Your wine collection reflects your personal taste and geography around the world.  When you travel, you may tour a local vineyard and bring back a bottle or two or a case of wine Discovering and acquiring a fine wine, or an unknown gem and food pairing is great fun and is quite an adventure.A wonderful wine collection can provide enjoyment in the near, mid and long term, providing you store the wine correctly.

Whether your wine bottles are meant for everyday sipping or stored as a collection, there are some key storage points to keep in mind. When considering a location for storing wine, you want to think about factors such as temperature, humidity, light and vibration, as each will have an effect on the long-term storage of your investment.

Ideal Wine Storage Conditions:

  • 55ºF to 57°F (12°C to 14°C) ambient temperature
  • No more than 5ºF annual variation in temperature
  • 55% to 70% relative humidity
  • No direct UV light
  • No vibration

Temperature, Light and Vibration

Ideally, you want to choose a location that is below ground level, such as a basement where temperatures are naturally cool all year long. Your home basement is a very popular place to store your collection.  There are numerous wine cellar ideas for basement wine cellar storage.

Store your wines against subterranean walls and off of the floor if the area is particularly damp. Try to choose a location that is far from heat sources such as water-heaters, furnaces, boilers, and away from outside windows which can cause temperature fluctuations and expose the collection to ultraviolet light.  The vibration caused by furnaces, boilers and water heaters can affect the long-term quality of your wine.  Vibration can change the chemistry of the wine, causing it to lose quality, aroma and flavor.

Unique Storage Areas

If you’re working with less than a full-sized room, a closet-sized space can also be used as a wine storage room.  When working with a smaller space, the same rules are still in effect.  Lighting should be low wattage, as a smaller space can be heated by less light.  The floor should be switched from carpet to a slate, ceramic or porcelain tile to keep the space cool.  The door can be changed to include double paned and airtight glass so that your small-space wine room is on display to guests.  Lastly, a wine cellar cooling Systems should be used to keep your wine collection stored in proper conditions, keeping it fresh and slowing the aging process.

Humidity and Wine Storage

Humidity is also important. If you are planning on storing your wine without a wine cooling unit you will have to pay particular attention to the humidity levels within your storage space year round. Too much humidity may cause mold growth and labels to peel. Too little humidity will cause corks to dry and premature aging of the wine. Keep in mind that a dehumidifier or humidifier may both be required depending upon the region of the country and season of the year.

  • Below 50 degrees in humidity – the cork dries up and cracks, exposing the wine to contaminants and bacteria. A simple remedy is to add a humidifier to your wine cellar cooling unit.
  • Above 70 degrees in humidity – there’s no danger to the wine or cork with too much humidity. Mold or mildew could develop on the bottle and ruin the label and even your wine racks.

Wine cellar specifications:

Successful long-term storage conditions include a consistent temperature between 55°F and 57°F (12°C and 14°C), humidity control, darkness and no vibrations.

To properly control temperature and humidity, your wine cellar must be insulated and sealed with a vapor barrier.  Eco-friendly closed cell spray foam, professionally applied, is an all-inclusive insulation and vapor barrier.  Call us with any questions – 203-916-1664.

Walls:

  • Construct the cellar walls with 2”x4” framing.
  • Use R-13 faced insulation
  • Put foam 4 mil plastic on the walls away from the wine and insulation face toward the wine.
  • Floor grouted or finished tight to the walls.
  • Make sure walls are painted to the floor.

Wall Materials:

Finished wall material inside the wine cellar can be m-r gypsum board, stucco, or a damp resistance wood such as cedar or redwood.  It should be finished tight to the floor.

Ceiling:

If the ceiling has existing joists, cut strips of 4-mil plastic and staple it between the joists.  Eight inches of fiberglass is the minimum required insulation on the ceiling.

Doors:

Doors are exterior type with a good weather seal and caulked tight to the floor, jambs, and header.

Floors:

Install a vapor barrier under the floor; for concrete floors, treat with a water sealant.

Lights:

Your wine collection likes darkness. Avoid light as much as possible as this breaks down the molecules and causes chemical reactions that negatively affect the wine flavor. If possible, use incandescent bulbs over fluorescent bulbs as these use smaller amounts of UV waves.

Windows:

All windows should be of the insulated, double wall, thermopane type.  The space between the window frame and the wall studs should be packed with insulation and covered with the vapor barrier.

Besides the wine and wine racks, the wine cellar cooling unit is the most important component to properly storing and maintaining your wine collection.  Wine cellar coolers excel at one thing:  keeping the wine cellar temperature constant.  Your collection doesn’t just need a cool, dark place, it requires a static temperature, no fluctuations.  Wine cellar coolers maintain two critical components to your wine collections’ proper aging: temperature and humidity.

Wine Cellar Cooling Units

Wine room coolers are available in different sizes and types, depending on your unique requirements.

There are three types of wine cellar cooling units:

  1. Through the wall – ideal for smaller wine cellars, easier to install than full HVAC units
  2. Self-contained ducted cooling system--available in different sizes with more flexibility as the wine cellar cooling unit can be located outside of the wine cellar.
  3. Split cooling system, ducted or ductless – available in different sizes, this gives you the most flexibility in configuration. Essentially, the wine cellar cooling unit is split in two pieces and connected with a refrigeration line.  These units require a licensed HVAC-R for installation.

Summit Cool Cellars(https://coolcellars.com)and Summit Wine Cellars (https://summit-cellars.com) offers one-stop expertise as a complete wine cellar contractor guiding both residential and commercial clients from concept and consultation through wine cellar design, fabrication and installation. Owner/designer Fred Tregaskis creates dramatic custom wine cellars for fine homes, restaurants, hotels and wineries throughout the world.

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