“Our clients include royalty, heads of state, politicians, titans of multi-national businesses, household names in the entertainment, sport and music industries and wine writers. Most commonly, they are high net with corporate executives,” said Lucy Hargreaves of iconic wine storage company Spiral Cellars.
This bespoke wine storage solution has become the premium home feature as city-dwellers look to move out to countryside properties, and use the extra time and space as an excuse to invest in their homes. The game of one-upmanship sees its elite level in the field of home décor. And in wine storage, in particular. A wine collection confers cachet and a showcase wine collection impresses.
There are such things as inferior and superior wines as there is a definite hierarchy with cellaring options. At the bottom you have the start-up winebox. Then the two wine bottles on top of the fridge which is usually followed by the charity shop self-assembly wine rack which, incrementally grows to neck supports and display plinths. Then it becomes very interesting with under the stairs designs, John Lewis geometrics, lockable glass cabinets, wall-mounted double depth racking, kitchen island displays, and converted temperature and humidity controlled basements.
And if your wine collecting gets really out of hand, there’s the bespoke warehouse and project-managed, modular engineered, high water table friendly, modular engineered, natural coloured concrete wine catacombs, which can accommodate up to 2,000 loose bottles.
“We build over 200 a year ranging from £19,000 kits to £330,000 customized installation,” says Lucy Hargreaves who runs London’s premium cellaring solutions consultancy, Spiral Cellars. The home of conspicuous consumption and the luxury wine cellar is also the home of tennis, Wimbledon, but the design service is available worldwide.
A Wine and Spirit Education Trust level 2, Lucy is also an interior designer, cookbook author, clarinettist and singer. She adds: “My musical claim to fame is giving a public performance of Mozart’s Requiem the day after giving birth! I had contractions during the final rehearsal but made it to the concert in St Pauls, Wimbledon Portside.”
Lucy was born and brought up, and was married in Sherbourne. Her parents ran a hairdresser’s salon. Having studied international marketing at Bournemouth University and in Aix and worked on the ‘styrofoam’ brand for Dow Chemical in Scandinavia, she founded her own agency and bought Spiral Cellars Ltd in 2004 and, in 2015, took over full ownership with her now husband, Mark Dickens.
Mark is an ex-gamekeeper. He tells me: “I kept pheasant and partridges in Nidderdale, Yorkshire. I had pink hair at the time!” He was professional bass player in rock band and studied mechanical engineering and product design at Leeds. He has also has a degree in furniture design and attended the art college there and was a contemporary of Damian Hirst. He had his own creative brand marketing and design agency, Astound, and spent 20 years in retail consulting. He was involved in the 2001 Tesco rebranding, introducing the country to the slogan: ‘Every little helps’.
Spiral Cellars offers a wide range of excavated wine cellars, customised wine rooms and wine walls with cellars made out of GRC limestone made in Cannock. “As the UK’s leading provider of luxury wine storage, we offer the broadest range of luxury wine cellaring on the market,” says Mark. “But we’re not just for the super-rich,” adds Lucy, “we also have a large number of clients who are wine enthusiasts who spend years saving up for their cellar.”
Lucy remembers her parents drinking Black Tower and Chianti. She explains: “The family wine rack was under the stairs. Beside the heated hostess trolley. Very Abigail’s Party!” Mark’s first wine was Mateus Rose and an early memory is the smell of wine cellars on a summer holiday to Portugal.
The Surrey-based couple call themselves ‘professional wine organizers’ and ‘cellar tailors’. As well as deluxe wrapround cellars, they also advise on wine cabinets and niches. No space is too small or too much of a challenge. They have fitted wine storage in every kind of space from yachts, elevator shafts, airing cupboards and an en-suite shower.
Mark, whose father ran grocers and supermarkets, adds: “We do a lot of work for non-wine drinkers and people who don’t drink at all but just want somewhere to keep their handbags, shoes and in one case, soft drinks. We have built storage for very rare wines that belonged to Napoleon, Faberge vodka eggs and rare whiskies. They’re as much museums and showrooms as some wine cellars.”
Lucy says: “We have a prototype cellar with about 800 bottles. half for maturing. And half for drinking”, but if your needs are on a smaller scale, Wineaware is based in Littlehampton, Sussex and specializes in custom built wine racks to fit any space and to accommodate any bottles from magnum to half bottle. It also advises on puck and track lighting. Similarly, A&W Moore in Derbyshire offers cellar air cooling system and wine racks up to 490 bottle capacity.
And you don’t even have to build up a collection, you can get an impressive wine cellar all in one go, giving your best loved wines the best home possible.
London’s famous wine and spirits merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd, founded in 1698 and Britain’s oldest, has launched the ultimate in Christmas luxury this year and any year, with the release of its personal wine cellar gift, which includes a visit to the store to create your ideal fine wine collection.
The deluxe gift is available at three price points: £2,500, £5,000 and £10,000 – all of which include a visit to the BBR’s historic shop in Pall Mall for an appointment with a fine wine specialist who will help you begin or complete a wine collection your new cellar will be worthy of.
All imagery used in this article credit: Spiral Cellars