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  • Shein Design Process

    If you dream of owning a wine cellar but don’t know where to begin, you’re not alone. At Shein Design, we’re committed to making the process as simple and enjoyable as possible. We provide everything you need--from initial concept to completion. From exploring design elements, to selecting materials, to the final installation of your racking, CEO David Sheinkopf and his staff believe that creating your home showpiece should be fun and stress-free. Here’s what you need to know as you begin to think what you want in a wine cellar:
      Figure 1
    1. Size

      First, consider the size and layout of your space.

      Refer to Fig 1: With a standard steel tape, measure the distance from corner to corner at the bottom, middle, and top of each wall. Record the shortest distance for each wall. Repeat the process for your ceiling height measurement, measuring at each corner and in the middle of each wall. Once you’ve gathered that data, measure the distances around key features of the room-- including doorways (from outside the jamb), windows, soffits, and protruding wall devices. Be sure to measure their distance, on both sides, from adjoining walls and ceilings.

    2. Room Climate

      Temperature and humidity are two key factors in maintaining the quality and longevity of your wines. Ideal conditions model that of an underground cave: consistently cool from 55-60°F, with a constant humidity between 50 and 70%. Luckily, we now have the technology and equipment available to produce these conditions in your space; but, in order for the cooling equipment to work properly and efficiently, you must first ensure that your room is prepared appropriately.

      • Wall Preparation

        An efficient wine cellar needs to remain at a consistent temperature and humidity, so it must be equipped with a level of insulation, called an R-Value, that efficiently keeps cool air and humidity in and warm air out. The following elements are Shein Design's room build-out recommendation:

        • Vapor Barrier: To avoid condensation leaks, mold, mildew, and decay, your room must be prepared with a vapor barrier, or a thin sheet of plastic or coating designed to protect against escaping humidity. Place 6-8mm sheeting over and between the studs, and on the ceiling (especially in and around light fixtures).

        • Insulation: With the vapor barrier in place, you may use a variety of insulation types. We’ve found, however, that spray or rigid foam work best. This should be installed between the studs.

        • Greenboard: With the walls properly insulated, you can then cover the studs with a moisture-resistant drywall, commonly referred to as Greenboard. This will prevent possible mold and decay.

        • Wall Finish: Once the vapor barrier, insulation, and Greenboard are in place, you’re ready to finish the walls. If you’re planning to paint, remember to allow ample time for ventilation to avoid possibly compromising the quality or taste of your wines.

    3. Racking Design

      Once your room is properly prepared, you can begin to consider the style and layout of your wine racking. Deciding on a general style can help narrow the elements for your room. Such styles include traditional, contemporary, showpiece, or maximum storage. What is your goal with the room? Is the space only intended for storing wine, or will it be a place where you open, decant, and taste? Are you planning on featuring the room in home tours and spending time there with friends or relatives? Answering these important questions will help your Design Consultant offer the most relevant design suggestions.

      Furthermore, understanding the bottle sizes in your current wine collection, as well as what the collection may look like years from now, can be extremely helpful in determining what type of racking is needed. Although Shein’s standard cubicle size is 3¾ inches (which fits most 750 ml bottles), you may have larger bottles, such as champagnes or magnums, that will need an increased cubicle size. Having this information recorded before selecting racking styles will help to streamline the design process.

      • Racking Materials

        Choosing the right materials for your wine racking is crucial when it comes to building a cellar that lasts a lifetime or longer. Only woods that are naturally resistant to moisture and decay should be considered. Luckily, Shein Design offers a variety of wood and stain choices to fit a range of individual tastes and budgets, which are perfectly suited for humid environments.

        With regard to finish, your goals for the room can be an indication of what might work best. For instance, if you prefer the look of the all-heart or premium redwood, you may want to consider leaving the racking unfinished or lacquered only, as both woods are very soft and porous and therefore do not tend to stain well. If you prefer a stained look, you may want to consider hardwoods, such a mahogany or beech--not only for their natural ability to receive and showcase stain and/or lacquer, but also for their tight, even grain.

    Once you and your Design Consultant have finalized room layout, design elements, and materials, your Consultant can request a CAD drawing, which is usually completed within 3-5 business days. Along with your complimentary drawing, you will receive a detailed proposal outlining the cost and lead time associated with the proposed design. Your Design Consultant will review the proposal with you to ensure all questions are resolved.


    Shein Design is more than happy to provide installation services to those based locally in Southern California. For all projects outside Southern California, we will recommend a skilled installer in your area, whom you may work with directly.

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