At the same time, having half the house turned into a building site seemed the right moment to take the plunge with my dream: a proper cellar.
Some houses in my Edwardian street in Herne Hill were built with half- cellars; some, like mine, weren’t.
Storing wine around a house is all right provided it is in a dark place without temperature fluctuations. Racks in cupboards or wardrobes are fine, though not ideal: the standard wine cellar temperature is 11 to 15 degrees (wine producers’ own cellars are at the lower end of that range).
But as soon as you’ve got more than a few dozen bottles — like me, as I’m the Standard’s wine critic — and anything serious enough to need ageing, you need proper storage.
Ruth Bloomfield uncovers the latest wine storage trends
Camilla Dell, buying agent and managing partner of Black Brick, says: “Most buyers of new top-end, prime London properties expect a wine cellar, especially in a house.”
A popular trend is a wine wall, with climate-controlled glass cases, in preference to artworks or mirrors.
They cost from £15,000, while creating a large wine cellar can cost as much as £500,000.
Meanwhile, property developers are getting in on the act with communal wine rooms.
At Fulham Reach in Hammersmith, developer St George has included temperature-controlled cellars with an industrial feel. Prices at the waterside development start at £809,950 for a one-bedroom flat.
A wine room holds plenty of appeal, and not just for storing your best vintages, says Howard Elston, associate director of Aylesford International.
“It signifies that you are a sophisticated vendor who likes the finer things in life,” he adds.
In Totteridge, north London, a new Italianate-style mansion comes with an elegant wine cellar. The property is on the market for £16 million with Knight Frank.