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The Future of Wine Storage?

These days all the new wine gadgets I hear about seem to have something to do with using magnets or cosmic rays or something to make cheap wine taste better or to make young wine taste properly aged. It's pretty rare to see a major innovation in the wine world that actually represents a serious breakthrough in anything.

Which is why when someone sent me the link to Spiral Cellars, I got so excited. They seem to be a great concept. Anywhere that you can dig a big hole under your house, you can have a wine cellar. They seem to have good capacity, built in temperature regulation, and I love the idea of having access to it right in the kitchen or dining room.
Of course there are some things that need to be verified, like, just how wide are those stairs anyway? The darn thing looks awfully small and I'm imagining that it could be tough to actually reach down and grab some of the lower wines unless there's room to bend over. And then there's the issue of price, which the silly folks at Spiral Cellars have neglected to include on their web site. Which leads anyone rational to believe that they're pretty darn expensive.

And then there's the fact that they seem to be a UK based company. But how cool would it be to simply be able to lift up a trap door in your kitchen and grab another bottle? I'll tell you: really cool.

Thanks to Appliancist for the link, and to Jack for pointing me there.

Comments (10)

Rob Cole wrote:
08.16.06 at 5:37 AM

Hmmm, wonder if the management company at my apartmetn complex would let me put on of those in? Sure my downstairs neighbor wouldn't like it very much, but I don't even know her, so it's fine.

Kevin wrote:
08.16.06 at 6:55 AM

Googling found me this link, http://wineanorak.com/homestorage.htm where the price (at the time the article was written) is £7049 + VAT for the 2m deep, 1000 bottle capacity version.

I watched the installation video on Sprial Cellar's website and it was pretty darn cool. Gotta love innovative concepts like these, even if they are this expensive.

Jared S. wrote:
08.16.06 at 9:44 AM

My wife found this and we looked into it while reviewing cellar ideas about two years ago. Seemed to run about USD $10k for a bit over 1,000 bottles. We also found a few personal reviews of the cellars. Most said it was at least an acceptable setup, but complaints about actual space to maneuver were top on hte list.

Of course there are varying sizes and this is meant to make the most of minimal space, so if you select a cellar like this, you should know what you are getting.

Justin wrote:
08.17.06 at 2:13 PM

This is really off subject, but I have been wondering for awhile now what exactly is wine made from declassified barrels? I know Paul Hobbs makes some as do other wineries and interestingly enough I cannot find a google link with a very good explanation. Thanks for your help!


Ben Bicais wrote:
08.17.06 at 4:29 PM

Though it is a bit expensive that's a very cool invention and would make quite a conversation piece. I would be amazed if someone opened up a trap door like that in their kitchen to retrieve a bottle of wine from a neatly organized cellar.

Alder wrote:
08.18.06 at 9:48 AM


Off topic indeed. But a good question.

Here's my understanding, which may not be fully correct. Mostly when people use the word "declassified" they are talking about the wine itself. A "declassified barrel" is really just an amount (a barrel's worth) of declassified wine.

Declassified means slightly different things depending on where you are. In France, wine that is grown and made in a specific apellation according to the rules of that apellation gets "certified" as AOC wine. Once a batch of wine has been certified under their rules it is illegal for them to sell it as anything other than AOC designated wine. In order for it to be sold as something else (i.e. blended with other wine to make a non AOC designated wine) it has to be declassified.

In the US, it works much the same way, except there's nothing illegal about it, and often the wine is not just from a specific appellation it is from a specific vineyard. When a US winemaker decides to declassify a barrel of wine, generally what this means is that he or she has decided that the wine in a particular barrel is not as good as many of the others that might go into a single vineyard designate. Therefore even though the wine in the barrel could be bottled and sold as "The Vinography Vineyard Pinot Noir" it is declassified and blended into a batch of wine that may just end up being a regionally designated wine, e.g. "Sonoma Coast."

Honestly, the term should never be used (in my opinion) to market wine, so I don’t know how you came across it, but the short story is that declassified wine is sometimes higher quality than the average wine, as it is wine that "just barely" missed making the grade to be a single vineyard or reserve wine, or something that would generally sell at a much higher price.

Hope that helps.

Justin wrote:
08.18.06 at 10:29 AM

Thanks Alder! That was a great explanation, and for point of reference Paul Hobbs sells declassified wine through their website and it represents a tremendous value!

Thanks again for the help.

jeff wrote:
08.19.06 at 9:09 AM

I'm not really seeing how my six foot seven inch frame is going to fit into that little hole in the ground. I'd have to hire a small child to get in there...

Paul wrote:
12.11.06 at 6:04 AM

I have one of these - I'm 6' 4" and its very easy to get in and out of - its brilliant but..... its too damn warm, its 18C. They have tried to fix it but to no avail. very annoying.

Eurocave wrote:
07.11.08 at 3:29 AM

A very stylish cellar! Not sure if it's entirely practical for the average wine enthusiast. Your wine will taste better and last longer though if you do find the right solution, whether it be a cellar or wine fridge etc.

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