Toast of the Town

On the road with master custom wine-cellar designer John Seitz.



Back in 1995, John Seitz, then a master carpenter/home builder in St. Louis, Missouri, was asked to construct a wine cellar for his friend’s home. He did—and his new business was born.

Seitz, today’s leading master custom wine-cellar builder, according to Wine Enthusiast magazine of Mount Kisco, travels the country in his 40-foot luxury American Eagle motor home, designing and installing each year up to 30 wine cellars for private residences and restaurants. His clients include Regis Philbin, for whose Greenwich, Connecticut, home he recently designed a 700-bottle cellar; retired NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace; and pro golfer Annika Sorenstam. Commercial clients include the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company in San Francisco and Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

Seitz’s cellars, a prestige item “like a Mercedes or Bentley,” are constructed of redwood. “It won’t rot or mildew and it will last forever," he says. Floors are typically of ceramic tile, marble, or slate, and walls are constructed from greenboard, a special dry wall that resists moisture.
Seitz has converted closets and spaces beneath staircases into 200-bottle cellars that start at $9,000. A more typical 1,500- to 1,800-bottle cellar in an 8-by-10-foot space costs about $40,000. “You can put a wine cellar anywhere you put a refrigerator,” Seitz says.

For more info: (314) 606-1233; magnumcellars.net.