Stable control of temperature and humidity for the long-term preservation of fine wines, artworks, classic collections, and archives

Precious items require precision

Fine Wines, Artworks, Classic Cars and Archives all require specific climate-controlled temperature storage.

Maintaining steady temperature and humidity conditions in these storage facilities is prerequisite to ensuring these valuable items are being preserved in pristine condition.

Fine Wine

Fine wine is an organic product as are other foods and beverages. For best preservation it requires storage at a temperature of 13°C. This moderates the process of wine-ageing, facilitating the development of complexity and the tannins structure, at the same time as preserving the identity and vital statistics of each bottle. Higher temperatures accelerate deterioration of colour, aroma and flavour.

The ideal relative humidity for storing fine wine is 65-70%. Optimising the relative humidity in these storage facilities prevents the cork drying out and thus oxygen from entering the bottle. Excessive humidity is to be avoided as this will affect the label condition.

Artwork and Museum Storage

Artworks stored in galleries and museums typically include significant elements of organic material which is hygroscopic and absorbs and retains moisture. As the relative humidity of the air around it changes, there are a number of circumstances that could arise, such as fungal growth, swelling, shrinking, warping, and splitting and cracking within the artwork.

The recommended temperature for museum items is 16 to 20°C. Temperatures below 16°C are typically too uncomfortable for visitors.

A stable relative humidity of between 40 – 60% is considered optimum. Frequent fluctuations over a short duration are the most damaging as materials can’t acclimatise to a rapidly changing environment.

Classic Cars

Classic cars contain many elements made of perishable materials such as metals, wood, rubber and soft interior furnishings, all of which have sensitive storage requirements to minimise damage to the products through rotting, corrosion, shrinking and mould growth.

The most important factor is a stable relative humidity of around 55%. Humidity greater than 60% RH allows corrosion in untreated and exposed metal surfaces, which may occur anywhere inside the car, from the cylinders and brake disks to the exhaust and the inside of the chassis. Anything less than 50% may dry any wooden or leather elements beyond optimum, causing warping and cracking.

Archive Storage

Archival material covers a wide range of mediums such as paper, parchment, negatives and transparencies, digital records, and video and sound recordings. Such materials are highly susceptible to deterioration relating to changes in the environment such as humidity, temperature, light and air-borne pollutants, which may be regulated to create optimum conditions for preservation.

Such conditions require temperatures between 16 – 20°C and a relative humidity between 40 to 55%. Recent standards allow for some change between the minimum and maximum of these settings, such as seasonal changes, providing this change occurs slowly to allow materials to acclimatise. Air quality is also an important factor when storing documents – the storage facility should have space for free air circulation to reduce the chance of detrimental stagnant zones.

Case Studies

Wiltshire II

A secure specialist storage facility to store high-value Fine Investment Wines. Refurbished ex-WWII RAF aircraft hangars for ground crew training.

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