As any home winemaker knows, temperature and humidity control are crucial. These two elements can make the difference between a bottle that could take top prize at the WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition and a bottle of undrinkable acid.
IT professional Rob Esau likely didn’t have either of these goals in mind 8 months ago when he started making wine at home. He just enjoyed wine and wanted to give it a try. One winemaking kit soon became four, and he realized he’d need temperature-controlled storage space for 150 to 200 bottles. He was up to five wine fridges when he thought, “there’s got to be an easier, cheaper way to do this.”
Esau was lucky to have the perfect place for his cellar — an oversized crawl space off of a downstairs bedroom. The trick was temperature. Esau lives in Calgary, where “our summers are okay and our winters are freezing.” For wine, the optimal temperature is 55°F, no matter the season.
Being a tech guy, Esau first considered how he could cool his room with a trip to the hardware store. Then he came across the CoolBot on a homebrewing website and knew he’d found an easy and scalable solution.
Esau got to work. He used our Cooler Construction Guide and Wine Cellar Construction Tips to create the design. Working just on evenings and weekends, it took him about 2 weeks from starting the project to storing wine in his fully-insulated walk-in cooler.
About the CoolBot, Esau said: “It was way easier than I thought was going to be.” At first, he didn’t believe the setup would be that straightforward. But after installing the air conditioner and wiring the CoolBot in less than an hour, Esau thought, “Man alive! It’s just too simple!”
Best of all, the entire project cost less than a 200-bottle wine refrigerator.
The room is about 40 sq. ft. Between the foam board, insulation, wood, nails, insulated flooring, and air conditioner (an LG 8,000 BTU, which Esau found used on Kijiji), the cost to build the room was about $900 CDN (less than $700 USD). With the CoolBot, the total cost of the wine cellar still came in under $1,000 USD. And there’s plenty of room for more wine.
A few weekends, $1,000, and voila! A wine cellar that sits at 55°F year-round. Who knows — maybe an international wine competition really is in Esau’s future!