By Ashley Corey. Wine Cellar Types. Published at Thursday, May 31st, 2018 - 01:02:50 AM.
Airflow and ventilation: Since wine thrives best in cooler temperatures (and ages more slowly), the importance of adequate airflow and ventilation in an underground wine cellar cannot be over-emphasised. Maintaining good airflow to your cellar will keep it free from any persistent odours and will ensure a healthy and long-life for your wines. The room adjoining your wine cellar is known as the exhaust room and if you want your cellar space to stay at a cool and constant temperature, the exhaust room will require a cooling unit. A cooling unit will blow cool air into the cellar at a 45-degree angle, which then pushes warm air to the ceiling. This warm air is then brought into the unit and passes into the exhaust room – helping to regulate the temperature in the wine cellar.
For flooring, cover the insulation panels with plain wood (plywood), preferably overlaid with a thick synthetic carpet which can cushion dropped bottles and minimise breakage. The optimum cooling equipment is not domestic air conditioners but industrial refrigerating compressors, situated outside the houseapartment and connected to evaporators in the cellar, which are best mounted on the ceiling to save wall space for the racking. It is better to provide over rather than under capacity of cooling because it imposes less strain on the compressor. And insist on high quality equipment, especially the controlling thermostat. A faulty thermostat could cause the compressor to operate non-stop, leading to temperatures of 50 degrees fahrenheit or more below zero, with absolutely disastrous and irretrievable consequences to your wine. Provision of an alarm set to go off if the temperature goes beyond preset minimum and maximum temperatures is essential.
Insulation and vapour barriers: A poorly insulated wine cellar will cost you more than a few ruined bottles in the long run. Storing your wine correctly means keeping temperature and humidity levels under constant control, so you’ll need to invest in the kind of insulation that’s up to task. In maintaining the correct insulation of your underground wine cellar, you’ll need to install a vapour barrier to keep your cellar free from the humidity of the surrounding area. A vapour barrier generally consists of a closed-cell spray-on insulation foam and should be placed on the warm side of your walls and ceiling. This keeps moist air inside, whilst preventing condensation developing on the outside of your wine cellar walls. Consequently, being able to control the amount of moisture in your cellar will help to conserve energy and prevent mould growth too.
A dumb waiter saves your back, and with advancing age this is solid medical advice! Industrial strength insulation is essential, even for below ground cellars. The standard material used is four to six inch thick polystyrene or polyurethane sheets, aluminum clad on both sides. Insulate all six surfaces, meaning four walls, ceiling and floor, even if your cellar rests on solid earth. The cold room contractor who advises that it is not necessary to insulate the floor because it rests on solid earth does not know what he is talking about and should be avoided. Heat absorbed by the ground during the day goes through the earth and rises through the floor.
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