The Wonder of Wine Cellars - Manalapan

It seems, now more than ever, high-end homes are becoming even more high-end. With everything from Architectural Digest and Home & Garden to HGTV and Pinterest inspiring homebuyers to get truly creative with their living spaces, there is no dearth of innovative and intriguing features present in homes on the market. And as Terri Bass, the No. 1 sales associate at Lenihan Sotheby's International Realty, asserts, there is one trend in particular that she's been noticing for years: wine cellars.

"It definitely seems to be one of the growing trends," Bass affirms. "With new construction, they're putting wine cellars in just as another part of the home. What I'm also seeing in several homes I've listed in the past year is their undergoing renovations to create wine cellars on their lower level or taking a full room on the first floor and making a wine room. Or sometimes, they've taken a closet and opened it up and put all the required equipment into it."

Bass attests that though it's been a growing trend for at least 10 years, she's seen it get more and more prevalent here in Kentucky over the last five. In fact, out of the high-end homes she sold last year - those over $750,000 - roughly 60-70 percent of them included wine cellars. And if the home didn't feature an actual cellar, they may have a wine refrigerator or what Bass calls a "wine room."

"The funny thing is I've seen a trend of it not being a cellar but of it being its own room," she describes. "It used to be that there would be a bar tucked away in the family room or something, but now, I've seen people devote a part of that area or even the entire space to wine storage."

As far as what the cellars - or rooms - actually include, Bass explains that the most important aspect is the cooling system. While most, when thinking of wine cellars, immediately think of rustic racks piled with rare and exquisite wines, the most integral facet to a wine cellar cannot actually be seen: Climate control of 55 degrees is ideal for short-term and long-term storage of wine. However, that is not to say the aesthetic is not important as well.

"They can be very elaborate and very artistic," Bass contends. "You can have everything from something that really does feel like a cellar where the walls are truly cellar-like to something very modern and all floor-to-ceiling glass."

Regardless of what they look like, however, Bass emphasizes how very important proper wine storage is to true aficionados. "It really is the perfect way to maintain the quality of your wines as best you can because what you don't want in wines is the variation of temperatures," she says. "So the consistency is the thing that's really important."

Bass can actually personally testify to the effectiveness of wine storage space as she and her husband were sure to include one in their newly constructed home. "We personally built a home recently, and what we did was we made the first room right across from the dining room the wine room," she recounts. "And there's a tasting area outside with a table and chairs and then a whole geothermal-controlled wall for about 1,000 wine bottles."

And, as Bass knows first-hand, wine cellars and wine rooms are about much more than simply keeping the quality of your wine perfectly maintained; they are part of a home's identity. They speak to sophistication and culture and are indicative of a standard of living that many aspire to.

"People enjoy entertaining in their homes," she relates. "When they have a high-end home, part of the whole idea of having it is to share that space with friends and family, and of course, wine has just taken off. It's something everybody can have and enjoy at almost any level. Some people are really true collectors and will stock their wine based on region; meanwhile, others just like to have a variety. They like for it to be like art - part of the way they entertain."

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