Minnetrista’s Jeff Hagen believes that a wine cellar is essential for the dedicated wine drinker. “It’s not like beer,” he says. “You can’t just pick up your favorite bottles at the local store.” However, most people who are interested in wine specialize in drinking it rather than in the construction of cellars. That’s where Hagen’s expertise comes into play.
His lifelong love of architecture, which moved aside for a different career path during college, finally found its place when Hagen discovered wine. After designing a cellar for a friend and for himself, he realized that there weren’t many options for people who wanted custom cellars.
So in 2006 he founded VinGrotto Cellars, a Minnetrista-based operation dedicated to creating wine storage customized to clients’ spaces and aesthetics. His wealth of knowledge is impressive—from how to create racks to fit a curved wall (very tricky) to correct temperature. Humidity, Hagen says, is often overlooked, but can seriously affect a wine’s flavor.
Though the cost of installing the correct temperature and humidity equipment may vary, VinGrotto charges a reasonable $7 to $11 per bottle for the racking itself. The expertise, though, is priceless.