The environment in which your wine collection matures can affect how it will taste once it is finally uncorked.
The environment in which your wine collection matures can affect how it will taste once it is finally uncorked. Wine should be aged in a cellar where the temperature is a consistent 55℉, with relative humidity (RH) of 50-70%, away from damaging UV rays or harsh lighting, and free from unwanted vibrations. How can you create such specific conditions in your wine cellar to ensure your wine ages gracefully? Read on to find out how.
Passive Vs. Active Cooling
A wine cellar’s temperature may be cooled actively or passively. A passive wine cellar uses its natural environment to keep its contents at a consistent temperature. Passive wine cellars may be in a cave, but more commonly are in a subterranean (underground) basement. The soil around a passive wine cellar helps to protect the wine from daily temperature fluctuations, though the wine may still be subject to seasonal temperature swings. An active wine cellar uses technology to control and maintain its temperature and humidity. Temperature and humidity control are achieved by using a cellar cooling system. The cellar cooling unit of a wine cellar or room works like a standard air conditioning unit, blowing cool air into the cellar and exhausting hot air to the exterior/outside. Cellar cooling systems do not, however, remove humidity like a standard A/C unit. Instead, cellar cooling systems maintain the humidity of the cellar. Humidity can be created inside a cellar by adding a humidifier that uses distilled water or placing a bucket or bowl of water inside. A cellar monitoring system can be installed to observe the cellar’s conditions, which alerts the cellar owner of any changes in the room. Whether the cellar is active or passive, the space must be properly insulated and sealed to ensure consistent conditions.
Custom Wine Room with 2500 HZD Cooling Unit by Vinotemp
UV Rays and Lighting
One of wine’s enemies is exposure to ultraviolet light. Prolonged sun exposure can begin to break down wine’s organic compounds, which has a negative effect on the way wine tastes. The best way to protect wine from UV rays is to store it away from sunlight. To achieve this, the cellar should be in a basement or room without direct sun exposure. Harsh lighting can also heat the wine cellar, so selecting LED lighting that does not emit heat is best.
Inside the cellar, bottles should be stored securely on wine racks. The best position for wine is the horizontal orientation, where the liquid inside the bottle will touch the cork, keeping it moist so that it maintains a seal. If you live in an area prone to earthquakes, straps may be added to select wine racks to help hold the bottle in place. Since wine storage rarely requires daily maintenance, one way to prevent unwanted movement in a cellar is to simply leave it alone unless it is time to select a bottle, clean, or re-organize.
The cellar’s conditions can significantly affect the way wine tastes, so it is important to keep these factors in mind as you plan your wine cellar. If you have any questions about the best environment for wine, contact one of our cellar experts today at 1-800-777-8466 or email firstname.lastname@example.org