Wine cellars were once forgotten, cobweb-ridden holes. Now they're becoming a real feature of many modern homes, as Amelia Thorpe explains.

In the past, wine cellars were never intended as places of great beauty — they were simply functional yet full of promise. However, like kitchens and laundry rooms, their utilitarian look is increasingly prized and now specialist joiners and cellar installers are being commissioned to create multi-functional spaces.

‘We are seeing increasing demand for well-designed cellars with triangular bins, single-bottle storage and pull-out shelves for cases of wine,’ explains Brian Purnell of Distinctive Country Furniture.

‘Clients also want tables and chairs, so that they can sit and taste with their friends.’

This traditional vaulted cellar includes a table and benches for tasting – www.marionlichtig.com

Of course, many houses don’t possess a cellar or basement, but they may have owners who are nonetheless passionate about collecting and enjoying wine.

‘Modern wine rooms are now a luxury feature in homes, presenting wine like jewels, rather than shutting it away in the basement,’ says interior designer John Beven of Wilkinson Beven.

Climate control systems, lighting on timers or sensors and modern insulation allow the bottles to be stored in good conditions, yet displayed centre stage.

Glass-walled wine rooms can be a focal point, often linked to dining and entertaining areas and a wine wall or wardrobe can be made to fit smaller spaces.

McCarron & Co’s take on the wine room – they designers named it as one of their trends of 2017 – mccarronandco.com

‘The key word here is enjoyment,’ emphasises Mr Purnell. ‘If you want to see your collection, show it off to your friends and enjoy tasting it, a wine room is an ideal solution.’

That is a hugely important element in these rooms: they’re not just for storage, but for pleasure.

This wine cellar features traditionally crafted oak furniture and iron candle holders to make it a room to be enjoyed – www.distinctivecountryfurniture.co.uk

For those without a cellar in their house, all hope is not lost: spiral cellars can generally be installed under any ground-floor room, provided there’s enough space for the hatch to open.

A spiral cellar doesn’t require an existing cellar or basement – www.spiralcellars.co.uk

The spiral cellar might leave you merely enough room for a few dozen bottles as above, but sometimes you’ll be able to fit in a lot more – as the owners of this house have:

And if you simply don’t have any space beneath ground?  You could always use one of your other rooms. The house below had a study that was barely used – the owners brought in Sorrells, who have turned it into an insulated wine room.

This wine room is complete with a temperature-control system, bespoke walnut racking and sensor-controlled lighting – www.sorrells-wineracks.co.uk