Why Build A Wine Cave
With enormous environmental and economical benefits, there are many reasons to construct a wine cave for your winery.
Ultimate “Green” Build
Wine caves utilize the earth’s insulation properties to reduce energy costs. When compared to the energy usage required to cool and heat above ground buildings, the 300+ wine caves in Napa and Sonoma counties have likely saved PG&E 2.2 to 3.4 mega watts of power. (And just imagine how the hillsides and valley floors would look with 300 or more surface buildings!)
Maximized Temperature and Humidity
Acting as a virtual air conditioner during the summer and radiant heater to connected buildings in the winter, wine caves provide relatively constant temperature and humidity, averaging 55-65 degrees year round.
Reduced Evaporative Losses
With the potential to reduce barrel evaporation 5-10 %, wine caves offer ultra-premium wineries a significant increase in yield, in addition to better control of alcohol levels (associated with evaporation).
Wine caves provide reduced impact land use, minimizing impact to native species, and species of interest. Cave spoils can be used to improve existing roads and property, reducing city costs and congestion as well as noise and air pollution associated with trucking.
Wine caves may be depreciated over 7 years, compared to 25 years for surface buildings.
Many residents and environmentalists oppose above ground structures that destroy the natural landscape and cause irreversible damage to forests and hillsides. Typically viewed as “low impact with high reward for the community”, wine caves receive favorable support from counties involved in the wine industry.
Increased Marketing Potential
As the wine and tourism industries become more competitive, constructing a cave allows owners to extend their winery's brand and generate more enthusiasm and word of mouth referrals. Caves are now used extensively during wine auction weekends, marketing events, philanthropic benefits, and other events held for worldwide distributors.
Improvements in construction technology have allowed caves to remain cost competitive, while surface construction costs have increased overall. Since caves are generally constructed on land not usable for growing grapes, wine makers can devote useful land to vineyards instead of buildings – a huge benefit as premium land in the wine country can cost over $100,000 an acre.