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The Wine-cellar

As the wine-cellar and press-house are generally built together, I will
also describe them together. A good cellar should keep about an even
temperature in cold and warm weather, and should, therefore, be built
sufficiently deep, arched over with stone, well ventilated, and kept
dry. Where the ground is hilly, a northern or northwestern slope should
be chosen, as it is a great convenience, if the entrance can be made
even with the ground. Its size depends, of course, upon the quantity of
wine to be stored. I will here give the dimensions of one I am
constructing at present, and which is calculated to store from 15,000
to 20,000 gallons of wine. The principal cellar will be 100 feet long,
by 18-1/2 feet wide inside, and 12 feet high under the middle of the
arch. This will be divided into two compartments; the back one, at the
farthest end of the cellar, to be 40 feet, which is destined to keep
old wine of former vintages; as it is the deepest below the ground, it
will keep the coolest temperature. It is divided from the front
compartment by a wall and doors, so that it can be shut off should it
become necessary to heat the other, while the must is fermenting. The
other compartment will be 60 feet long, and is intended for the new
wine, as the temperature will be somewhat higher, and, therefore,
better adapted to the fermentation of the must. This will be provided
with a stove, so that the air can be warmed, if necessary, during
fermentation. This will also be closed by folding doors, 5-1/2 feet
wide. There will be about six ventilators, or air-flues, on each side
of these two cellars, built in the wall, constructed somewhat like
chimneys, commencing at the bottom, whose upper terminus is about two
feet above the arch, and closed with a grate and trap-doors, so that
they can be closed and opened at will, to admit air and light. Before
this principal cellar is an arched entrance, twenty feet long inside,
also closed by folding doors, and as wide as the principal cellar. This
will be very convenient to store empty casks, and can also be used as a
fermenting room in Fall, should it be needed. The arch of the principal
cellar will be covered with about six feet of earth; the walls of the
cellar to be two feet thick. The press-house will be built above the
cellar, over its entire length, and will also be divided into two
rooms. The part farthest from the entrance of the cellar, to be 60 feet
by 18, will be the press-house proper, with folding doors on both
sides, about the middle of the building, and even with the surface
ground, so that a wagon can pass in on one side and out on the other.
This will contain the grape-mill, wine-presses, apparatus for stemming,
and fermenting vats for white or light-colored wine. The other part, 40
feet long, will contain an apparatus for distilling, the casks and vats
to store the husks for distilling, and the vats to ferment very dark
colored wines on the husks, should it be necessary. It will also be
used as a shop, contain a stove, and be floored, so that it will be
convenient, in wet and cold weather, to cut cuttings, &c. A large
cistern, to be built on one side of the building, so that the necessary
water for cleaning casks, &c., will be handy; with a force-pump, will
complete the arrangement. I need hardly add here, that the whole cellar
should be paved with flags or brick, and well drained, so that it will
be perfectly dry.

This cellar is destined to hold two rows of casks, five feet long, on
each side. For this purpose layers of strong beams are provided, upon
which the casks are laid in such a manner that they are about two feet
from the ground, fronting to the middle, and at least a foot or
eighteen inches of space allowed between them and the wall, so that a
man can conveniently pass and examine them. This will leave five and
a-half to six feet of space between the two rows, to draw off the wine,
move casks, _&c_.

This cellar will, at the present rates of work, cost about $6,000. Of
course, the cellar, as before remarked, can be built according to the
wants of the grape-grower. For merely keeping wine during the first
winter, a common house cellar will do; but during the hot days of
summer wine will not keep well in it.

Next: Apparatus For Wine-making--the Grape Mill And Press

Previous: Gathering The Grapes

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