Editors' pick: Originally published Nov. 11.
America's love of wine has created an ancillary economy. People have jobs in the wine world without having to live on a vineyard. From sommeliers to wine app creators, from wine accessory inventors to wine clubs curators, tons jobs have been created thanks to one of our favorite drinks.
Take the wine cellar business.
Wine cellars have become increasingly common, especially in high-end homes.
And business is booming. "There are no market downturns or election issues here," says Curt Dahl, a co-founder of Joseph and Curtis Custom Wine Cellars.
To the contrary, they are building cellars that start at $30,000 in a residential home and go up from there.
So is this a statement on the economy?
After the market crash in 2008, "many people didn't want to be as showy and insisted on putting their wine cellars in their basements," says Dahl.
But that has changed. People want their cellars upstairs and visible - like in the kitchen or dining room. "Anywhere from 60% to 70% of the cellars we build are on the main floor," says Dahl. And forget the dark Tuscan wood and big thick doors. Now wine lovers want cellars made with glass and sleek metal so that everyone can see their favorite wines.
We've talked before about how tons of people are collecting are wine. And whether it's for the love of it or their desire to use wine as a wealth transfer, they still need a place to put it.
"As long as they keep buying wine, we'll keep building cellars," says Chris Giantamidis, whose cellars start at $10,000. Giantamidis was a remodeler and, back in 2005, a client asked him to build a wine cellar.
He started getting requests for other cellars, and so he dove in full-time and founded Cava Wine Cellars.
And gratefully, his business is doing well too, especially thanks to repeat clients who buy new or second homes and want cellars there, too.
And those cellars are not just for wine anymore. With the rise in spirits and cocktails, people want a space in their home for both wine and spirits, that's more than your fraternity's pub bar.
And while the Dahl and his partner are from the Tri-State area, Miami now is their second biggest market. They have built as far as Costa Rica and have worked with celebrities like Buddy Valastro, a.k.a. the Cake Boss, and Carmelo Anthony of the NY Knicks.
But while these cellars aren't just for the uber wealthy, the cooling unit alone is around $2,000 for a small one, says Giantamidis. So even a small cellar -- like in a converted closet -- can cost close to $10,000.
And look, if you're good with a hammer or are looking for a DIY weekend project, you can certainly build a cellar yourself. Just make sure you buy a proper cooling unit and control the humidity. (Wine needs to be at around a 57% humidity level. Anything above 70% can cause mold to grow in the cork and ruin your wine. Less than 50% humidity can cause a cork to dry out and spoil the wine.)
So the next time you have that glass of wine -- know that it has created an industry. It has given people jobs -- and that should make the wine taste even better.