Hotels and homes alike are competing to install wine cellars that are taller, brighter, larger or simply fancier than the rest.
Viticulture specialists are always experimenting with new ways to develop fresh and exciting flavours of wine, producing sharper tastes and more expensive blends, and creating the perfect amount of tannins for that lovely bitter aftertaste.
Another way in which wine inspires competition is in the race to develop the most lavish and novel wine cellar designs. Hotels and homes alike are installing increasingly glitzy wine cellars, whether taller, brighter, larger, or simply fancier than any other.
Take a look at seven of the most impressive and outlandish wine cellars from around the world.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Zurich
At 16m high, this exotic wine cellar is the highest of its kind in the world. And the only way (well the most entertaining and novel way) to retrieve these bottles from the shelves to the customers? With acrobatic barmaids, called Flying Angels, who zip up and down the tower using a winch, of course. This enormous structure was designed by US-based Jeremy Thom Productions, weighs a massive 27.5 tons, and cost around 4 million Swiss Francs to construct.
Modern Pacific Heights, San Francisco
Tucked away inside a quiet set of charming townhouses on the streets of San Francisco lies a wine cellar not usually found in your everyday basement. The idea of the space is to provide a mix between a house and an art gallery, with rather unorthodox and innovative features. On top of a hidden, underground car lift, one of the key features of the townhouse is an expansive wine cellar constructed from lucite and stainless steel, giving the impression of an endless cellar — and therefore an endless supply of wine.
Multimillion-Dollar Estate, Tennessee
For owner of Beckwith Interiors Jamie Beckwith, having a seven-bedroom, six-and-a-half bathroom, 12,398-square-foot mansion was simply not lavish enough. It was, of course, missing an LED-lit wine cellar complete with individual wine holders and a transparent ceiling. The lights can change to any colour, adding a retro vibe to Beckwith's many parties, and the arches within the cellar perfectly match the gothic style of the rest of the estate.
Spiral Cellars, UK
The modern craze for storing your wine, which focuses on ease of access, low expenses, and decor integration, is installing a spiral cellar in the kitchen of your own home. First developed in 1977, the spiral cellar system is a proven success when it comes to storing the old vino, and design firm Spiral Cellar has taken this acknowledged method and modernised it. Matching the furniture or flooring of your home, these wine cellars can be easily and cheaply installed in any room of the home with a trap door which when closed seamlessly blends with the rest of the room. Yet when open, it leads to a spiral staircase descending into a huge array of your favourite wines, which thanks to the pipes and advanced ventilation system, will be fresh and the perfect temperature.
Carlton-Ritz Hotel, Shanghai
Named the world's best hotel in 2011 by Conde Nast Traveler, this glamourous and appropriately ritzy Chinese hotel prides itself on grandiose designs and furnishings and a particularly high-end dining scene. One of the centrepieces in this department is naturally the wine, which then requires an equally opulent area in which to store it. In its signature Cantonese restaurant, all 10 dining rooms contain their own private wine cellar, each as impressive as the next.
World's Largest Wine Bottle 480L, Switzerland
The small inn located in eastern Switzerland Gasthaus zum Gupf is home to the world's most incredible, record-breaking bottle of wine. Holding 480L of sweet world-class quality wine and with a height of 240cm and weight of 630kg, it is no mean feat. Just as exciting as this bottle of wine is the cellar in which it is placed, playing host to 25,000 other bottles, making up 2100 varieties of wine. The tactic of utilising the ceiling to store these many, and rather large, bottles of wine also makes this innovative cellar stand out amongst others.
Biggest Wine Cellars in the World, Moldova
Renowned for its flourishing wine industry and hugely popular annual wine festival, Moldova is the must-see place for all those wine connoisseurs out there. In the city of Milestii Mici, you can also find the world's biggest wine cellars, as recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records. You'll find almost any blend, colour, or taste of wine your palette could desire within the many walls of their underground cellars.