How to Make a Wine Room That Stands Out

Why Did We Build a Wine Room?

Jessica’s at Swift House Inn is known for our award-winning wine program. Thanks to David Herren, our resident Sommelier, the restaurant is only one of two in Vermont to currently hold a prestigious Wine Spectator Best of Award.

But the vast 1,800-bottle wine cellar is located far away from the dining room in the basement and with only a remote set of stairs for access on the far opposite end of the house.

To solve this problem, owner Matthew Robinson decided to utilize the former and currently unused reception to create a wine room. (The new reception and check-in area was relocated to the Gate House.) “We’re bringing our wine program out of the dark and making it more guest-facing and interactive,” he says.

These are the steps that we took to transform a stodgy old reception area into an inviting and versatile wine room.

Steps to Building the Wine Room

Chilled wine is being poured into 4 wine glasses. A small lamp illuminates the action and disperses yellow light into the rooms ambiance.
Photo by Damian Tollens

1. The Electric

Matthew believes that lighting is essential in creating special spaces. He hired Dennis Newton Electrical Refrigeration and Air Conditioning to upgrade the electrics to accommodate the new wine fridges and improve the lighting.

2. The Paneling & Moulding

In order to tie the wine room and the bar together, paneling from the bar was copied and installed in the wine room.

3. The Cabinetry

Matthew worked with carpenter Phil Heitkamp and KOB to create the custom cabinets that were installed on either side of the wine fridge. The counter tops were sourced from Surface Creations of Vermont and give the room more storage and table space.

4. The Paint

In painting and furnishing the wine room Matthew wanted to stay consistent with the height and color scheme of the bar, while also providing the adjacent wine room with its own personality. The bar is colored Wythe Blue, the wine room is Carter Plum, both found in the Williamsburg Paint Color Collection.

5. The Wine Fridge

“We found wine fridges that were appropriate for the scale of the room, and built the custom cabinetry to accommodate them,” said Matthew. Ultimately, the pair of wine fridges—one for red and one for white—was purchased from Wine Enthusiast as it provided the room with an elegant stainless steel feature and incorporated 25% of our premium wine stock into a convenient, upstairs place for the sommelier.

The Takeaway

The inn is now hosting wine tastings and events for its guests, and inviting local wineries to showcase their wines. Guests can learn about the history and culture of wine.

Jessica's restaurant coaster placed on the bottom of a wine glass.

If you’re looking for a unique and historic wine-centric experience, look no further than Swift House Inn’s wine room. Whether you’re a wine lover or just looking for a cozy and inviting space to connect with others, you’re sure to find something to love in this beautiful and unforgettable space.

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