Wine Storage – Climate Controlled Storage

In a recent blog post we talked about the importance of climate controlled storage for museums and today we are going to delve further into the realm of climate control. Temperature and humidity play a vital role in the life of all species on the planet but in terms of everyday human life, these two factors are of particular importance when it comes to storage. A good example is wine storage.

The storage of wine  has to be conducted with care, particularly if the wine is valuable. For anyone building their own wine collection – and there are many people who choose to do this as a form of investment as well as for the love of good wine – the subject of storage is very important.  If the conditions of temperature and humidity are not properly monitored and controlled in wine storage then a lifetime’s collection or a serious financial investment can soon disappear, quite literally down the plughole!

Understanding Climate Controlled Wine Storage

How Temperature Affects Wine Storage

Wine is known to be highly susceptible to temperature change. Exposure to too high a temperature can effectively ‘cook’ the wine and ruin the taste, although the length of exposure before it’s ruined will vary from wine to wine. Madeira for example is believed to be able to withstand high temperature exposure for longer than most other wines because a high temperature process is used in the production process. Exposure to too low a temperature and wine can freeze and in so doing push out the cork. This in turn allows oxygen in to mix with the wine in the bottle.

Wine experts debate the exact temperature range for wine storage because there are so many different wines, all susceptible to temperature in their own unique way. Also it depends upon whether you want to just store wine for a short period before drinking it or whether you have long term storage in mind in order to help the wine age properly. The general guidelines appear to be:
a)    General wine storage –  between 50 and 59 °F (10 and 15 °C)
b)    Long-term wine storage for aging – between 52 °F (11 °C) and 55 °F (13 °C). Wine expert Karen MacNeil (creator of the Rudd Center For Professional Wine Studies) has written extensively on the subject.

How Humidity Affects Wine Storage

When it comes to wine storage the degree of humidity can affect a wine’s quality quite radically. Too little humidity and wine corks can dry out, allowing oxygen in with the risk of oxidization. Too much humidity and the labels can be at risk of damage which in the case of valuable wine could devalue it.

Just as with temperature, the ideal humidity is debated by wine experts but it is generally thought that 75% humidity should be the aim. For those privileged to have their own dedicated wine cellars, one expert we came across suggests the best way to maintain  a natural, optimal humidity is to spread half an inch of gravel on the floor of the cellar  and periodically sprinkle water on it. Another wine expert we came across believes that wine should never be stored in a refrigerator because of the potential risk of dehumidification. How many people will follow that idea through, however, is another matter for debate!

In summary, if you have some quality wine and need effective wine storage you need to ensure proper temperature and humidity control. For those who don’t have a personal, vast wine cellar with a proven track record of many years of good wine storage to its credit, then the ideal solution is to invest in a quality, wine storage cabinet.

We can custom build wine storage cabinets with temperature and humidity control to suit your needs. Read more on our page about climate controlled wine storage and feel free to contact us. Our Technical Director Allen Strange has many years of experience in climate controlled cabinet manufacture including bespoke options.

NOTE: We also apply the same scientific principles of climate controlled cabinet building to fur storage cabinets … but that’s a story for another day 🙂