Parts of the book were helpful and the photos were interesting. However, aside from asthetics, the critical issues in building a cellar are the vapor barrier, insulation and cooling system. It would have been helpful to have more technical advice or at least technical advice that was easier to follow. For example, an explanation of why the vapor barrier must be on the outside everywhere (to keep condensation away from the insulation) would be more helpful than just a bald statement that it should be. The diagrams are clear as far as they go, but the explanation on how to put a vapor barrier up and insulate a ceiling is confusing in the absence of an explanation of the purpose of the vapor barrier. For example, if you have wires, pipes and ventilation ducts in your basement ceiling as most people do, what is the best approach? Should you drop the ceiling and then install a vapor barrier followed by insulation or is there something else you can do? Likewise, a discussion of the pros and cons of using a glass vs. solid door, whether to have electrical outlets inside and if so how many and why, whether to place the light switch inside the room or out, and a discussion of how to properly ventilate the cooling unit to optimize operational efficiency all would have been helpful. Finally, since the author is in the business, I would assume that he uses particular brands of cooling units and has specific recommenations regarding size, makes and models--all of that would have been useful information.
To be fair, I did a lot of research and nobody seems to be able to write clearly on this subject and there is a lot of conflicting information on various aspects of design and construction. Still, now that I've been through the construction process, it seems that someone with expertise should be able to write a sufficiently detailed publication to give a novice or a novice working with a general contractor who isn't a wine cellar pro an understanding of the critical elements of design and construction to help them anticipate the issues involved in building a cellar. The book falls short in that regard.
I agree with the reviewer above that this book could have been half as long. As someone who was already inclined to build a cellar, I was already familiar enough with wine to know how to serve it. I wasn't looking for a contractor's advice on that subject. What I was looking for was detailed information on planning/design issues and construction methods. The information in this book that I found helpful on those topics was less than complete and was limited to about a dozen pages.