adding only circa £200 in materials & labour to the total, but also that was 10 years ago, & my wine buying was a lot different then, not least because this community was a few years in the future . .


Thanks for all the comments. Here are some photos of the cellar being built.


Hi. The cellar had the vinyl flooring laid this week, but i haven’t got wine racks and wine in there yet, and only put a thermometer in for the first time yesterday (13oC +/- 1oC so far over the last 24 hours). But the room above it hasn’t been heated this weekend as the glue on the new vinyl floor is curing and hence the room above is cold. So jury out yet whether the temp will be stable in the cellar.


One of the key drivers of me spending £13k on the cellar was not the counterfactual of storage costs elsewhere, but rather the fact that over the last few years i have kept wine in my dining room. This has meant that the heating has been off in this room all the time and it has therefore been pretty much unusable as a dining room, or even as an office. Having a cellar means the dining room will now be useable again - a huge plus. This was what ultimately swung the decision.


Sorry to hear this, sobering story. Wishing you all the best.

I asked the builder for a hole 2m x 1m x 2m deep, and ended up with a cellar that is about 2m long, 0.95m wide, and 1.85 high (just enough to stand upright with small amount of head clearance). Air circulation is passive, a couple of vent pipes running through the cellar wall about a meter down horizontally out under the deck.
Not looked into insurance…no contents yet.

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Thank you so much for sharing this build, I’ve long dreamed of doing something similar (albeit a bit bigger and under a garden rather than an extension).

If you have any more photos of both build process and finished cellar, I would be very grateful if you could share them, its fascinating to see projects like this.

With regards to the tanking, how did you (or the structural engineer) consider what was required? Did you use or consider any other measures like french drains, sump pumps etc.? I can see a cut drain pipe at the house end of the build, did that need diverting?

Thanks in advance!

Hi, afraid I lost a bunch of build photos when updating my phone so don’t have more, but will post some finished photos soon - once the flat pack furniture that is currently stacked on top of it is moved.

Update on the temp in the cellar, it has not moved outside of a 12.3 to 13.0oC range over the last 10 days when i put the thermometer in there. The room above is not overly heated at the moment, in the 16 to 19oC range and the outside temp has varied during this time from 0 to about 14oC.

The cut drain pipe you can see at the house end is a bit of a mystery - it appears to be long defunct. The pipe you can see on the right hand side when facing the house had to be diverted a little to fit around the cellar.

As for tanking, they first lined it with a plastic liner outside the blocks, which only helped a little bit as it inevitably got pierced I guess in a few places during the build and kept filling with water. So they bailed it all out, used a blow torch to dry the sides and quickly applied some kind of rapid setting cement/sealant. They then rendered it and painted it. It seems to have worked, but it does mean I cant put fixings into the side walls or floor, at least not below the first 20cms say of the walls from the top. I was keen for the whole thing to be passive without electrical cooling or pumped drainage. Only time will tell whether or not I have been successful.