Project : build a bunker!

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Ralphee

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Okay brains trust - i have a question, but first let me explain why.
Last year I purchased a property with 220 vines on it (mostly Shiraz, a little Cab Sav) and the previous owner makes the wine off site (i grow, he bottles and we go halves). Which is fine for now, but its nothing more than a gentleman's agreement. I have a nice big area which i can cut into a hill and make a bunker, or a few retaining walls and put a shed on it (really want to go the bunker option though).
The area i could use would probably be a room 6mtrx6mtr (20ft x 20ft) comfortably, perhaps bigger, but i need to check that. This will take me a while as I can only do things as the budget allows, but space is required and i want to take over the wine making myself. Yes this will be a *large* cost, but it will also raise the value of the property, so that's okay.

My question - if you were in my position, how would you build this?
Assume i have the obvious underfloor drainage, no steps, lots of bench space, deep sink with flexible hose, LED lighting, stereo/TV and enough insulation to get the job done properly.
While there are loads of really good threads here on 'i have this space what can i do?' (yes i read a bunch, and no i cant do as good a work as some of you have done) i am thinking of a 'here is a blank canvas, go nuts'
It will be a storage and working room. Last years crop was 850L of must which was a very big year, so i have to allow to process 900L or less each year
I dont believe in re-inventing the wheel (the basket press has been used for how long now??) so i thought the best thing to do is to ask people much wiser than myself, given this amount of space - what would you do? What would make the ultimate space according to YOU?
 

Johnd

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For me, it’s an area where things that are used once a year can be tucked away, and space prepared to use them efficiently when they are needed. Crusher/destemmed, press, fermenters, etc, get stored 99% of the year. Good workspace to move/store barrels in, and room to bottle; an attractive bottle storage racking system is a must.

I’ve already built mine, here’s the build link if you’re interested: New Wine Room

Keep my crusher / destemmer, press, fermenters, extra carboys, etc. in the garage. Crush / destem, and press outside in my driveway, ferment inside in the A/C, everything else happens in the wine room, and it’s smaller than yours. Some years I do over 100 gallons (2300 L) in the fall.
 

salcoco

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an underground bunker should be easy for temperature control. so long term storage of wine should be very easy and economical.
 

Rice_Guy

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* it may not raise property value, a twenty foot green house decreases the value of the property, to raise value it has to look like something “normal“ as TV/ toilet/ or at least plumbing roughed in for a half bath and kitchenette.
* you are basically describing a walk in basement so the cost shouldn’t be too bad. It would be functional with a patio you can drive to and to look “normal”, when selling I would stage it with a fire pit and seating. The door should be a double wide to make it easy for equipment or the next owner to put in French doors for a party area.
* floor drainage sloped to a drain, I hated the spots in the pilot plant that caught water.
* you are talking about some interesting wine volume with floating lid tanks. I would do at least ten foot ceiling height, possibly twelve. Plus,, Your extra ceiling height is basically free volume.
* benches? maybe stainless tables with wheels, flexibility is valuable, and you can roll them outside when the vinters club invades.
* I would look at a flat deck for the roof, it will add cost but changes this to another party room in the eye of a buyer. A steel truss with poured concrete floor is common construction.
* steel trusses were good for hanging unistrut and mounting equipment without calling a contractor.
* if you have a concrete roof/ ceiling consider building a penetration for the future as venting heat, or pipes and wires, or a pipe from a crusher set up, or another half bath, etc. etc.
this will be a *large* cost, but it will also raise the value of the property, , , ,
My question - if you were in my position, how would you build this?
Assume i have the obvious underfloor drainage, no steps, lots of bench space, deep sink with flexible hose, LED lighting, stereo/TV and enough insulation to get the job done properly.
While there are loads of really good threads here on 'i have this space what can i do?' . . year, so i have to allow to process 900L or less each year
 

Ralphee

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I’ve already built mine, here’s the build link if you’re interested: New Wine Room
I went through all 17 pages of this post before starting this thread. If my bunker comes out looking half as good as your build i win be happy! You have set a very high bar for us to reach towards!
* it may not raise property value
* I would stage it with a fire pit and seating. The door should be a double wide to make it easy for equipment or the next owner to put in French doors for a party area.
* if you have a concrete roof/ ceiling consider building a penetration for the future as venting heat, or pipes and wires, or a pipe from a crusher set up, or another half bath, etc. etc.
I had not thought of a roof, was simply thinking of being underground, good points raised here, thanks. The fire pit and seating i was thinking of doing as well, and the same for nice big door to allow easy access, if it is done well (fingers crossed) then i am confident it will be an asset (but its like restoring a car, you never get back what it cost you)
an underground bunker should be easy for temperature control. so long term storage of wine should be very easy and economical.
That's the idea, but i will still put in some climate control. Whats the best features of your space?
 

Ralphee

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Late August update : Finally found someone who actually builds underground houses who is interested in helping! Talking to local builders go me nowhere, just "drop a couple 20ft containers and be done with it..."
Although he said the build might cost a lot more than expected... will update how we go getting proper plans drawn up.
I honestly didn't think i was asking anything too difficult!
 

Ralphee

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Update.... found some builders who specialize in underground houses. Now looking to explore other avenues....
Looking at $60K to build the structure before fit out - ie water, power, flooring, shelving, cooling etc etc etc. Just too much.
What conditions does everyone else make/store their wine in? It can get a few days over 40 degrees Celcius down here in Melbourne in a row, so i am mainly interested in the temperature control side of things (hence the underground...)
Should i just build a shed and put cool room panels in it? Do i really need that much space?
Why is *everything* so $#%@ expensive!!??
 
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Update.... found some builders who specialize in underground houses. Now looking to explore other avenues....
Looking at $60K to build the structure before fit out - ie water, power, flooring, shelving, cooling etc etc etc. Just too much.
What conditions does everyone else make/store their wine in? It can get a few days over 40 degrees Celcius down here in Melbourne in a row, so i am mainly interested in the temperature control side of things (hence the underground...)
Should i just build a shed and put cool room panels in it? Do i really need that much space?
Why is *everything* so $#%@ expensive!!??
I meant to send this when you first posted. They are plans for an underground tunnel we built for a winery. It was around 2013 I think and the cost was $120,000.00 but it had to be fully excavated then backfilled. Plus it is much larger than what you are planning to do. Don't know if it will help but here is the design.
 

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Ralphee

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I meant to send this when you first posted. They are plans for an underground tunnel we built for a winery. It was around 2013 I think and the cost was $120,000.00 but it had to be fully excavated then backfilled. Plus it is much larger than what you are planning to do. Don't know if it will help but here is the design.
Now THAT is how its done! Shame i dont have the space or the money for something like this, it would be fantastic! Do you have any finished photos?
Ideally i would do a 9x9 mtr room (30ft x 30ft) but even then, thats a big space.
The way i am going i will end up with a couple 20ft refridge containers and just make them look pretty... but i dont want to do that.
 
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Now THAT is how its done! Shame i dont have the space or the money for something like this, it would be fantastic! Do you have any finished photos?
Ideally i would do a 9x9 mtr room (30ft x 30ft) but even then, thats a big space.
The way i am going i will end up with a couple 20ft refridge containers and just make them look pretty... but i dont want to do that.
You don't have to make it that big, just use the cross section as a design guide for structural integrity. Plus this is 5' underground and has a light traffic rating. I can't find the original pic of the inside but used it as a label for a Pinot Noir. There is also an in progress pic and a view from the exterior entrance.
 

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balatonwine

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What conditions does everyone else make/store their wine in?
I have a 8 m x 5 m wine cellar. And about 3000 vines. I use only a fraction of that cellar for wine making. The rest is actually currently a lot of wasted space.

If you have only 220 vines, then you do not need much of a wine cellar. Some of the home wineries here with 400 vines have cellars that could fit on a postage stamp it seems (maybe 1.5 m x 2 m -- tank space with a small walk path).

But they are not "Instagram Ready" wine cellars. They do what they need to do, but do not have those stunning architectural modern entry ways. They simply have a door, with a bar across it and a lock. Boring. Rustic. Some would say primitive (those doors often need a bit of paint). But they often create nice wine inside.

A lot of equipment can be stored in above ground buildings. It does not need to be in the wine cellar.

Thinking along more modest size lines... One person (i.e. you) with a shovel could do the excavating (assuming (maybe incorrectly) your soil is not basically solid rock). It just takes time. I know, because I did kind of that digging out our water drain area (just me and a shovel -- because it would have cost me a lot of money to get an excavator simply to show up --- never mind the hourly rate after that). And not really that difficult to build or pour a concrete perimeter (depending on local codes and your experience it might be a rather easy DIY ... or not). That yellow thing is a meter stick, so you can do the math on the hole size:

2018-01-10 15.21.19.jpg

Hope this helps.
 
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Ralphee

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I have a 8 m x 5 m wine cellar. And about 3000 vines. I use only a fraction of that cellar for wine making. The rest is actually currently a lot of wasted space.
Hope this helps.
I don't know why i have in my head that we need a big room. I know its easier to make it too big now and grow into it, and hard to do the other way. Ideally this would be used for long term storage and making wine, so a multipurpose room, just trying to gauge what others use (especially the smaller vineyards) as, like you said, i dont need that much space to make wine! Also, big room = harder to keep cold.
And yes, my ground basically is *all* rock, but i have easy access to excavators and drive it myself, so digging is the least of my issues here.
Starting to think a decent shed with a cool store room will be more realistic (I really dont want to go the 20ft containers)
Oh yeah, need a little bit of room to process my honey as well, i keep bees as well (but thats very little space, using the laundry at the moment.. but she wants me out of there!)
Cheers
 

Ralphee

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Maybe i look at buying a small cool room until i have time to build something bigger?
They can be fairly cheap online... not sure the quality though.
Without somewhere to be able to store and make the wine i cant make it at home, and i really want to take over making the wine myself, so i need to build something as even inside the house the temperatures fluctuate a lot.

And Balatonwine - bees are a lot of fun, you *will* get stung, so make sure you are not allergic first, but they are very rewarding (and i will argue they pollinate my grapes. I know grapes dont *need* bees, but i think they help!) I got 15Kg of honey a few days ago and i wasnt even trying to take anything from them!
 

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