By Lou Arriaga. Wine Cellar Types. Published at Thursday, May 31st, 2018 - 10:52:04 AM.
Climate control: Many people wrongly assume that an underground wine cellar will be naturally cool. In fact, for underground wine cellars in Australia, the opposite is true. This enclosed space can result in cooked wine in the summer months, and as the temperature varies again in winter, cherished and rare wine varieties can become completely ruined. It’s therefore vital to install the correct climate control equipment to keep temperature and humidity levels just right. The idea temperature for wine cellars is 14 degrees, give or take a degree, whilst humidity levels need to be kept between 65% and 75%. In low humidity, corks dry out, which lets in air and oxidises the wine. In extremely high humidity, label mould can occur. Make sure your wine cellar climate is properly maintained.
The first principle for starting a wine cellar is to ensure temperature control. The perfect temperature for wine storage is a constant 55°F. Lower temperatures will throw the wine into a state of dormancy. For example, storing wine in the refrigerator at near-freezing temperatures will numb the wine, making it taste flat instead of fruity and lively. Higher temperatures will not only accelerate the wine’s aging, but when kept above 75°F the wine will slowly bake.
Wine is also extremely light-sensitive. We winegeeks keep careful tabs when we’re wine shopping, and whenever a bottle is kept on the top shelf beneath bright lights, we follow one simple rule – don’t buy that wine. I’ve opened bottles for tastings and five-course meals that were dramatically affected by light. The cooked fruits, caramel and bourbon flavors were not what the wine maker intended. Needless to say, keep your bottles in a dark place until it’s time to pop the cork to avoid putting a damper on your evening.
This also means that you should measure the bottles you plan to keep. Keep in mind that the average 750 milliliter bottle of wine is approximately 3-4 inches wide and roughly 12 inches tall. However, wine bottles come in a variety of sizes, so consider any exceptions to this measurement that you purchase frequently or would like to store. So, if you had roughly 20 bottles of wine that you wanted to store, consider storing them in a rectangle: 4 bottles by 5 bottles. If you allow 5 square inches for each bottle (including the dividing woodmetal), that would give you an area of roughly 20 inches by 25 inches. You can use this as a guideline when designing your home wine rack.
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