Wine Storage Humidity & Temperature

wine storage humidity

Have you ever wondered why restaurants and wine connoisseurs store their bottles of wine in wine cellars? There is a good reason for this and there are quite a few requirements necessary to store wine properly. In this article, we will look at why wine storage humidity and temperature control is important and how you can manage it.

Wine Cellar Temperature And Humidity Details

Wine cellars used to be underground. This practice began several centuries ago. The very early wine cellars were actually caves which became the storage area of choice because of a few simple factors. The cave temperature and humidity provided the best possible environment to keep the wine from spoilage, therefore, preserving the taste and quality of the beverage.

Wine cellars protect bottles of wine when stored in an area that has a relative humidity that measures somewhere between 50 and 70-percent. Combined with this is a temperature that falls in the range between 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, or 7 to 12 degrees Celsius. These conditions create a damp and cool environment that is perfect for wine storage.

What Makes Humidity So Important To Wine Storage

Wine storage humidity is directly related to the cork that seals a bottle of wine. The cork is porous, which controls the amount of oxygen that enters the bottle. If too much oxygen passes through the cork, it can spoil the wine, and not enough oxygen can slow the maturity progress of the wine impacting how it tastes. You could say the cork is the control mechanism.

Corks are used as they expand to make a firm seal. However, for a cork to expand to create that seal, it has to remain moist. The humidity level in the wine cellar is responsible for this. If the humidity drops below the preferred zone, the cork may shrink and that will permit too much oxygen to enter the bottle. Too much humidity could result in mold developing on the cork.

How To Prevent Wine Cellar Humidity From Becoming An Issue

Not only will too much humidity impact the quality of wine with mold growth on the cork, but it will cause damage to the labels on the bottles and the glue that keeps them in place. If you have been purchasing and storing specific bottles of wine, you will want to be able to properly identify what you are opening and serving. Proper humidity assists with this.

There are ways to prevent wine storage humidity from getting out of hand. This involves a little bit of preparation and planning. Here are a few suggestions that may be of help:

Vapor Barrier

Installing a vapor barrier around the entire area you intend to store your wine is an excellent start to creating a humidity-controlled wine cooler. The vapor barrier should be a plastic that is no less than 4-mil. When hanging it in the room, overlap and seal the seams between sheets. The vapor barrier must be on the outside of the cellar insulation to prevent condensation.

A Humidity-Controlled Wine Fridge

Should you not have the room for a small wine cellar, you can still store your favorite bottles in a humidity-controlled wine fridge. These are compact enough to sit in the kitchen. Aside from being far more affordable than a wine cellar, wine fridges keep bad odors away from your wine. They also happen to be environmentally friendly and a better choice than your existing fridge where you cannot control the humidity.

A Wine Room Humidifier

Probably one of the most logical solutions for wine storage is a humidifier. This appliance will maintain the ideal humidity for wine cellars provided you have it set to keep the relative humidity at the proper level for wine storage.

However, you can’t just install the first, affordable humidifier you see on sale. There are a few considerations to factor into your purchase.

How To Find The Right Wine Room Humidifier

Pay Attention To Unit Capacity

Humidifiers come in many different sizes. The general rule of thumb is that rooms that measure 1,000 square feet or greater require humidifiers that have a unit capacity of 3 gallons or more. A wine cellar of smaller size will only need a one to a three-gallon humidifier. The gallon measurement references the amount of water the unit can process over 24 hours.

Type Of Control System

Choosing a wine room humidifier that is fully automatic is the best way to go. That is because as the humidity level in your wine cellar changes, the humidifier will self-regulate without the need for you to make any adjustments. This also means that an automatic system in a humidifier will run, turn off and turn on only when the humidity falls out of the programmed range.

Well-Made And Durable

There will be no doubt that the humidifier unit you use to regulate the moisture content in your wine cellar is going to get a good workout. This is why you will need one that is not only good quality but one that can stand up to the test of time. You can research different models online and check reviews to find out which brands and models are best for your requirements.

The Required Maintenance

One important consideration is the amount of work required to keep your wine room humidifier in operation. You will want to get one that automatically refills and drains. