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vinny

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That's a nice root cellar. It's going to make a pretty awesome wine cellar. I was trying to steal ideas. Mine is probably a little bigger, and we don't need half of it. I was wondering if I could convert half to dry/wine storage, but I'm buried in a few feet deep. I don't think I could get it warm enough on just one side. Doors closed, it doesn't get above 6 C in the heat of summer. That's about 42 'Merican. It's a long way from power, too.

I had a couple thoughts reading through, though. Your standard poly vapour barrier should be plenty for underneath the concrete. It is all I have in my crawl space over gravel and it is 62% humidity right now. 5 degree outside and it's cold, wet, warm, cold, as we go though the melt. Outdoor humidity is 51% right now.

You could drill your floor rebar into your cinder blocks to keep the floor and walls shifting together and seal the gap between wall and floor with a flexible caulk. Paint the floor into the walls to really seal it up.

I have good ventilation in the crawl space which keeps the humidity down as well. If you are putting a door into the basement addition, you could come up with a simple air exchange system either based on humidity or temperature control to turn fans on. Next to the door? In the door? One high vent from basement to cellar, another low cold/moist air return vent from cellar to basement. Might be easier than trying to use an independent heat system and external ventilation. Depending on your intended use for the basement, if it's a nice middle ground temperature, lower than upstairs temperature, but higher than cellar, it could be a good avenue for balancing temps and humidity with relative ease.

Last thought, if you were considering more insulation for temperature control the reflective insulation below can add around R-10 with one layer. If you glued it to your walls it would also act as a vapour barrier.

Reflective-Foil.jpg
 

FlamingoEmporium

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OK so I’m not comfortable with plugging the 4 inch vent. Is there any way you can use that to make it sort of a heat exchanger system. Not letting direct outside (cold or warm air) in through there but somehow running it to or through a temperature controlled space.
what heater are you using now ? your best bet is a small electric heater, or a hydro electric heater (electric liquid filled baseboard)

anything else will eat up oxygen and add moisture.

if your humidity is too high a humidifier has 2 benefits. It removes moisture and the compressor used to take humidity out actually warms the air a little.
 

FlamingoEmporium

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I have the temp up to 52 and the humidity is pretty stable at 90%. I have the roof vent pipe open and I’m going to put a small adjustable vent in the door to let some colder dry air in. At least my corks won’t dry out 😂.
90% is like a swimming pool.
 

ChuckD

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@vinny
If you have a warmer side and a cooler side you could divide it with an insulated wall with another door. Could you do some sort of passive solar heater above ground and circulate the warmth down to the cellar? It wouldn’t take much to go from 45 to 55. When I build the addition I’ll add more insulation to the roof and another foot or more of soil on top. When I get it connected to the new basement I’ll have plenty of temperature control options.

@FlamingoEmporium
This winter I used an electric oilfield heater to keep it around 52. With our dry winter air the humidity crashed… only to spike up to “amphibian” levels as soon as the ground thawed. We will see what summer brings but I think sealing the walls and floor will make for big improvements.
 

ChuckD

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@vinny
Do you have a roof vent? If you want to actively draw in warm outside air into the cellar with no power install a solar chimney on the top vent. It’s just an oversized pvc pipe about 6 feet tall painted black. The sun hits it and warms the air inside. If you have a low vent you open that and it will draw in warmer outside air. You would just need a damper to control air inflow to maintain your desired temperature.
 

vinny

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@vinny
Do you have a roof vent? If you want to actively draw in warm outside air into the cellar with no power install a solar chimney on the top vent. It’s just an oversized pvc pipe about 6 feet tall painted black. The sun hits it and warms the air inside. If you have a low vent you open that and it will draw in warmer outside air. You would just need a damper to control air inflow to maintain your desired temperature.
I do. Mine is a bit of a challenge. It's a cistern that cracked coming out of the mould, so they didn't put the floor on it. I cut a door centered in the front with a concrete saw, built out a frame, edged it in galvanised steel and used a fridge door to seal it. It has a front room to isolate it from outside temps as you enter. I dug into a hill and only the first door is visible. Everything else is buried. It works amazing for root vegetables, but I didn't leave much room to change anything.

It did shift under the weight of all the backfill, I've been considering redoing the front room which is built from wood. I'll have to really research my options to see what I can do. Maybe I can add a middle room that I can regulate. The biggest concern is we hit -40 here for a spell every winter. Last year we had a long stretch and hit -55 with wind chill for a time. I don't know if I can do much passive heating that would combat that.

My shop is 40x60 2x6 framed construction. With a concrete pad that size and good insulation it is easy to regulate temps. Right now my business is more than utilising it, but like all things wine, if I am patient I will have all that space to work with once we move the business out.

I just can't help but see a good idea and think, damn, I should do that.

I thought some of my ideas might spark an idea too, but you obviously have your plans and options well thought out.
 

ChuckD

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I thought some of my ideas might spark an idea too, but you obviously have your plans and options well thought out.
Oh you have. When I build the addition I’ll add low and high chases through from the basement. Even if I don’t use them it’s easy to do when everything is dug up and we are forming walls. Actually the whole new basement is going to be wine my making/game processing/canning kitchen. It will even have an exterior entrance facing the garden and vineyard.

for the poured floor, if I dig out the stone I’ll expose the footings so I could drill and tie into them with a water stop in between the new floor and footing. The cellar ceiling is already only 6’-5” in the center and I don’t want to make it any shorter.
 

vinny

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Actually the whole new basement is going to be wine my making/game processing/canning kitchen. It will even have an exterior entrance facing the garden and vineyard.
Good for you, that's gonna nice to have. Just don't ever do the math on how much a bottle of wine costs including all the upgrades!

Are you still planning your vineyard, or have you got it established? I have been considering planting some vines to see what happens. I know it's possible, but winters are going to be hell on them.
 

ChuckD

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Good for you, that's gonna nice to have. Just don't ever do the math on how much a bottle of wine costs including all the upgrades!

Are you still planning your vineyard, or have you got it established? I have been considering planting some vines to see what happens. I know it's possible, but winters are going to be hell on them.
YEP!
The area is cleared and ready for the plow. My neighbor is going to plow it up a few times to cut up the sod then drag it flat for planting grass. The grapes will be here the second week of June! 50 Marquette and 26 Petite Pearl
AAF1E2CB-89DE-4FDA-BF06-76902C52642D.jpeg
-40F. That’s going to be a tough one. I plan for -25 and we haven’t seen that in many years here.
 

vinny

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YEP!
The area is cleared and ready for the plow. My neighbor is going to plow it up a few times to cut up the sod then drag it flat for planting grass. The grapes will be here the second week of June! 50 Marquette and 26 Petite Pearl
View attachment 87729
👍 Not messing around!

You have a similar landscape to here. Maybe the country always just looks like home to me? 🤷‍♂️

-40F. That’s going to be a tough one. I plan for -25 and we haven’t seen that in many years here.
Ya, that's why I was thinking I could give it an uncommited go with a few vines and see if it's just a set up for heartbreak.
 

ChuckD

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@vinny
Yeah, check out the book “Northern Winework” by Tom Plocher and Bob Parke. Plocher has developed several hardy grape varieties. U of Minnesota does a lot with northern grapes as well.

The basement won’t be anything fancy. Painted concrete walls and floors with a stainless commercial sink and some rehabbed cabinets.
 

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