The stairway to heaven for wine lovers
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The stairway to heaven for wine lovers

Home cellars have become the latest must-have for those who value their collection and love to entertain

By Robyn Willis
Fri, Dec 15, 2023 8:38amGrey Clock 4 min

Tony Hayek first became interested in wine as a student at Newcastle University. Living adjacent to one of Australia’s best known wine growing regions, the Hunter Valley, for a while he dated a woman who worked in the industry and taught him what she knew.

He has been hooked ever since.

“Over the next 25 years, I collected wine in drinkable quantities,” he says. “As I became wealthier, I started buying wine in batches of six — I’d drink one or two and put the others away — but I didn’t really have anywhere to store them so it capped out at 300 or 400 bottles.”

In his former home, he turned a workshop under the house into a wine cellar of sorts. It wasn’t temperature controlled but it allowed him to enjoy his wine when and where he wanted. But when he and his wife Toni had the chance to build their dream home in Sydney’s north west in 2017, plans for a cellar were a bit basic.

“The builder engaged a cabinetmaker to put together a plan for a wine cellar but it was a bit boring — mostly just shelving,” Hayek says.

Instead, the couple hired kitchen and bathroom design specialists, Studio Minosa.

“They did this magnificent design,” Hayek says. “I was still recovering from the cost of building when the Minosa quote came in at $150,000 so I initially put it on the backburner. Finally, I bit the bullet and we got it done in 2020.”

As a result, Hayek says much of his time at home during the pandemic was spent below ground.

Tony Hayek’s cellar design by Studio Minosa is more than just a place to store his wine collection.

“It’s my ‘pinch myself’ room,” he says. “Every time I walk in there, I can’t believe it’s in my house. I spent a lot of my COVID time researching wine.  That was how I stocked my cellar and it went from 400 to 800 bottles. I want to know what’s in my cellar and have a relationship with it.”

While Tania MacPhee, managing director of MacPhee’s wine cellaring specialists, says wine cellars were becoming more popular prior to the pandemic, demand grew even further during lockdown when people used their untapped travel funds to create wine spaces they could enjoy.

“We started as an off-site wine storage business 22 years ago. Since then, the market has absolutely shifted,” she says. “Where wine cellars back then were predominately functional spaces in the basement or garage, today, wine enthusiasts are wanting to proudly display their wine collections, making them a feature of their home.”

She says the demand for purpose-built cellars has been driven by an educated audience who travel regularly and appreciate the value of a good drop. For those who have invested heavily, it’s important to keep wines in optimum conditions.

The challenge is maintaining an even temperature range to avoid wine “spoiling”, which alters its taste, smell and the consumer’s overall enjoyment. In wine making regions in Europe, the ideal temperature range around 12 to 14 degrees may be achievable without refrigeration due to their cellars being two metres below the earth, but MacPhee says it’s virtually impossible to guarantee in Australia where our cellar spaces are often beside a garage and under a concrete slab, acting as a hot box in summer — and a freezer in winter. “It’s the fluctuation in temperature that is detrimental to wine.”

“While a basement might seem cool at 26 degrees compared with hot Summer temperatures outside, it’s still not cool enough for wine,” she says.

For those who don’t have the space for a full cellar, or would rather have their wines on display, MacPhee says ‘wine walls’ are a popular choice.

“People are going to beautiful restaurants where they have these wine walls where guests can see individual bottles of wine,” she says. “And they want to recreate that in their homes.”

Wine walls are typically two or three metres wide and at least 600mm deep, she says.

Wine walls can be installed in living spaces for easy access and display. Image: MacPhee’s wine cellar specialists

“Depending on the location of the wine cellar relative to the rest of the home, $20,000 is the starting point for a very basic climate controlled space with insulation,” she says. “A wine wall with bespoke cabinetry can cost between $80,000 and $100,000 or more.”

“All wine needs to be cellared at the same temperature but when it comes to drinking, it is only then that individual wine varietals should be served at different temperatures”, MacPhee says.  Some wine fridges provide two temperatures, in two separate zones. There’s even an under bench wine cabinet which is designed for the kitchen.

“It has multiple temperatures all in one zone, where you can place champagne at the bottom at six degrees, then Aromatic whites on the shelf above at 8 degrees, then it gradually goes up to 18 degrees for your heavy bodied reds.” she says. “We call it the ‘instant gratification wine cabinet’.”

General manager at Gaggenau, Robert Warner says wine lovers are investing in larger quantities of high quality wines so it simply makes sense that they are looking for accessible storage options at home.

“If you are buying a $100 bottle of wine and then you decide to buy the whole case, that’s $1200,” he says. “Do you want to risk it going off in a year or two because you haven’t stored it properly?”

He admits there is more to it than having your favourite drop within easy reach and ready to drink.

“There’s a bit of theatre to it,” he says. “It’s a lifestyle and interaction with like-minded people. Luxury living is about being personalised while still feeling connected with other people.”



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11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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It’s a slam dunk as a covetable $2m KDR site complete with basketball court hits the market in the Hills District

The ball is in the buyer’s court with this knockdown/rebuild opportunity

By KANEBRIDGE NEWS
Tue, Apr 18, 2023 2 min

Glenhaven in Sydney’s Hills District is one of those areas that locals tend to keep to themselves. Leafy with large blocks on offer, the suburb takes its name from its valley location, with the northern end originally known as the Glen and the southern end called the Haven. 

En route from Parramatta to the Hunter, Glenhaven has become an ideal place for growing families in search of a little more space, or even room to house several generations under one roof.

The challenge is finding properties that tick all the right boxes.

As demand for trades and supply chain issues continue to ease, now could be the right time for a knockdown/rebuild project for would-be buyers looking to create their dream home.

Fairmont Homes specialises in knockdown/rebuild projects in Sydney. General manager at Fairmont Homes, Daniel Logue, said there are key features to look for when choosing a knockdown/rebuild site.

“The key items we look for are the site falling to the street, not to the rear, to help with stormwater drainage as well as access to the site,” he said. “Neighbouring property front setbacks are also important. In some older areas, the older houses are set closer to the street, meaning your new home will have to be set to suit.

“Value for money and the return on the end sale price of the home is another issue.”

If possible, he said designing a home that meets the criteria of the Complying Development legislation will speed up approvals considerably.

While suitable knockdown/rebuild sites can be hard to find in Glenhaven, there are still hidden opportunities if you know where to look.

One block at 158 Gilbert Road, Glenhaven is ideally suited for rejuvenation. With almost 850sqm to play with, it slopes down to the street and sits between neighbouring properties that have already been stylishly updated.

 

 

An existing basketball court at the rear could provide the perfect teen backdrop to a family home, or it could make way for a larger house with landscaped gardens and pool. Alternatively, it could be the perfect position for a cabana or granny flat to serve as in-law accommodation or a source of secondary income.

With recent sales of completed homes in nearby streets reaching well above $5 million, it’s a great opportunity to make a slam dunk of a buy into one of Sydney’s best kept secrets.

Address: 158 Gilbert Road, Glenhaven
Price guide: $1.8 million
Inspection: By appointment only

 

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