There is a house right down the street in Northville that “houses” Michigan’s largest private collection of wine. And it can be yours – sans the wine but plus everything else – for a bottle or two over $3 million.
The “everything else” includes a 13,196 square-foot main house and 4.82 acres of secluded property only a screen pass from the Big House, Metro Airport all of the other benefits that come with living in a big city.
The wine cellar is what helps make this house special and unique. And there are two of them. The lower level is a large temperature controlled wine cellar with approximately an 8,600 bottle-rack capacity and space for thousands in case lots.
The upper level is located at the end of the dining room and can be seen through a beautiful picture window and includes a 750 bottle capacity plus room for a few hundred case lots.
The two wine cellars, believed to be two of the largest combined capacity climate-controlled wine cellars in a private residence in America with an estimated 9,350 bottle rack capacity plus thousands in additional boxed-lot capacity.
When wine connoisseur Bob Cummings was designing his new home in 1994 he used his then-current home in Farmington as his blue print. The wine cellar in his Farmington house could store 3,000 bottles of wine which he realized wasn’t big enough to house his growing collection.
“We lived in Farmington until 1992 and by that time our inventory had increased two or three fold,” said Cummings. “I told my wife we needed to provide ample space even if we don’t have that much wine now there is a good probability we will accumulate more as we go down the road. We had to prepare and design the new cellar with that in mind so we decided to incorporate two wine cellars into the design, one in the basement and one upstairs.”
Cummings and his wife Millie are now “downsizing” and have their Northville estate up for sale at $3.375 million.
“The smaller one in the dining room was for aesthetic purposes and also if you were having a dinner party and wanted another bottle of wine you wouldn’t have to go downstairs to get it,” Cummings said.
A wine cellar must be designed and constructed like a refrigerator with a proper cooling system to help control environmental factors that may negatively affect the storing and aging of the wine. There are certain materials, from the wood to the tiles to the lighting, which are important when designing a wine cellar.
“There is a right way and a wrong when building a wine cellar,” says Cummings. “Having built two prior we knew what the right way was and you have to completely encapsulate the entire room including the ceiling and the floor.
“We put thick Styrofoam padding in the walls and then drywall, built the racks and case openings and put in the tile on the floor which we brought in from Italy and the backsplash in the bar area with tiles we also brought in from Italy.”
Cummings says redwood is the choice for most wine cellars for the racks, cabinets and paneling. Redwood wine racks don’t need stains or finishes to become durable because they have natural wood preservatives and are highly resistant to shock, decay, insects, and mildew. Redwood also has the ability to remain sturdy in humid conditions since the tree itself thrives in both humid and cool weather.”
He says he never bought a bottle or case of wine with the intent to sell it.
“I never sold a bottle of wine until 2006. I found out that my Bordeaux’s were worth 20 to 30 times the amount of my investment and decided that my friends could drink a little less quality wine because that’s too much money to pass up,” he said.
And he worked hard for his money.
Married for 35 years, with four kids and 12 grandkids, Cummings “grew up in humble beginnings in Ecorse.” He began his career as a purchasing agent at Ford Motor Co. before launching his own manufacturing rep business, Dearborn-based J & J Production Services in 1975, the same year he began collecting wines.
“It was a big risk to go out on my own, and I had to work a long, long time before it paid off,” he said.
Location: 21080 Cambridge, Northville
Owners: Bob and Millie Cummings
Square footage: 13,196
For sale: www.ultimatemichiganmansion.com