By Maleah Robledo. Wine Cellar System. Published at Thursday, May 31st, 2018 - 00:33:53 AM.
The ideal temperature and humidity of any wine cellar would do well to mimic the natural conditions of France's legendary wine caves, which are acknowledged to be close to perfect. Keeping the rest of the world's cellars at the same 55-57 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees C) and with an average of 60% relative humidity generally requires some form of dedicated wine cooling system. To properly control the cellar temperature and humidity, the system should take into account and manage not only the cellar's temperature but also the vagaries of the climate in which you live. It is hotdry? Hothumid? Colddry? Coldhumid? Will your system also be required to supply heating to maintain the correct winter temperature? These are all important considerations when building or retrofitting your wine cellar.
While it is necessary to evaluate the amount you’re spending each year on growing your collection, it is also important to understand that keeping the storage temperature and humidity levels proper and precise is key to maintaining your collection. For both the amateur collector and aficionado, investing in a cooling unit for your wine cellar is a sensible, intelligent investment. While keeping in mind the humidity range your wine should be stored in (50%-70%), it is also useful to know the proper temperature you should keep your cellar. In fact, light, vibration, or temperature variance are also factors that can affect the aging of your collection.
If humidity is too high, you risk growing mold in your corks, labels and wine racks. If the temperature is too cold, the wine becomes dormant and would end up tasting flat instead of being fruity and sparkling. If the temperature is too high, you risk cooking the wine and aging it prematurely. Ideally, however, the cellar room itself should be designed and constructed precisely with the right conditions for these temperature and humidity variables to work.
How to Resolve the Humidity: First step should be the installation of a vapor barrier around the entire room. A minimum of 4 mil plastic is recommended with seams overlapped and taped. The vapor barrier is installed on the outside (or warm side) of the cellar insulation. This is to prevent condensation from forming on the vapor barrier, potentially causing mold. A cooling unit alone cannot add moisture or humidify cellar air. It needs a humidifier to do so. The best option is a humidifier integrated into a cooling unit so it operates and distributes the moisture evenly in the re-circulating air. However, a free-standing humidifier can also be installed in conjunction with a cooling unit as long as this is controlled by a high-quality wall-mounted thermostat.
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