By Tracey Longo

Ever dream of building the type of wine cellar that will help you take your wine collection to the next level? That’s exactly where Craig and Diane MacAllister of Fairfax found themselves, when their quest for new wines for their growing collection was thwarted by their home’s limited storage.

Their solution? Build the type of high-end, custom redwood wine cellar that encourages and even rewards their frequent wine-buying trips to Europe and California. Wine Cellar1

Today, the MacAllisters use their high-end wine cellar almost every day. The room is 100 square feet of retrofitted luxury, with custom redwood and mahogany racking and shelving, rich granite and tile work, glass front cabinetry and doors, two tiers of
lighting and the kind of perfect 24-seven 55 degrees that fine wines require.

It’s a sumptuous wine cellar that not only protects the MacAllister’s growing wine collection, but gives them the perfect place to host impressive tastings and kick off wine dinners. “We love collecting wine and it’s so communal,” says Diane MacAllister. “We get to serve wines that our guests would probably never taste otherwise, and will probably never taste again. We also get to buy wines by the case when we find great vintages, like we just did on a trip to Napa and Sonoma.”

After a long search for the right builder, the MacAllisters chose Michael Nash Design and Homes, Fairfax, because of the firm’s extensive expertise building wine
cellars and storage. Customers get to see that experience and attention to detail first hand in the two complete wine cellars the company built in its 8,000 square foot Lee Highway showroom.

Wine cellars are complex and need careful attention to electrical, cooling, lighting and moisture control to protect wine collections—all facts that became apparent to the MacAllisters as they did their research and began to interview builders.

“Be careful,” Diane MacAllister warns. “We had a gentleman come out and all of his work was subcontracted to others who could only work in the evenings and on weekends. Another gentleman showed us a glossy flyer with pictures of wine cellars we knew he hadn’t built. Yet another firm had Better
Business Bureau complaints.

“We had certain expectations for quality and appearance and we wanted a company that had the on-staff people with experience in the multiple concerns necessary to take this on as a turnkey project,” Diane MacAllister says. “When we saw the wine cellars in the Michael Nash showroom, we knew we found the right firm.”

The award-winning design and build firm, which routinely wins national and regional COTYs (Contractor of The Year awards), is proud of the work it does for wine connoisseurs throughout Virginia, DC and the mid-Atlantic, says Michael Nash president and CEO Sonny Nazemian.

“I think what really sets us apart is we use our own skilled employees to design and build wine cellars and wine rooms, which gives us the ability and flexibility to really meet our customers’ every need,” Nazemian says.

The cellar holds up to 17,000 bottles of wine, using an amazing configuration of clear Hardy redwood cabinets and mahogany racking. “The MacAllister’s chose custom-built double wine racks, traditional racks, open diamond racks, six-column racks, magnum racks and curved corner racks, to meet the MacAllister’s design needs,” Nazemian says

The room beckons the MacAllisters daily. “We go down to enjoy a glass of wine or grab a bottle for dinner. Now we get to wow our friends and family and kick off wine dinners with champagne and fruit served in the wine cellar. And it gives us the opportunity to buy cases from private wineries that don’t sell in stores. We love pairing food with wine and hearing guests’ “ooohhhs” and “aaahhhs.” It’s pretty amazing.

“We were also very pleased with all of the assistance we got from Michael Nash,” Diane MacAllister says. “They thought of all of the things we didn’t think of. We couldn’t be happier. I don’t think we’ll ever sell our house, because we won’t be able to part with the wine cellar.”