What is the optimum climate control for a private wine cellar?
Jon FleetHead of Aftercare
A private wine cellar is a great opportunity to care for fine wine investments within your property and enables you to enjoy the investment at the pop of a cork, whilst adding significant value to your home. And just as the storage of any other fine investment such as antiques and artworks which you may have in a private gallery the storage conditions are critical.
A climate control system with closely controlled air temperature with the addition of humidity control and adequate air movement would be considered essential to provide a full climate control solution.
Indoor climate monitoring systems, including temperature, humidity and air quality monitors are excellent means of establishing whether or not the storage area meets any agreed optimum conditions and enables quick identification of any issues. This data may be accessed from your smartphone providing real-time data anywhere in the world.
What is the ideal temperature for storing wine?
Fine wine is an organic product just like any other food or drink. For best results, it must be stored at a temperature between 12 – 14°C. This moderates the process of maturing wines, developing complexity, softening tannins, and keeping the identity and vital statistics secured within the bottles. Private wine cellars are often located within the basement which would typically have a more stable temperature range. Temperature and humidity control would still be recommended to provide consistency during daily or seasonal fluctuations.
Higher temperatures detrimentally accelerate the change in colour, aroma and taste. The cooler temperature will slow the ageing process and wines stored below 10°C will hardly age at all. And finally, temperature consistency is essential and rapid fluctuations in temperature must be avoided.
Is humidity important in wine storage?
The ideal relative humidity for storing fine wine is 65-70%. The higher humidity will prevent the cork from drying out which would allow oxygen to enter the bottle This single reason is why wine is stored flat to maintain a ‘wet’ cork that will resist the passage of oxygen. Excessive humidity should be avoided as this will affect the label condition.
Humidity is closely aligned with temperature and will generally remain mutually stable once the correct climate control equipment is installed and commissioned.
What other storage factors could affect the quality of fine wine?
Other important factors to consider are vibration, air quality and exposure to light or UV rays.
Light levels should be low and an ideal lighting installation would include motion sensors to avoid the danger of lighting being left running for long periods. Fluorescent lights should be avoided as they emit high levels of UV rays.
Air quality is important and good ventilation combined with filtration and purification will help prevent the buildup of moulds.