Forget Man Caves and She Sheds, I Want a Wine Cave!

Wine cave in Texas IIHIH

The Hill Country Wine Cave in Texas is like a private nirvana for wine-lovers. The award-winning architecture combines a beautifully designed tasting lounge, bar, wine cellar that holds 4000 bottles and a restroom – all camouflaged inside a hillside.

Wine Cave in Texas

wine cave in texas

Clayton Korte Architects has managed to turn an existing tunnel measuring 18′ tall by 70′ deep into a private residential wine cave in Texas Hill Country. With a barely visible entrance from the exterior the wine cave includes a custom insulated storage cellar, lounge, tasting room, bar and bathroom.

wine cave exterior

wine cave entrance

inside wine cave front door

Limestone, raw and ebonized oak wood, reclaimed cedar, concrete and stone are expertly combined in a design that’s both functional and comfortable with sophisticated interior decor.

hill country wine cave

inside wine cave

The following text is courtesy of the architects, Clayton Korte:
Located at the eastern edge of the Texas Hill Country, this private wine cave serves as a destination along a secluded bend of the Blanco River. Excavated into the north face of a solid limestone hillside, this shotcrete lined tube is protected on the east and west by tall oak and elm trees, allowing it to nearly disappear within the native landscape. The unassuming exterior entry court reveals a bit of mystery as it provides just a glimpse of what lies within. Heavy limestone boulders, collected from the excavation, and lush vegetation further camouflage the entry as you descend into the mouth of the cave.

inside wine cave 4

inside wine cave 1

A tasting lounge, bar, wine cellar, and restroom are all tucked into an 18’ tall x 70’ deep existing tunnel. The exterior opening of the cave is capped with a board-formed concrete portal that molds to the irregular surfaces of the limestone and structurally retains the mouth of the earth cut. The concrete is meant to patina naturally over time as native moss and ivy clings to the face and climbs onto the flanking limestone walls to further blend the headwall into its surroundings.

clayton korte wine cave

bathroom in texas wine cave

Once inside, a study of white oak, both raw and ebonized, mixes with vertical grain Douglas fir to panel the walls and dropped ceilings as a warm contrast to more rugged concrete and stone that surrounds. Custom insulated and thermally broken steel and wood windows provide separation between the interior and exterior, as well as the entertaining lounge and the chilled cellar. Reclaimed cedar was salvaged and milled for live-edged countertop surfaces for the tasting bar and the floating restroom vanity. “It’s like a ship in a bottle,” notes Brian Korte, FAIA, lead architect for the project. “The components of the wood insert are deliberately kept away from the existing cave walls so that the room remains adaptable.”

wine cave concrete

Sitting under the fully arched profile at the back of the cave, the private cellar is surrounded by casework providing storage for an ever-expanding private collection of +/-10,000 bottles. This space is thermally controlled by the naturally colder subterranean temperatures with supplemental cooling to help maintain an optimal atmosphere of 55-60 degrees.

FIRM: Clayton Korte
TYPE: Residential › Private House
YEAR: 2019
SIZE: 1000 sqft – 3000 sqft

Project Team:
Architecture: Clayton Korte
Brian Korte, FAIA, Partner
Camden Greenlee
Structural Engineer: SSG Structural Engineers
Mechanical Engineer: Positive Energy
Lighting Designer: Studio Lumina
Civil Engineer: Intelligent Engineering
General Contractor: Monday Builders

2021 Residential Design Architecture Awards, Honor Award
2021 Luxe RED Awards National, Wow Factor Room
2020 Architect’s Newspaper Best of Design Awards, Interior – Residential
2020 AIA San Antonio, Merit Award
2020 Dezeen Awards Architecture Longlist, Small Buildings

Photography courtesy of Casey Dunn via Clayton Korte and Architizer

Clayton Korte