Not Cool | West Vancouver

Abstract: West Vancouver Home Inspector note on wine storage cabinets.

New Home Perfection... Almost

A must have feature in many West Vancouver new homes is a wine storage closet or display cabinet. This can become a prominent feature in a dining room or family room. On two recent inspections in British Properties, both had such showcases.

As with any new home, there are going to be small issues that need adjustment. Builders are well aware of this and are prepared to return the the site to deal with those minor fixes, typically at no charge to the new homeowner.

Cool Staging

Savy sellers’ agents know how to maximize the ‘wow’ factor of a property with tasteful staging. There will usually be a wine bottle and glasses casually displayed on a counter, table or sideboard. 

Sometimes the wine display cabinet is fully stocked with (empty) wine bottles. 

There are of course the mini wine coolers that go under the counters. But these are not the subject of this post, as they are usually purring away site unseen.

Not Cool Execution

Now back to the topic at hand. 

In the first home, the wine closet had a floor-to-ceiling glass front wall with a glass door. Located next to the family room counter and bar, it was certainly well placed to showcase an owner’s future accumulation of fine vintages. However, there was just one problem… the room was not air conditioned, making it just a warm closet.

The second property had wine cabinets in both the living room and the downstairs bar. The wooden cabinets were prominently featured, well lit, with racking for bottles to be stored on their sides. Every spot cradled an empty wine bottle. Very nicely displayed. The issue was… no air conditioning, making it a bookshelf behind glass.

Missing the Mark

From an inspector’s perspective, it is a surprise that the seller, contractor or seller’s agent do not point out unfinished works. Many buyers do not come from a wine drinking culture and may not know how wine should be stored, so they accept what has been built as how it should be. 

For the Record

Wines should be stored around 55 F or 13 C. A dark or dim lit location is preferable. The lighting should not be a source of UV rays. Most wines do not improve with long term storage and are meant to be drunk with a few days, months or years of purchase. Laying a bottle on its side is done to keep the cork from drying out and lettting air in. Sunlight can damage a wine, so sunglasses (dark coloured glass bottles) are required on occasion. 

Finally, without proper ambient controls for wine storage, what really is built is a bookshelf or closet, staged to look like something else entirely.  

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