Founded almost 40 years ago and still privately owned, Spiral Cellars is the UK’s leading provider of luxury wine storage, having created beautiful wine cellars for almost 4,000 wine-loving customers.
In this interview, Simon Wittenberg speaks to Lucy Hargreaves, MD Of Spiral Cellars, to find out more about the business.
LM: Please can you give our readers a bit of background on how Spiral Cellars started, and how the business has evolved over the last four decades.
LH: Unsurprisingly, the original idea for a spiral cellar came from a Frenchman, Georges Harnois, who was having difficulty finding sufficient space to store his own wine collection. He wanted to cross a bridge, the steps for which happened to be in a spiral staircase formation (how very French…). As he climbed the steps, he noticed the utilised space around the central column of the staircase. Et voila! The idea for the Spiral Cellar was born.
LM: What types of installations do you offer, and how much do they typically cost?
LH: I’m proud to say that Spiral Cellars offers the broadest range of cellaring solutions on the market – and by quite some way. Our underground cellars are so iconic that people often assume that’s the only type of wine storage we offer, whereas the reality is that we make luxury wine storage in all shapes and sizes.
These are namely, small, closet-sized wine wardrobes for apartment dwellers where space is at a premium; stunning full-height glass wine walls for those wanting to create a statement with their wine storage; larger bespoke wine rooms either in a contemporary or more traditional design aesthetic; cocktail cabinets for superyachts, and frankly, anything and everything in between.
The cost of wine storage obviously depends on the type of cellaring specified.
Unsurprisingly, a large, solid oak, hand-crafted bespoke wine room will cost more than an ‘off-the-peg’ wine cabinet designed to hold a discreet 66 bottles. As a general guide, the price of an underground Spiral Cellar ranges from £24,400 to £70,000 depending on the chosen cellar type and choice of door, installation and accessory packages selected, even less if you have a builder who can install the cellar for you. Bespoke wine rooms and wine walls start upwards from £35,000 depending on size, chosen materials and fixtures and of course, the intricacy of the design. Our Soho wine cabinets start from just over £12,000.
LM: How long does a wine cellar or room take to install, and are there any prerequisites for being able to have one?
LH: An underground Spiral Cellar takes less than nine days to install, a fact that our customers find difficult to believe until they witness it themselves. The only prerequisite to having a cellar is the presence of a ground floor in which to cite it – you don’t need an existing basement or cellar. In most instances, planning permission isn’t required, though you will need listed building consent if you are lucky enough to live in a historic home.
LM: Where are your products and furnishings manufactured?
LH: Being a privately owned British company, we manufacture our underground cellars ourselves here in the UK. Similarly, where we can, we try to source materials for our bespoke wine room projects from the UK, however, sometimes that just isn’t possible. In such instances, we will source globally in order to ensure we are using only the very best materials for each project.
LM: Who is your typical customer?
LH: The concept of a typical customer is a luxury we can only dream of. The truth is, our customers are as varied as the number of storage solutions we offer. Some clients are serious wine buffs who have been collecting wine for many years; others are only just starting out on their wine collecting journey. Clients acknowledge that whilst they enjoy wine, they aren’t fanatical about it and regard luxury wine storage as much as a means of enhancing their home as they are looking for a place to store their wine.
There has also been a big increase in recent years, of enquiries from both women and younger collectors as our interest in wine becomes more democratic. It’s simply no longer true to say that wine collecting is the exclusive preserve of older gentlemen.
LM: Do you only provide cellars to UK clients, or is your customer base worldwide?
LH: It’s true that a lot of our business stems from the UK, but our cellars and wine rooms also do sterling service keeping wine safe in all four corners of the globe.