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Custom Wine Cellar Doors and Insulated Glass

Wine cellars used to be regarded as rooms that should be built below ground. As far back as the 1870s in the United States, wine producers in the Napa Valley had been storing wine in caves and converted tunnels. In more recent years, wine cellars have increasingly become a feature of urban homes and buildings. The locations might have changed but one thing remained constant, which is the need to replicate the climate conditions found in underground wine cellars. Along with the innovations on wine cooling systems came improvements in wine cellar designs both with regards to their aesthetic and insulation properties. Wine cellars and, particularly, wine cellar door designs are now being patterned after the decorative properties of living and dining rooms. Which begs the question: How can I build exquisite wine cellar doors without compromising the thermal performance of my wine cellar?

Wine cellar doors are the most visible parts of custom wine cellars so you certainly can’t just use a solid wood door devoid of any decorations and stuff. Make sure your custom wine cellar door fares well in two areas: Style and Substance. The use of Insulated Glass (IG), for one, should help you cover both since glass is appealing to the eye and at the same time, IG units help keep your wine cellar doors insulated and free from condensation.

Insulated Glass Units are hermetically sealed glass structures of two or more panes separated by a layer of space. IG units improve the climate controlling qualities of custom wine cellars by reducing heating and air conditioning costs, making them excellent construction materials for custom wine cellar doors.

Thermal Insulation

Insulated glass units work by reducing heat transmission across the glass panes, which can either be laminated or tempered. Dehydrated air is more commonly used because it is considerably less expensive and more readily available. But in custom wine cellars’ specially controlled atmosphere, it is highly recommended that thermal performance gas is used. Thermal performance gasses greatly reduce heat conduction better than normal air. They are odorless, clear, non-toxic and chemically stable.

Argon is twice more effective than dry air in reducing heat transfer and by far the most affordable. The others, Xenon and Krypton, are more effective but are more expensive. The primary use of insulated glass is to reduce thermal heat coming in from the outside. Its thermal insulation property basically relies on the effectiveness of the gas filling, and the quality of the hermetic seal.

Insulated Glass unit

Cross Section of an Insulate Glass Unit

Structural Strength


Spacers, when assembled, are very much like frames. They have joints that are usually built sturdy, plus the fact that they are sealed with silicon makes them very thick and solid. The silicon sealant, which also acts as structural adhesives, makes the unit impervious to tilting which can prevent custom wine cellar doors from warping.


IG units contain desiccants which absorb moisture within its immediate vicinity. They keep the gas filled space between the panes dry and are commonly contained inside the spacers. Sealants have extremely low vapor transmission rates so are very effective in preventing condensation. In general, insulated glass units are built with two layers of sealants.

Other Benefits

Insulated glass units are normally used on exterior doors and windows for their soundproofing and insulating attributes. Sound and vibrations practically work similarly in that they’re both composed of sequential waves. Vibrations can accelerate the chemical reactions in the wine but in a harmful way. Additionally, sediments found in wine might be stirred up and affect the normal development of the wine’s aroma and taste.

Insulated Stained Glass Window

Triple Paned IG unit with Stained Glass


Another advantage that multi-paned glass has over a single pane of glass is you can utilize those in-between spaces by adding more decoration to your door. You can insert mural-like mosaic art in between if you choose to do so.






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