Homeowners are Uncorking Their Love of Wine in Specially Designed Storage Rooms

Specially designed storage rooms enhance enjoyment of wine.
A customized wine tasting space can include amenities like a wall of wine corks, each with a special meaning to the homeowners.

Edina-based custom builders John Kraemer & Sons create in-home wine storage areas for clients whose design tastes run from light to full-bodied. “The demand is pretty high, with various levels and quality,” John Kraemer, vice president, says. Wine storage areas run the gamut between transforming dead space under a stairway to creating a destination room within a home featuring extensive storage, custom woodwork, specialized lighting and table areas for tastings.

Kraemer says owners of high-end and mid-range luxury homes expect some type of wine storage area regardless of their interest levels in wine. “A lot of the homes we build are centered around entertaining,” Kraemer says, and wine tasting can serve as a themed focal point for hosts and their guests.

Regardless of the scope of a project, Kraemer says temperature-control elements are a must for wine storage, whether installed in the storage area or in the home’s mechanical room. Some clients enjoy personalizing their wine space. One family asked that a wall be created from wine corks. “The corks meant something special to them,” Kraemer says. Other reuse/repurpose ideas have included barn wood for ceilings and walls while other clients, like Greg and Carrie Larson of Eden Prairie, sourced unique elements from around the country. The Larsons incorporated handmade arched iron doors from California into their home wine cellar.

During a major home reconstruction project five years ago, the Larsons added not one, but two, wine storage areas. The lower-level wine cellar holds 1,200 bottles of the couple’s wine collection. Several varieties of Italian wood were used to create the intricate patterns in the room’s ceiling and flooring. Waterfall display racking and multiple storing angles for presenting the wines create an artful presentation. Just off the cellar, guests can sit and sample selections at a wine tasting table. Upstairs, a wine grotto near the family room and kitchen features another set of 80 wine selections, in addition to a selection of spirits. A sound system and unique lighting are included in each space.

“Wine is very, very important to my husband,” Carrie Larson says—so much so that he uses CellarTracker, an online management tool, to track the inventory of their home’s wine storage areas. In addition, the system can recommend when a bottle is at its serving peak and provide as much or little information about selections and recommendations as desired.

These in-home destination venues simplify entertaining by providing spaces to create unique experiences for guests. And while Greg Larson’s dream of having a personal wine cellar and grotto has came to fruition, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t set his sights on yet another wine storage destination—the family cabin in northern Minnesota. “He’s beginning to wonder how he can build a wine cellar up there,” Carrie says. “Some men are into stereos, he’s into wine.”

While wine may be having its time, its hoppy sibling may soon have a moment. “With the popularity of craft beer, I can definitely see that moving forward,” Kraemer says of homeowners carving out spaces to store their best brews. In fact, Kraemer says a current client who brews his own beer is in the planning stages for a specialized beer storage space. This fresh challenge is appealing to Kraemer. “I’m really looking forward to it,” he says.