Expert Guide to Custom Wood Wine Cellar Doors

If you’re one of the more than 60 percent of Canadians – about 17.5 million people—who enjoy wine every month, a wine cellar in your home is purposeful. But wine cellars are shifting from functional storage areas into gathering places where friends and family share good wines and create memories. Now, shouldn’t a place that holds your treasures have a statement entrance? Wood wine cellar doors come in a plethora of designs and styles, so you can choose custom doors that match the uniqueness of your wine collection. 

Why Build a Wine Cellar?

Beyond providing a focal point for your home and a place to store wines, a wine cellar offers several advantages:

  • Preserving (and improving) wines. Wine cellars create the perfect environment for ensuring that wines retain their taste. The solid, dark, cool, dry structures give you a stable place to keep your wines. Some wines flourish over time, with quality, flavour complexity, and aroma maturing into a better experience.
  • Direct access. When guests arrive unexpectedly or the weather turns inclement, you can eliminate trips to the LCBO. A wine cellar provides a convenient source for choosing the bottle that fits the occasion from your collection and the comfort of your home. All you have to do is open your wine cellar door and play the perfect host!
  • Inventory management. As your collection expands, a cellar gives you a space to organize and monitor your wines. The wine cellar gives you room to apply shelf labels and sort bottles for immediate consumption vs. maturing varieties.
  • Cultivating expertise. The proximity of your cellar gives you a front-row seat to witness how wines age over time. You’ll have first-hand knowledge about when wines peak and how taste evolves each year. If you decide to buy and sell wines, your savviness about provenance and bottle condition will increase your credibility with auction houses or wine shops.
  • Cost savings. With space behind the wine cellar door to store cases instead of bottles, you’ll save money when you decide to purchase a special reserve wine since many sellers offer discounted pricing for bulk buys.
  • Investing opportunities. You’ll have the right conditions to maintain the quality of vintage wine, preserve it until it peaks, and then sell it for a profit to another collector. Assuring potential buyers that you’ve kept wines properly will increase their interest and the value of your collection.
  • Home resale value. Although luxury homes may have a wine cellar as a standard feature, incorporating one into your existing home can add beauty and value to your property.

The design and appearance of your wine cellar can create a stunning visual experience for visitors and provide a space to entertain with, learn about, and collect wines. But the functionality of the cellar, including the custom door, is essential to delivering a delicious (and safe) wine.  Here are guidelines to help you design a custom door for your wine cellar that welcomes your guests and helps protect your wines. 

The Role of a Wood Wine Cellar Door

Your wine cellar prevents harmful external conditions from harming your wines.

  • A solidly built wine cellar minimizes the vibrations that can dull the flavours of your wines.
  • The cellar also offers protection from the light, which affects the compounds in the wine and leads to changes in colour, aroma, and taste.
  • The door to your wine cellar plays a pivotal role in sealing the space. It prevents air inflow and outflow, temperature fluctuations, and variance in humidity levels, factors that can cause a wine to degrade and bottles to expand, contract, and leak. 

How to Choose a Wine Cellar Door

Although your wine cellar is an interior space, the door must withstand the elements. You’ll need a solution with many of the characteristics of an exterior door.

Elements to consider when selecting a custom door for your wine cellar include:

  • The door material, such as wood, glass, or metal.
  • A wood wine cellar door made with hardwoods like mahogany or red oak will resist decay and add minimal odour to the cellar.
  • Mahogany offers robust stability for your wine cellar door. The wood absorbs stain well.
    • Red oak is a dense wood and provides beautiful colours.
    • Chestnut, red alder and sub-alpine fir are also options that perform well.
  • A glass door for a wine cellar must have sufficient thickness to prevent air movement. Insulated or thermal glass offers more protection, especially with double or triple panes or a vacuum between panes. Incorporating an etched tempered glass pane with a custom design can add artistry to the wine cellar door.
    • Galvanized, insulated metal will also offer protection, either as a solid door or a material surrounding insulated glass.
    • Iron is another metal used on wine cellar doors, typically as a decorative addition to a wood or glass door. Some designs occasionally mount iron doors in front of a glass door for additional security.
  • The door frame needs to be sufficiently substantial to support the weight of the wine cellar door. In addition, the structure should help create the airtightness you need to restrict airflow in and out of the wine cellar. 
  • Frames should include weather stripping around the entire entryway to seal out air.
    • The bottom of the wood door frame should have a robust threshold or sill plate.
    • And a sweep at the bottom of the frame prevents air movement between the door and the threshold.
    • Some manufacturers offer an automatic door bottom, a horizontal bar fitted across the end of the door. The bar automatically returns when the door opens and drops when the door closes, effectively sealing the door and preventing elements from filtering into the wine cellar. 
    • The best installation for a wine cellar door involves framing that hinges tightly into the entryway, with nails or screws affixing the frame into the structure’s studs. 
  • The wine cellar door dimensions reflect the size of your cellar entrance.  Larger openings can support a glass or wood door with insulated panels on the sides. 
  • The additional glass panels offer extra security and showcase the wine cellar’s interior features such as wine racks, tables, chairs, or lighting.
    • Remember that glass doors (and windows) allow some degree of air migration, so more glass will require more energy to maintain your wine cellar temperature. Check the energy efficiency of the glass to inform your decision.
  • The door swing is typically into the wine cellar because the space’s cooling system creates pressure and a more robust vacuum seal. Work with your door manufacturer and wine cellar designer to ensure the door swings unencumbered by deep wine racks. Ideally, you must have at least 13.5 inches or 35.3 centimeters to the left and right of the entryway to accommodate the depth of wine racks. If your space is less than ideal, have the wine racking stop between 12 and 18 inches (30 and 45.7 cm) from the door.
  • The door locking system is a vital component of your wine cellar door. You’ve invested significant funds in your wine collection and the cellar, and the door’s security is essential. You have several methods to secure the door, including:
  • A standard lock-and-key
  • A deadbolt
  • Keypad locking systems
  • Fingerprint recognition systems
  • Mortise locking systems

