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2016SpringShotcreteEMag

Goin’ Underground Creating a Wine Cave By Jason Zignego The perfect temperature for storing wine is between 58 and 61°F (14 and 16°C). In Springfield, MO, where temperatures vary 80°F (44°C) between January and July, there’s only one way to assure those ideal wine storage temperatures: go underground. For one private homeowner, the appreciation for wine extends to the construction of a wine cave under his home for storage and enjoyment of his collection. Drawing on the talents of architects, engineers, cave contractors, and a wine cave consultant from Napa Valley, this personal tribute to fermented grapes is being built with extensive use of shotcrete. Wine caves have been constructed for more than a hundred years in northern California’s Napa Valley, where land values are high and the evaporation from wine kegs can result in up to 10% product loss in 2 years if humidity isn’t properly controlled. Wine makers consider humidity over 75% for reds and over 85% for whites to be ideal for wine aging and barrel storage. Humidity in wine caves ranges naturally from 70 to 90%. “Ideal wine temperature is between 58 and 60°F (14 and 16°C),” explains wine cave consultant Brady Mitchell, a hands-on cave construction specialist from Napa (refer to Fig. 1). The temperature 45 ft (14 m) under the home of the Missouri wine aficionados’ new home is 60°F (16°C). “Perfect,” states Mitchell. Excavation into a hillside below the home site began in 2012. Bacchus Caves (The Woodlands, TX) dug the tunnels, including a 150 ft (46 m) long shaft that will be used for wine storage. A 2  ft (0.6 m) diameter cutting head attached to a hydraulic excavator broke up the Fig. 1: Brady Mitchell is a modern-day cave man who specializes in wine cave construction, having built many in the Napa, CA, area Fig. 2: Dry-mix shotcrete was used for structural support during excavation 46 Shotcrete • Spring 2016


2016SpringShotcreteEMag
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