The storage of wine in cellars is a tradition dating back many centuries, but the issue of controlling a constant temperature remains an issue for wine enthusiasts. Experts agree that wine storage temperatures should never be above 75 degrees Fahrenheit, but is generally best around the 55 degree range. It is imperative that wine storage temperatures never fluctuate more than 3 degrees per day or 5 degrees per year, as any rapid changes in temperature is a sure way to poison your pinot.
To help maintain consistency in temperature, wine storage should be keep dark, free from vibrations, well ventilated and clean, as well as around 60 to 70 percent humidity. Many wine purists believe that below ground cellaring is the one and only way to store wine. However, many contemporary wine enthusiasts believe that actively conditioned wine cellars are better for storing wines, particularly for keeping temperatures consistent if aging wines for an extended period of at least a year or more.
Regardless as to whether you decide to build an in-ground cellar or actively-conditioned cellar, below ground level is truly the best placement for wine storage when trying to regulate consistent temperatures. When designing your cellar, be sure to pick a basement location that is away from your furnace or heating system, to help regulate temperature further. Yet if you happen to live in an apartment, portable wine cellars can be purchased for wine storage as an alternative.
The most common way to ensure consistent storage temperatures for your best bottles is through the use of a wine room cooler. A wine room cooler is a dedicated unit that helps to keep your wine room as a pre-selected temperature and more importantly, to consistently maintain that ideal temperature.
In designed your cellar, there are a few recommended guidelines to abide by. First, the walls and ceilings of your storage unit must be properly insulated to protect the necessary temperature and humidity. Also essential is a vapor barrier and sheathing, which can prove to be a little expensive but well worth the cost in the long run. As for flooring, some experts say simple earth is best while others prefer sealed brick, tile or stone. Also, the door to your new underground liquid safe should be well protected with weather stripping and double insulated glass. For wine racks, tropical hardwoods like mahogany or redwood are best suited for cellars, as they are moisture-resistant in nature and strong. Other choices like birch, cherry or oak are much more likely to grow and keep mildew or rot unless otherwise treated.
No matter what your final cellar choices are, maintaining a constant temperature is the key for collectors to preserve their wine from maturing too quickly. By controlling the conditions of wine storage, connoisseurs are able to delicately and artfully develop a wine’s flavor through time but there’s still no exact science to the process. Try visiting your nearest wineries or vineyards to see what they recommend for wine storage or have to offer in terms of tricks of the trade. Cheers!