Formerly relegated to basements, wine collections are now taking center stage in luxurious wine rooms that are designed to both showcase bottle arrays and serve as eye-catching components of an interior’s design. Donna DeSanctis, co-owner of Naples-based Coastal Custom Wine Rooms with her husband, Amedeo, has agreed to uncork the expertise she has gained in the high-end wine room design arena over the past 30 years.
NI: How does a wine room differ from a traditional wine cellar?
DeSanctis: Simply put, a wine room is aboveground whereas a traditional wine cellar is located belowground. Needless to say, we do wine rooms and wine walls in South[west] Florida.
Are wine rooms limited to those who have expansive wine collections?
Not at all. So many of our clients are not wine collectors, simply wine consumers who want to display the wine. Some of our clients collect cognac, vodka, and bourbon. We have even seen them store beer in the space. It’s so universal.
How do you customize your creations?
It all depends on the client’s relationship with the wine. If they are collectors, their needs are different. They want an environment for the wine that consists of the correct temperature, controlled humidity, light exposure, and proper storage. If a client is preserving and/or aging the wine, they usually like to store it in a wood racking system. This always keeps the wine unexposed to light. If they are casual collectors, they usually want to display the wines and have them chilled and ready to serve.
How small or big can a wine room be?
As grand or simple as the client wants. We have created wine rooms that house over 1,500 bottles, and we have created wine walls that house 100 bottles.
Why is the lighting of a wine room such a critical component?
There is natural lighting and designed lighting. Collectors of red wines want very little natural sunlight exposure. Then we have creative and functional lighting. We do a lot of creative backlighting on the racking. This highlights the wine bottle. Then we have functional lighting so the client can service the wine room. We always use LED light, so no heat is produced. This is important.
What trends are you seeing right now?
Wine walls and refrigerated wine rooms surrounded with glass are trending. Design style is leaning toward contemporary, while the wine racking systems are metal. A lot of our customers are moving here from the West Coast and bringing that California flair.
Besides the wine racks, what other components can be added to these wine rooms to make them distinct?
There are a myriad of options—floating glass shelves to display collections, lighted walls and countertops, and serving stations to decant and serve the wines. Wall and floor coverings can really establish the tone of the room. We use a lot of stacked stone, Chicago brick, and marble. We just finished a wine wall where the client requested a European high-gloss paint, which was fun.
What makes your company unique?
Our refrigeration systems. They are custom-designed and built for each particular wine room. The unit can be monitored and controlled by the client’s phone. This can be very important to clients with an expansive collection.
What has been your favorite project?
It’s impossible to choose—every wine room has been my favorite until we finish the next one. It’s great to have a job where clients are so excited when the project is complete. And when they invite us back to share in their wines? That’s the part I love. Cheers!