posted on Apr, 21 2007 @ 06:46 PM
I live in france in an old farmhouse situated in the heart of the cognac vines (literally). Most places like mine have at least one "VAT" which was
(and are) used for the fermentation of the grape juice. I have 3 of them and will soon be converting one of them for "emergency" use. They are made
from 6-8 inch thick reinforced concrete and have an access hatch on the top and various drain holes on the front. They are situated in a stone
building with 2 foot thick stone walls and massive oak beams! Although mine are not that big, I could get me, my cats and a whole bunch of supplies
into it. Water can be stored in one of the others and fed into it. People who wish to renovate old property here often ask me if I could remove their
vats (I am a builder). When I finish laughing I suggest other uses for them which may involve something a little less drastic (storage usually
involving removal of one face and inserting a door). My point is...concrete and reinforcing steel are cheap, strong and practical, easy to work with
and the structure would stand up to quite a pasting even above ground. It is also excellent at providing fixings for shelving and space saving. You
would be amazed what you can do with shuttering and pouring of concrete and if you dig it into the ground it is really simple. Dig hole, pour base,
shutter sides, pour sides, shutter roof, pour roof. You can incorporate seperate areas for water, waste, ventilation etc etc. There are no limits and
if you use the "Hobbit Hole" approach, you can go with arched corrugated metal as the frame and build around it and expand to your hearts content.
In the future I will knock 2 of my vats into 1 or just go out the bottom and see how far down I can go, nice chalky rock (my water table is around 15
meters down!) then I go sideways as far as I want. No risk of running into neighbours here, ha ha. So...always more than one way to skin a cat eh!