top of page

From Portland to Guatemala: An International Wine Cellar Journey


Stellar Cellars had the opportunity to undertake a remarkable project that involved designing and constructing a wine cellar for a client in Guatemala. This unique venture presented an exciting challenge for our team of artisans and craftsmen, who eagerly collaborated with the client and his architect to create a stunning cellar that would house a collection of over 3,500 wine bottles. From the initial inquiry to the final installation, we will take you on a journey through the remarkable story of Stellar Cellars' involvement in this international project.

A Chance Encounter:

The project began when a discerning client, while dining at a prestigious restaurant in the United States, noticed their exceptional wine storage system, which had been designed and built by Stellar Cellars. Intrigued by the cellar's allure and innovation, the client's curiosity was ignited, leading to a momentous collaboration that would see the creation of an extraordinary wine cellar.

The client wasted no time reaching out to Stellar Cellars to explore the possibility of building a bespoke wine cellar in his home nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Guatemala. With ambitious plans for a grand outdoor kitchen, a captivating gathering space, and a secure safe room, the client's vision necessitated a capacity of approximately 3500 wine bottles. Thus, the challenge was set before Stellar Cellars: to create a sanctuary that could house and showcase the client's extensive collection, becoming an emblem of refinement and elegance.

Design and Collaboration:

Excited by the opportunity presented by this unique project, Stellar Cellars leveraged their industry-specific knowledge and experience to initiate a collaborative effort with the client and his architect. This collaborative approach is essential in the wine cellar industry, as it allows for a comprehensive understanding of the client's needs, preferences, and overall vision for the space.

Upon receiving the space measurements and reviewing photographs, the Stellar Cellars team began the process of translating the client's requirements into a functional and aesthetically pleasing design. Drawing upon their industry expertise, the team determined that their signature waterfall display racking would be an ideal choice to showcase the client's extensive wine collection while adding a touch of elegance to the cellar's overall aesthetics.

The signature waterfall display racking, a hallmark feature of Stellar Cellars' designs, is meticulously crafted to create a visually striking and functional display of wine bottles. This design feature allows for easy visibility and access to each bottle, while also creating a captivating visual centerpiece within the cellar. Its incorporation into the final design was carefully considered and aligned with the client's vision, ensuring that the cellar not only met functional requirements but also surpassed expectations in terms of visual appeal.

Throughout the design process, Stellar Cellars' industry-specific knowledge guided our decisions regarding materials, construction techniques, and space optimization. The team's understanding of wine cellar requirements, such as temperature and humidity control, lighting, and bottle storage, ensured that the final design not only met the client's aesthetic preferences but also provided an optimal environment for wine preservation.

Craftsmanship and Material Selection:

Creating a wine cellar that seamlessly integrates with a client's home is an art in itself. For Stellar Cellars, this meant recognizing the need for a material that would not only be visually appealing but also durable enough to withstand the test of time. After careful consideration, the decision was made to use mahogany, a wood renowned for its strength, beauty, and timeless elegance.

Craftsmanship became the cornerstone of this project, as Stellar Cellars' team dedicated themselves to the art of their trade. Each piece was meticulously crafted, ensuring that the integrity of the design and the strength of the structure were upheld. The artisans paid close attention to every aspect, from the precise measurements to the seamless joinery, ensuring that the components not only met the highest standards of craftsmanship but also exceeded the client's expectations.

After the completion of the construction phase, a thorough inspection was conducted to guarantee that every detail was perfect. Each component underwent a meticulous assessment, scrutinizing not only the craftsmanship but also the strength and overall aesthetics. Stellar Cellars understands the importance of delivering excellence in every aspect of their work, and this inspection served as a final confirmation of their commitment to quality.

Journey to Guatemala:

Preparation for the overseas shipment involved meticulous planning and attention to detail. Each component was packaged with the utmost care, considering factors such as weight distribution and shock absorption. Stellar Cellars wanted to ensure that their exceptional craftsmanship would arrive at the project site in pristine condition.

As the components were prepared for their journey, the dedication and commitment of the Stellar Cellars team shone through. Every step was taken to safeguard the wood, the structural integrity, and the aesthetic beauty of the components. The journey of the mahogany components from the Stellar Cellars workshop in Portland to the project site in Guatemala would be a testament to the craftsmanship and care invested in every detail.

The company's commitment to excellence extended beyond the design and construction phases, ensuring that the components arrived safely, ready to be transformed into a breathtaking wine cellar.

Overcoming Customs Delays:

The Stellar Cellars team encountered unexpected challenges during the journey, particularly when the cellar pieces were held up in customs for an entire month. Such delays in customs are not uncommon in international projects, as customs procedures can vary, and thorough inspections may be necessary to ensure compliance with regulations and import requirements. The team had to patiently navigate through the bureaucratic process, providing all necessary documentation and addressing any concerns or inquiries from customs officials.

