Water Into Wine -- 5 Steps For Restoring Your Basement Wine Cellar After Flooding

Posted on: 9 February 2017

If your wine cellar is in the basement, it enjoys a great location that no doubt helps you control the environment and temperature of your beloved collection. But, basements can also occasionally be the victim of flooding due to various causes. If yours floods, here are 5 steps to reclaiming your collection.

Remove and Dry. The first step to dealing with any flooding is to dry up the invading water and remove all the affected items. Whether the water is dirty or "clean" (relatively speaking!), it has the potential to ruin anything it touches and leave permanent damage to the house. Work with a professional with experience dealing with flooded basements to get rid of all standing water and dry out the structure of the cellar as quickly as possible. 

Toss Electrical Equipment. You may not want to lose the investment of money you've put into your cooling and temperature control equipment, but if they've gotten wet at all, it's probably best to scrap anything with electrical components. The reason is that things like refrigeration units have gears, tiny valves, and sensitive controls that are unlikely to be easily repaired after water damage. 

Assess the Bottles. Once you've taken the wine bottles to a safe location, take the time to assess each bottle individually. Bottles with screw caps are likely to have protected the wine best out of all your bottles, so separate these first. Intact corks that were in good condition before being submerged also will be likely to contain undisturbed wine. However, corks that were aged or in less than pristine condition may cause the bottle to be a loss. The labels and capsules are probably going to take the most damage and may be unrecoverable, regardless of whether you can still enjoy the contents. Contact your insurance company if expensive bottles fall into these damaged categories. 

Replace Racks and Furniture. The damage to the rest of your cellar will depend on what types of racks and furnishings you have. Some wood racks will weather being submerged quite nicely -- especially naturally water resistant types like redwood -- while others will warp almost immediately after drying out. Stools, chairs, drapes, or upholstery that was wet for any length of time may develop mold, so you probably want to replace those. Metal and plastic racks or shelves should be judged on a case-by-case basis. 

Prevent Future Flooding. Finally, once you've cleaned up your wet basement, salvaged what you can, and repaired the structure of the cellar, be sure to address the cause of the flooding -- whether it's natural drainage problems, old pipes, or cracks in your house's structure. Work with a qualified contractor, such as Flood Doctor, to minimize the possibility of further basement flooding before investing the time and money to restore the cellar.

By following these 5 steps when flooding occurs in your wine cellar, you can minimize the damage and loss while preventing future problems from this or any other flooding event.