Talking to the experts about wine cellar lighting
It’s easy to forgot about the lighting. Don’t let it be an afterthought because great wine cellar lighting is not only functional but it can be the added design element that makes your wine display Dwell worthy.
- Need more wine cellar construction guidelines? Check out our guide to building a wine cellar.
Lighting may be a necessary consideration for cellars (think darker basement rooms or shaded under-the-stairs wine walls). It may also be used to back-light bottles or as up (or down) lighting to make the tastiest part of the room also the one that draws the eye first.
We picked the brains of some the country’s top lighting experts to learn the tricks of the trade when incorporating lighting into your cellar.
Architect Mayur Modi, director of Chicago area firm of Knauer Inc., has spent 20+ years in design and has significant experience in luxe home building and many hospitality projects.
VintageView: What is the most important reason to consider lighting in a commercial wine cellar?
Mayur Modi: Alcohol sales reflect a restaurant’s profitability. If alcohol is glowing, it will be an obvious reminder and the customer will order it. It’s that simple.
VV: What technical elements need to be considered when building a wine cellar?
MM: Well-illuminated and a good cooling system.
VV: Simple enough. How do you balance aesthetics with function?
MM: Wine bottles are a major part of the aesthetics. How you best display them is the key to this. Not to mention the cabinet design and lighting. Function is achieved by making the display usable, accessible and with correct HVAC design.
VV: What are the best lights to use?
MM: We have been successful with narrow spots, no more than 2700K, high lumens, small aperture LED lights. The placement is key. One light above each row of wine bottles strategically placed so the labels glow, from top to bottom.
Erica Fisk of Wine Cellar Innovations, one of the leading wine cellar design companies in the US, understands the importance of using LEDs in the wine cellar.
VV: How did LED become the go-to lighting choice in wine cellars?
Wine Cellar Innovations: Over the past few years, LED lighting has become the standard for wine cellar lighting. LED lighting does not give off heat so that is a perfect fit for a cellar environment since the temperature needs to stay cool for wine preservation.
VV: What LED option is the most popular when you are building a cellar out?
WCI: Dimmable LED lighting. This helps to create the perfect lighting conditions to go between a cellar that is being stocked where one needs ample light to organize bottles all the way to ambient low lighting for dinner parties.
VV: What is the key to making any wine cellar standout?
WCI: Lighting effects! Low level general lighting throughout the cellar is ideal when there are areas that have artwork and or wine bottle display rows that can be highlighted to make those important cellar features pop in the spotlight. Certain types of wine racking can also be highlighted from the back with LED ribbon lighting to make the bottles glow.
VV: Which LED lights do you recommend to clients?
WCI: We recommend warm color temperature LED lighting. Led lighting can also be ordered in a variety of colors if the customer is going for a bold, dramatic lighting effect. The color of the lights and the level of the light intensity can be easily be controlled thru a remote.
Projects Pictured Designed by Wine Cellar Innovations
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Building a Residential or Commercial Cellar?
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For the Trade
Earn an AIA/ASID/IDCEC CEU while taking our accredited Modern Wine Cellar Design course (online and in-person).
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