Wine not?

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As the sun sets on a rather wet and overall cooler summer, most Ontarians feel cheated out of their highly anticipated, much beloved patio season.

While the outdoor entertaining time this year may have been sporadic and cut short, as we migrate indoors we can find some solace by elevating the entertaining experience and adding a wine wall to our living space.

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Acting as part storage, part design feature, there’s something about a floor-to-ceiling glass display of a treasured wine collection that says you are back in the party zone.

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Whether you are a wine enthusiast or enjoy hosting friends and family, or both, the popularity of the wine wall is gaining traction.

“Designating a space for wine storage is a common request these days as homeowners stress the importance of convenience, hosting and entertaining guests, as well as elevating their overall living experience,” says architect Andria Fong, founder of YY Studio.

Once relegated to dark basement cellars in tightly packed wood compartments, Fong has seen wine rise from the shadows into feature display walls of main rooms in both new and old houses.

“Wine walls tend to be placed by the kitchen or dining room for easy access; however, they can also be great backdrops to any recreation room or office,” says Fong.

Lately they are showing up in the most unexpected places. “I recently added a wine wall in a hallway, adjacent to the homeowner’s dining room,” says Darlene Janeiro, principal of Darlene Janeiro Design.

In this case, the kitchen and dining room didn’t have the footprint to accommodate a full-scale wine wall; however, that didn’t dissuade the client from adding one. Besides the practical storage solution, it is a coveted artistic feature that can be admired from any vantage point.

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“There is an opening from the hallway into the dining room so you see it from there and can appreciate it even though it is tucked away in the hallway,” says Janeiro.

Beyond the space considerations, there are a few technical aspects a contractor will implement to carefully preserve your collection. Like a wine cellar, which is a much more substantive and costly undertaking with an entire room in the home dedicated to wine, Janeiro advises that systems that ensure a cooling system, proper ventilation and humidity control must be in place.

However, there are two main types of wine display; one that is temperature-controlled and the other is purely for display. “The former requires mechanical cooling units more so allocated for larger capacity spaces where the walls can be insulated effectively.

“The latter has endless possibilities and is only limited to the dimensions of a wine bottle.  A wine wall could take up less than six inches off a perimeter wall in a house or act as an intriguing 16-inch partition between rooms,” advises Fong.

Whichever type you choose, rest assured that custom features such as rack systems and mirrors are what will make a wine wall unique as well as an impactful focal point. The sky is the limit, although Fong admits she finds design inspiration from the wine bottles themselves.

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“They hold key aesthetic qualities that have influenced my choice of materials for wine walls.” She cites particulars like the colour of the wine, the uniqueness of the labels, the reflective curved glass exterior. “Thin metal supports and full-height glass walls create an airy weightlessness while heavily textured wood and strong clean lines create a fascinating contract.”

Fong emphasizes that what takes a wine wall to the next-level is the lighting. “Concealed linears, controlled pin lights are a couple of examples of how to take advantage of the reflective and translucent qualities of wine bottles,” she says.

Choosing the wrong type of lighting may tamper with the correct temperature of the wine as well as harmful UV exposure. By using LED lights and adding dimmer controls, you reduce this risk and can set the mood for intimate dinners and evening entertaining.

If you’re considering adding a wine wall in your next renovation, both Fong and Janeiro agree that you don’t have to wait for a major redesign to do that. In fact, incorporating one that seamlessly fits in with the style of your home is quite common and doable.

How does Fong explain its growing popularity? “There has always been a level of emotion and intrigue associated with wine, a flavour that generates a mood, whether bright and cheerful or dark and mysterious. A well-designed wine wall can capture the character of the wine and the homeowner.”

If you think your home doesn’t have the space, think again.  Both a show-stopper and party-ready design feature,  stock up on your favourite French reds as the glistening bottles will make the perfect backdrop for your next party.

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Originally posted 2023-10-11 12:06:10.