Shapiro & Company Designs House to Accommodate Owner's Extensive Wine Collection

Cabernet to the Core

by Ben Lasman,
Shapiro & Company Architects

Wine occupies a central place in the lives of many collectors, but few go as far as entrepreneur Craig Weiss, who contracted Shapiro & Company Architects to design his Memphis home around a custom-built wine cellar.

"When you're in my cellar, you really see what my favorites are," says Weiss, pointing out the stacked wooden cases of cult Napa reds Continuum, Ovid, Phelps Insignia and Spottswoode that anchor the elegant underground room, designed by the East Lansing, Mich.-based firm Revel Cellars.

From an inauspicious start sipping white Zinfandel in college, Weiss developed a more sophisticated palate through tastings with friends and business partners. When he and his wife, Cathy, built their previous home, Weiss installed what he describes as a "wine closet" and set about filling it up. His efforts were bolstered by repeat trips to Napa. "When you're out there, you connect with the people and you're impressed with the beauty of the places," he says. "I haven't been on a tasting where I didn't love the wines, and I'm always tempted after a tasting to join the mailing list."

When work began on his current house, Weiss envisioned the raw basement space as a means to accommodate his fast-expanding collection. Now the Revel cellar holds more than 3,000 bottles, with a number of large-format selections up to 6 liters...

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