New Wine Room Design

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Raptor99

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I am in the process of designing a new wine room and I thought I'd ask for your suggestions. We have a space at the back of the garage that is set up as an exercise room, which we don't really need. We plan to move in interior wall to make it a bit wider and will end up with a space that is about 12' x 8'. Our house has a heat pump, and according to the former owners it is capable of supporting another head. So I think we can put a heat pump head in the wine room for heating and cooling. Of course we will need to add insulation.

What I know I need:
  • Large sink with hot and cold water
  • Lots of counter space (probably at least 12')
  • Shelves for supplies, empty bottles and carboys
  • Wine bottle rack
  • Exhaust fan
  • Refrigerator and small microwave
  • Plenty of electrical outlets and lights
I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on what you would include (if possible) when setting up a wine room. If you have a wine room or would like to have one, what would be the most important features?
 

ChuckD

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I have been planning a home addition for years and should be pulling the trigger next year. Being in a northern climate, it comes with a basement. I hunt and fish a lot so I had originally planned to add an outside entry to the basement with a restaurant sink and some counter space for game processing, fish cleaning, and canning produce from the garden. Since being bitten by the wine-making bug It will now be used for wine making as well.

I plan on picking up a used stainless restaurant sink with two or three large basins and a drain board on at least one side... preferably both. I plan on putting it in a corner with plenty of counter space and a rolling stainless steel table that I can position where I want it. The basement will have poured concrete walls and floors. I plan on painting/coating the walls, putting dairy board on the ceiling, and installing a floor drain near the sink. A refrigerator is a must, and a cooktop would be nice as well. I have an existing underground cellar that I have been outfitting for wine storage/aging and in my fevered dreams I'm considering putting an access from the new basement to the cellar since there will only be about three feet of earth between them.

Right now my wine making is confined to a seldom used basement bathroom so if I can manage half of this it will be a major improvement.

ETA: Oh yeah, and an exhaust fan
 

ratflinger

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Double sink, I am always glad I went with that. High shelves, especially if you have Better Bottles. It's no issue to store (empty) them high. I also have mid-high shelves for the small stuff. Got small wire baskets to hold the small stuff. Don't get a small bathroom exhaust fan, get a high CFM fan. If you have a vac or wine pump, I put mine on a cart so I can roll it out of the way. Don't forget the high quality water filter unless you like lugging bottles.

BTW - you want more counter space, my wine room is 8x10 and I managed to cram 17 feet of counter space in, wish I had room for more. 10' on one side, 7' on the other, with the double sink in between. I don't have to move too far to reach any of my supplies or equipment. My cart sits at the end of the 7' side, which lets the door open maybe 3/4 of the way. If you get the SS tables like I have, you can store bottles on the bottom. If you want full carboys on the bottom then you need to brace the shelf. Carboys are below the max weight, but the lower shelf will still bend. Oh yeah, paint the walls burgundy - the mess won't be so apparent.
 

ChuckD

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I found some commercial shelving two years ago that a store was throwing out and snagged that. I also found the perfect commercial sink last year on Craigs list but I had no where to store it 😢. I do see them listed fairly regular when I look though.
 
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I also vote for a double sink. I installed the deepest stainless steel sink and tallest faucet I could get so I could fit buckets into the sink. A used restaurant sink would be better, as it's probably larger.

I installed a faucet in our kitchen that has the sprayer built into the normal faucet. If I replace the one in the wine area, that's what I'll install.

Build a section of your counter at a slant so sediment can fall to the lowest part of the carboy. This can save wine when racking off the lees.
 

Raptor99

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Double sink, I am always glad I went with that. High shelves, especially if you have Better Bottles. It's no issue to store (empty) them high. I also have mid-high shelves for the small stuff. Got small wire baskets to hold the small stuff. Don't get a small bathroom exhaust fan, get a high CFM fan. If you have a vac or wine pump, I put mine on a cart so I can roll it out of the way. Don't forget the high quality water filter unless you like lugging bottles.

BTW - you want more counter space, my wine room is 8x10 and I managed to cram 17 feet of counter space in, wish I had room for more. 10' on one side, 7' on the other, with the double sink in between. I don't have to move too far to reach any of my supplies or equipment. My cart sits at the end of the 7' side, which lets the door open maybe 3/4 of the way. If you get the SS tables like I have, you can store bottles on the bottom. If you want full carboys on the bottom then you need to brace the shelf. Carboys are below the max weight, but the lower shelf will still bend. Oh yeah, paint the walls burgundy - the mess won't be so apparent.

It sounds great. Please post some pictures!
 

Raptor99

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@ratflinger and @winemaker81 you both mentioned a double sink. Some people on this forum mentioned that they are using a large laundry sink. Do you think that a double sink has significant advantages over that? Either way, I need a sink large enough for 5 gal buckets and carboys.

I will keep watch on Craig's list for a commercial sink.
 
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@ratflinger and @winemaker81 you both mentioned a double sink. Some people on this forum mentioned that they are using a large laundry sink. Do you think that a double sink has significant advantages over that? Either way, I need a sink large enough for 5 gal buckets and carboys.
Mine is large enough to drain a 7.9 gallon primary upside down, and easily fits a carboy, and can soak 8 bottles in one side of the sink. The advantage of a double sink is you can do 2 different things at the same time.

On the flip side, laundry sinks tend to be deeper, so you can completely submerge larger objects.

Unfortunately, fiberglass laundry sinks can't handle abuse the way stainless steel can. Circa 1990, an acquaintance dropped a full carboy in a laundry sink -- the carboy went through the sink and shattered on a cement floor. This turned me off the idea of a laundry sink, as if I lose grip on a full carboy, I'll be replacing the carboy and wine, not the sink as well, and cleaning up less mess. [It's entirely possible that today's laundry sinks are sturdier, but I have not researched it.]

