A few months ago, I stumbled upon a modern wine cellar solution that fascinates me. The spiral trap-door wine cellar was invented by a Frenchman (of course!) in the late seventies who saw that few modern houses had wine cellars, but that people still needed a place to store their wine. His design uses the earth to insulate the wine bottles and create good storage conditions, taking up a fraction of the space required by a regular cellar. The cellar is also "green" because it maintains a constant temperature without using power. I particularly like the model kitchen with the clear glass trap door - take a peek. Talk about a great conversation-starter at parties! Naturally, this ultra-cool bottle storage system comes with a magnum-sized price tag. It costs about $30,000 to install a complete system. But, since Pascal's taste tends more toward "cave man" than "state-of-the-art futurist", I know one thing for sure: When we have an extra thirty grand to spend, we'll be investing it in a pile of old, cold French rocks.
For the past several weeks, Pascal and I have been immersed in research, planning and preparation for our soon-to-be-unveiled Wine and Dine Parties. We have been reading up on French vineyards, screening films like Bottle Shock, and creating food pairings for a select group of French wines. All of this research has re-awakened Pascal's dream of being a "cave" man. In France, wine cellars are called "caves", or to be more precise, "caves aux vins" (pronounced calves-oh-van). While I envision owning and decorating a picturesque French farmhouse one day, Pascal is more concerned with what the hidden space underneath that house will look like. It's not counting imaginary sheep, but rather counting dusty bottles of wine that sends him into a dream state. His vision is very precise. He wants an old, damp, crumbling, authentic wine cellar filled with bottles that he will select.