Well, that really depends on what one is starting with and where one wants to end up! At its most basic, a passive cellar can be just a few cases tucked away in the dark corner of a basement. Coming from the east coast of the USA, and having lived in rural Italy, I have been fortunate to have very good cellar conditions occur naturally in both places. Of course, many people -- apartment dwellers, for example, and even most homeowners -- don’t have the luxury of a below-grade cellar with stable climate conditions. So, what’s a wine lover to do?Well, there are two choices. The first, and by far the easiest, is to buy a self-contained wine cabinet. They come in many shapes and sizes, one of which is probably sufficient for almost everyone’s needs. Of course, they’re not cheap, and getting some serious storage space requires a commitment to having hulking cabinets adorning one’s house. (You can read all about wine cabinets in my Wine Refigerator Guide, which will include consumer feedback on all the major brands plus buying tips.)
If you really want to explore converting some of your existing space into a cellar, there are several things you should consider before jumping in. If you’re interested in cellaring your wine properly (as you should be), you might want to check out my articles on cellar temperatures before asking yourself if you need to do more than set aside a part of your passively cooled cellar for storage. In general these sorts of projects are relatively big (read: expensive) undertakings. There are many issues one has to take into consideration. I’ve taken the time to run down some of the basic details of each.