YMMV

sink.jpg
 

Rocky

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I am not trying to debate the merits of a laundry sink vs. stainless steel. I have a double thermo plastic laundry sink which I installed in place of the single sink provided by our builder. We did some remodeling on our kitchen and I kept the "goose neck" faucet and installed it on the laundry sink. I can easily fit a 6-gallon carboy in the sink for cleaning or even a fermenting bucket. Works great for me and it is likely a less expensive alternative. The sink in the picture is about 10 years old. It cleans up nicely and I don't worry about banging glass against it.

I bought the sink at Home Depot: MUSTEE Utilatub 40 in. x 24 in. x 33 in. Thermoplastic Floor Mount Utility Tub in White-27F - The Home Depot

100_1832.JPG 100_1835.JPG
 
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I have a double thermo plastic laundry sink which I installed in place of the single sink provided by our builder.
That looks sturdier than the laundry sinks I'm familiar with, although I can't recall seeing one that has been built in the last 15 years, so my knowledge is out of date.

This raises a design consideration -- what space will the sink be placed in? I built an 8' counter and mounted the SS sink it, while Rocky has a free standing space. The situation will drive which type of sink to get, regardless of material.
 

Raptor99

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This raises a design consideration -- what space will the sink be placed in? I built an 8' counter and mounted the SS sink it, while Rocky has a free standing space. The situation will drive which type of sink to get, regardless of material.

My goal is to build the sink into the counter.
 

ratflinger

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I'll get some pics of my room loaded, but yeah, I think double sinks almost a 'must have'. Really makes bottling simpler for me. I have a bottle washer in the 1st sink, 2nd sink has EasyClean in it, then to a manual sprayer with no-rinse chlorine sanitizer, and onto the bottle tree. My sink is one of those thermoplastic units, but I have moved to a no handling full carboys routine. The only time I manually move carboys is when they are empty, and then just to clean.
 
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My goal is to build the sink into the counter.
I tried homedepot.com, looking at utility and double sinks. The price on some of these made me cough up a lung.

Try your local home improvement stores, and check if Habitat for Humanity has one of their stores local to you. Get the biggest one you can, as you'll be using it for a long time.
 

ChuckD

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A group I belong to runs a food stand at the Lambeau Field and they have a stainless steel three-basin sink labeled wash/sanitize/rinse with a three-foot drain board on each end. This is my ideal sink for the wine room. I would settle for a two-basin model. Take it from someone who worked as a dishwasher in a restaurant when young... tall back splashes, an overhead spray nozzle, and drain boards are the bomb.
 

Rocky

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My goal is to build the sink into the counter.
You might consider using legs on the sink even if you build it into the counter. Belt and suspenders!

Also, a drain board is very helpful as others have stated above. I just use a crude rubber kitchen drain board that has a slant to it and the excess water runs into the sink. You can see it on the right of the first picture above.
 

Vino Ventures

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I'll get some pics of my room loaded, but yeah, I think double sinks almost a 'must have'. Really makes bottling simpler for me. I have a bottle washer in the 1st sink, 2nd sink has EasyClean in it, then to a manual sprayer with no-rinse chlorine sanitizer, and onto the bottle tree. My sink is one of those thermoplastic units, but I have moved to a no handling full carboys routine. The only time I manually move carboys is when they are empty, and then just to clean.
Can you describe your handling full carboys routine? Thanks
 

ratflinger

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Yes, I don't handle full carboys, period. Explanation is not short, but you asked ..... :h

Please refer to pictures 2 & 4 above. My carboys are lined up in the order I use them. By the sink are my 2 Speidel fermenters, then the two 6.5gal kill jugs (for the k-meta & settling agents). I can spin those up with my battery drill without overflowing. There is plenty of CO2 left to protect the headspace. Moving further to the right are my two 6gal carboys, these are for secondary settling. In these two carboys I will either top with wine or I will fill with clear, US made marbles. I make 2 batches at a time, so everything is doubled up. Up to this point each batch will sit in each fermenter/carboy for at least a month. So now we move to the Better Bottles(BB), this is where I do my bulk aging, min of 3 months. I usually make table wine and a few long-terms for Sunday use. In my BB I only use wine for topping up, if needed. Either the BB are slightly undersized or the 6 gal carboys are slightly large, as I usualy have a little leftover, doesn't matter as I fill my wife's cooking wine bottle with the leftovers. Now for not handling full carboys, in the 4th pic you will see my pump cart. On it is a Pentair food grade fluid pump, a vacuum pump, and a whole house water filter. I won't really speak of the vacuum pump as I don't use it much. All racking is done via the Pentair pump, with a prefilter in the hose between the racking cane and the pump. The large filter only comes into play when moving from the 6gal carboy to my 6gal BB. I use a 1 micron filter and the end result is that after 3 mo in the BB there is only a little color left at the bottom of the BB. I push through the filter, thus I don't have an issue with the air release on the filter case since I am pushing through instead of pulling through. The pump will pump air, so I can easily empty the filter. For cleaning I just drop the racking cane in EasyClean and the discharge hose in the sink. When the wine is ready (3 mo or so), depending upon taste, I either rack it into the kegs or I bottle it. The only time I move a carboy is when it is empty and I need to clean it. Empty BB sit on the upper shelf (pic 4), but usually there is only the two 3 gal BB I use for port. Otherwise I keep everything full and just adjust my start times to regulate the amount of finished wine I have on hand. I usually use 2 kegs for ready wine and I have 2 more that I store in, if I've gotten ahead of myself. It's the linear cabinet/tabletops that I have that allow this. There's 10 feet on the side where all this happens. If I had more room I can guarantee there'd be more BB lined up. :h
 

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