Wine requires precise conditions to age nicely. If you invest money in your wine collection, invest in an environment that keeps it safe for years to come. Let’s look at some of the necessary components of storing and preserving wine, and how the right HVAC system can help you achieve those conditions.
Why wine cellar temperature control is essential
Average room temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the wrong temperature to store wine, and the average refrigerator is much too cold. The ideal wine storage temperature is between 52-58 degrees.
Regulating wine cellar temperature control to prevent fluctuations is actually more important than the exact temperature setting. For wine, temperature fluctuation is the real enemy. Varying the temperature by 3 degrees can damage the flavors.
Frequent temperature changes throughout the day cause wine to contract as it cools, and expand as it heats up. This draws air in and out of the bottle through the porous cork. The more wine is exposed to air flow, the more it oxidizes. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can damage wine.
Wine cellar humidity control is important, too
A normal interior humidity level is around 20-30 percent. The ideal wine cellar humidity level is between 50-70 percent. Wine cellar humidity control is important because it all comes down to the corks.
If the air is too dry, the corks shrink and bottles will not be properly sealed. Again, this lets in air that oxidizes the wine. Too humid, and the corks and labels can develop mold that adds unpleasant odors to the wine.
Wine storage humidity levels are important to maintain the corks in best condition. Corks keep oxygen out of wine which prevents it from oxidizing.
More tips for wine storage
Keep out the sunlight
There’s a reason why most wine cellars are underground. Think of where the word comes from. Before refrigeration, a cellar would be the only cool, humid place people had to store things.
A basement can work well for wine storage because there’s no sunlight creeping in to damage your wine. The UV rays in sunlight can breakdown the compounds in wine that allow it to age properly. The downside is, the conditions in modern basements can fluctuate wildly.
So don’t go storing your wine in any old cabinet in your basement. The key to proper storage is investing in the right wine cellar climate control.
Clear away bad odors
Any wine lover will know that smell has a huge effect on taste. If you’re looking for the subtle differences between fruit notes, you don’t want to clog your palette with musty smells or chemical odors.
Wine takes on smells from where it is stored, whether that’s an oak barrel or a dusty basement. Keep your wine cellar clear of any odors and VOCs that could spoil your wine.
Get proper insulation & ventilation
Proper insulation is very important to a wine cellar. Keeping the area water and air tight will keep the wine cellar temperature consistent and protect the bottles from damage.
Your cooling unit can also breakdown if it isn’t properly vented to a room the same size or larger than the cellar.
The best cooling systems for your wine room or cellar
A wine cellar cooling system should be designed to control temperature and humidity in order to preserve your wine collection. Consider your environment and ensure the cooling system with the capacity to maintain the ideal conditions. Wine cellar temperature control also maintains a safe environment away from light and odors to keep your wine cool.
Have your wine cellar installed and maintained by reliable HVAC technicians to protect the quality of your collection. Here are some recommendations:
When you have a wine cellar that requires different conditions from the rest of your space, a VRF system is an ideal HVAC system that can take care of all your needs. It allows for independently-controlled zones, which means it can keep you wine cellar at a different temperature and humidity level than the rest of your home or restaurant. VRF offers precise temperature control and is great for controlling humidity. Plus, it’s super quiet.
Ductless split system
In this type of cooling system, a small evaporator unit is installed inside the wine cellar, with refrigerant and electrical lines connecting it to a condensing unit. The main condenser is located outside the wine cellar, so this is a good choice if noise and vibrations are a concern for your wine cellar.
How to take care of your wine cellar
Monitor your wine cellar temperature control daily
Keeping an eye on temperature and humidity in your wine cellar means you will know immediately if there’s an issue. Have a plan in place and the contact info to your HVAC technician easily accessible so you can help quickly.
The faster you contact professional help, the more likely it is they will be able to prevent costly damage to your wine collection. You can install wine cellar temperature control devices that allow you to monitor temperature and humidity remotely.
Get annual or seasonal maintenance
A wine cellar refrigeration breakdown can be one of the most expensive failures of HVAC equipment. Restaurant owners will know that refrigeration failure can be a major setback and costly in terms of lost operational time.
The failure of a cooling system in a wine cellar can be even more expensive if you can’t get it fixed in time to save your wine collection. That’s why it makes sense to monitor your wine cellar air conditioner, and invest in regular preventative maintenance. Scheduled maintenance will help you take care of your equipment and prevent an untimely breakdown.