If you choose a wood wine cellar door, a mortise lock is a powerful solution that aligns with the warmth and style of wood.

  • Your style extends to every area of your home, including your wine cellar door. Investing time to select a door that aligns with the look and feel of your home’s architecture and interior design will deliver a wonderful experience for you and visitors to your wine cellar.
  • With wood wine cellar doors, you can incorporate carved designs to customize the entryway.
    • A wide range of stain colours and finishes lets you match the door of your wine cellar with the colour palette of your home. 

Working with a Professional Wine Cellar Door Manufacturer

The wine cellar door is an integral component of the design and construction process. A manufacturer with wine cellar door design, build, and installation experts will ensure your wood wine cellar door maintains the wine cellar environment with beautiful results. 

  • Look for a manufacturer who can provide a detailed plan (often computer-assisted drawings (CAD)) and complete the design specifications for your wine cellar door.
  • Verify that your vendor has the experience and appropriate licensing to install doors for wine cellars.
  • Discuss the construction methods the manufacturer uses for wine cellar doors. One of the oldest techniques is mortise and tenon, which provides extra support, strength, and structural integrity for heavy doors. 
  • A joint connects the wood pieces of the door. The process starts with a hole (the mortise) bored into the plank.
    • Then, the manufacturer inserts a tenon cut to fit the hole, forming a solid joint.
  • Make sure you review the installation process, including framing, lock installation, staining, or finishing.

Why Partner with Master Doors Canada for Your Wood Wine Cellar Door

Master Doors’ artisans follow a detailed process to build and install your custom door.

  1. Design. After measuring and evaluating the entryway of your wine cellar, we design and draw the project plans, then review with you to ensure we’re meeting your expectations.
  • While a single door provides functional beauty, you can also explore a double-door style. Double-door designs have an inner glass door for climate control and visibility without entering the wine cellar. The solid wood outer door provides additional insulation, security, and artistic flair to the cellar.
  • You also have design alternatives with the door shape that you can match to your wine cellar’s style. Do you have a modern or contemporary space?  A square wine cellar door is a great solution. But an arched door provides a unique, elegant, almost old-world charm.
  1. Wood Selection. We discuss wood species and collaborate with you on the most desirable wood for your cellar. Our team carefully chooses the wood and handcrafts your custom door. Doors are available in either 1.75” or 2.25” thicknesses with 1.75-inch solid wood frames and thresholds.
  2. Artistry. If the door design includes glass or other artistic elements, we’ll review the type and style you’d like to add. Choose a design imprinted into a tempered glass that creates a seamless textured pattern with the durability and security you need in a wine cellar.
  3. Hardware. We’ll review the hinge and lock styles and finishes that fit and enhance your wine cellar door. With mortise locks from Emtek, you’ll get a custom design for features like knobs, levers, rosettes, and finishes and a lifetime warranty. 
  4. Stain. Stains for solid wood doors are available in colours to match the wood, such as pecan, walnut, or oak to complement the wine cellar’s exterior. We’ll review the types of stains to find the right solution for you.  For example, you have more colour options with water-based products, but oil-based ones penetrate the wood more deeply, enhancing the natural wood grain of your door.

Are you building a wine cellar or upgrading your current wine cellar door? The team at Master Doors Canada provides exceptional design, build, and installation for wood wine cellar doors. To get started with your custom door project, contact us online or call us today at (647) 699-4657.