Quick Sips — 08 March 2019
Beautiful cellars for beautiful wines

By Peg San Felippo

City & Shore Magazine

There are beautiful wines and then there are beautiful wine cellars. Here are some stunning examples.

The owners: Debi and Andy Weisman, Parkland

The Cellar: Formally an outside patio, the 16- by 12-foot, 2,400-bottle capacity area was the couple’s 20th anniversary gift to each other. They took their time in completing the construction, wanting to make sure the details throughout the cellar were perfect. Start to finish was a year and a half.

The Collection: Exclusively Red Bordeaux from 1st to 5th growths. The cellar is organized by Left Bank and Right Bank regions. Older vintages are on the lower levels of the cellar while younger wines are placed closer to the top. Andy monitors the inventory through CellarTracker, a web-based app inventory system.

The Highlights: The solid mahogany racking, the 18-inch translucent ledge that runs the perimeter of the cellar, the Chicago-brick ceiling and the arch stacked marble on the back wall.

A Challenge: Andy wanted to display bottles around the back archway upright without worrying about the corks drying out and maintaining the view of wine labels, not cork tops, throughout the cellar. “When Andy asked us to do upright display mounting we were very aware in making sure the wine would not be compromised,” says Jake Duquette, President of Wine Cellars International LLC, Fort Lauderdale. “By pitching the bottles at a 13-percent angle they are still inverted enough to keep the cork wet and you can see the complete label.”


The owners: Nona and Andrew Schor, Palm Beach Gardens

The Cellar: Configured under their staircase, the 7- by 10-foot design was a combination of Andrew wanting functionality and Nona looking for architectural and artistic accents for their living room because they entertain frequently. The entry door is on the backside of the stairs coming from their office. Less visible from the living room, the majority of the storage is designed to be on the entry side. The space can hold up to 600 bottles. The build out took just under four months.

The Collection: While the couple has a variety of wines from around the world they are partial to Champagne and wines from Napa and Sonoma.

The Highlights: The illumination of the entire cellar, with an emphasis on lighting, gives the bottles a “see-through” imagery. The racking and overall blue lighting give a contemporary feel and add a beautifully subtle dimension to the living room.

The Challenge: To accommodate as much storage as possible without making the cellar look crowded. Also installing optimum lighting without adding heat to the area. Nona had originally looked on Pinterest and other websites to find design ideas and came across some photos from Dragon Cellars located in Delray Beach. Al Fuentes, President and Designer of the company, has all racking and most other major elements for his clients custom made in Spain and shipped to Florida.  “Because of the irregularity of the space due to the stairs every rack had to be cut to a different size,” Fuentes says. “The Schors wanted the area to be ecstatically light and bright with a traditional flow as part of the living room. So we made all the racking out of light metal and acrylic. To give the bottles as much illumination without adding heat we used red, blue and green LED strips. This gives them the option to change the lighting color if and when they want.” Fuentes also suggests to his clients to leave at least 15 inches between the floor and the first shelf or rack for case or large format bottle storage.


Waterfront home in Boca Raton’s Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club (pictured above)

 The Cellar: The 8- by 8-foot floor-to-ceiling glassed area was designed to showcase the home’s open floor plan while providing a buffer between the dining and family great rooms. Its 480-bottle capacity consists of 10 double-loaded glass and stainless steel racks that hold 24 bottles on each side. Planning and designing the cellar took four weeks, ordering the materials and the construction was another month.

The Collection: The European owner enjoys high-end, full-bodied reds from France, Italy and Napa. Originally the cellar temperature was planned as a dual zone system to accommodate white wines on the lower levels and red wines on the upper racks. However, his affiliation with red wines weighed in on the final decision to have the cellar exclusively climate controlled for only reds using a RDM cooling system.

The Highlights: The view of the cellar as you enter the home from the front door, with the bottles appearing to float in the air; and the four lacquered white columns, created by Hevolus in Italy.

The Challenge: Keeping the Italian contemporary flow was a priority for the architect, but so was maintaining the integrity of the owner’s wine collection. “Today’s lifestyle is about open concept in homes, especially in entertaining areas,” says Mark Jansheski, Design Coordinator of The Sarkela Corp., which built the home. “The glass showroom display case design of the cellar offers visibility through the rooms. While the area adds an artistic component to the home, we knew it had to have the functionality of a premium wine cellar. So we constructed it with double-pane glass and the door has a perimeter clear rubber seal to maintain consistent temperatures inside.”

Peg San Felippo is a certified sommelier and has served as a judge on the American Fine Wine Competition, South Florida’s home-grown national wine event.


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