When the news finally arrived that the customs issue had been resolved, it brought a sense of renewed enthusiasm to the Stellar Cellars team. The company's owner, Jerry, wasted no time and swiftly organized his and the expert installer's presence in Guatemala. Recognizing the urgency to ensure a timely installation, Jerry worked diligently to arrange flights and logistics, understanding the importance of being on-site to oversee the process and address any last-minute adjustments or requirements.

By promptly traveling to Guatemala, Jerry and the installer were able to bring their expertise, knowledge, and attention to detail directly to the installation site. Their presence ensured that any potential issues or challenges could be resolved swiftly and effectively, guaranteeing a successful installation process and client satisfaction.

Exploring Guatemala City:

During the unexpected delay caused by the customs clearance process, Jerry, the owner of Stellar Cellars, and the installer had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the vibrant culture of Guatemala City. This detour allowed them to explore the city's rich heritage, witness its diverse artistic expressions, and gain a deeper appreciation for the beauty of the region.

Guatemala City is renowned for its vibrant arts scene and its celebration of cultural heritage. The city boasts numerous public art installations, showcasing the talent and creativity of local artists. As Jerry strolled through the city, he marveled at the breathtaking public art that adorned the streets and plazas. One of the standout pieces they encountered was the striking statue of El Gigante, a larger-than-life sculpture that appeared to emerge from the earth, capturing the imagination and awe of passersby.

The statue of El Gigante is a prime example of the fusion of traditional and contemporary artistic influences in Guatemala. Its symbolic representation of a giant rising from the earth reflects the deep connection the Guatemalan people have with their land and their ancestral roots. This unique artistic expression resonated with Jerry, allowing him to connect with the local culture on a deeper level.

Installation and Collaboration:

Once the wine cellar components were released from customs, the crates were transported to the job site in Guatemala where the client had already organized a team of local workers to assist with the unloading and other labor tasks involved in the installation process. This collaboration with the local workforce turned out to be a positive surprise for Stellar Cellars, as it fostered a seamless and efficient installation process.

The presence of the additional labor force provided several benefits to the project. Firstly, it allowed the Stellar Cellars team to focus on their areas of expertise without being burdened by the more labor-intensive tasks. The installer could devote their attention to the intricate and precise installation techniques required for the wine cellar, ensuring its structural integrity and functionality.

Moreover, the collaboration between Stellar Cellars' team and the local workers created a synergy that brought together diverse skill sets and perspectives. The local workers, with their knowledge of local construction practices and techniques, were able to provide valuable insights and contribute to the project's success. They brought a wealth of experience and familiarity with the local environment, which proved invaluable in overcoming any challenges that arose during the installation process.

Empowering the Community:

During their interactions with the local workers in Guatemala, Stellar Cellars not only focused on the successful installation of the wine cellar but also developed a deeper understanding of the local culture and the impact their project had on the community. It was during this time that the company discovered an inspiring aspect of the project: the potential repurposing of the large wooden, waterproof crates used for shipping into dwellings for the local residents.

In many communities throughout Guatemala, there is a pressing need for affordable housing. The availability of quality materials for construction purposes is often limited, making it challenging for individuals and families to build safe and sturdy homes. Recognizing this need, the repurposing of the shipping crates presented a unique opportunity for the local community.

Stellar Cellars recognized the significance of this unintended consequence of their project. They saw firsthand how their commitment to quality craftsmanship and the use of durable materials had a lasting impact beyond the wine cellar itself. It reaffirmed their belief in the power of responsible business practices and the potential for positive change through collaboration with local communities.


Upon the successful installation of the wine cellar, Stellar Cellars paused to capture the culmination of their extraordinary journey through a series of photographs. These images serve as a testament to the company's unwavering commitment to craftsmanship, collaboration, and cultural exchange. The project not only resulted in the delivery of an exceptional wine cellar but also fostered meaningful connections between the Stellar Cellars team and the client. As they reflect upon their international undertaking, Stellar Cellars finds themselves deeply humbled by the positive impact they have made on the local community, further solidifying their reputation as an esteemed wine cellar company.

Nestled amidst Guatemala's captivating landscapes, this project stands as a powerful testament to the harmonious convergence of Stellar Cellars' unparalleled expertise and the client's visionary spirit. Together, they have crafted an indelible mark that will forever grace the hearts and minds of those who witness it. The exceptional wine cellar serves as a tangible representation of the enduring beauty and artistry that can be achieved when passion and craftsmanship intertwine.

Beyond the physical structure, this project has fostered meaningful connections and cultural exchange. Stellar Cellars' presence in Guatemala has left a lasting impression on both the team and the local community. Their commitment to collaboration and appreciation for the region's rich heritage have forged bonds that transcend boundaries and solidified their reputation as a company dedicated to both quality and social impact.

3 views0 comments


bottom of page