Street Somm

“Bread…that this house may never know hunger.

Salt…that life may always have flavor.

And wine…that joy and prosperity may reign forever.”

While everything is still waiting for the dust to settle and things start to loosen up in the gulag, I got a message on one of my Social Media sites asking about my wine cellar.  They were getting ready to buy a new home in Las Vegas and thought I could be of some assistance.  I gave them my phone number and, in a few minutes, I was deep in a wonderful conversation with some one that prior, I only had a typical Social Media association with. I guess that it was presumed that I live in Vegas, because I periodically write about it, but I have memories of there for years, plus two of our children and five of grandchildren live there.  We were discussing restaurants and locations and of course wine shops.  He was going to convert a spare bedroom into a wine cellar to hold about four thousand bottles and I said that it made perfect sense to me, because there are no basements in Las Vegas, the city is built in a dessert, so it would be cost prohibitive to try to dig a cellar there. 

He or his wife must have remembered that I have wrote that I had built my own cellar, in a vacant corner of my basement.  I constructed it, using two by four lumber, of course I am old school.  The two outside walls have no insulation and the inside walls and the ceiling and the joists of the main floor of the house are packed with insulation.  I then used basic plywood as paneling for the room, because I then applied all the wooden wine crates that I had saved over the years, I am a pack-rat, by taking the crates apart and then using them as the finished paneling.  When I finally ran out of wine crates, any other walls that were barren were “wallpapered” with all of the labels that I had removed from bottles, knowing deep in the back of my brain that I was going to do this project one day.  I then found a company that advertised in the back pages of the Wine Spectator magazine.  I contacted them, gave them the size specs of the finished room and they made and delivered to me a huge collection of pine framing that was precut and ready to be assembled like “Tinker-Toys” for an adult.  I also put a floor down, before the racks were assembled and for extra security, I also anchored some of the framework to the two by four construction. 

It was a labor of love, I guess, I only wish that I had taken photos along the way.  I told him how I had built the cellar to hold nine-hundred bottles, but by buying some other smaller racks, usually at charity events, I can now cram about fifteen-hundred bottles in there.  We also discussed about how pretty the wine cellars look that are built under staircases, but I told him that when I was a kid, just learning, I was always told not to ever build a cellar under stairs, because the vibrations could ruin fine wines.  I also said that because of how I built my cellar, I didn’t require any additional cooling system, as the cellar is always about fifty-five degrees.  He was going to have installed one those individual room heat-pumps for that room only and rely on the ambient house temperature of the other rooms to keep it at a steady temperature. Since it is wild temperature fluctuations that can cause problems for the wines. 

During the conversation, we were discussing wines and the old days before a bottle of wine could be the price of a used car.   We were discussing wine tastings and events and even suggested that perhaps we could do a tasting the next time that I get to Vegas.  I told him that I am not a Sommelier and that I have no accreditations.  He joked and said he was the same way, and that his friends out in Vegas, and many of them are Sommeliers, have conferred upon him the title of Street Somm, and I like that, and I think I may use it.  As an aside to the accompanying photos, you can see that I have some empty spots as I moving white wines to a wine vault and I have cases of reds that need to be put away. 

About thewineraconteur

A non-technical wine writer, who enjoys the moment with the wine, as much as the wine. Instagram/thewineraconteur Facebook/ The Wine Raconteur
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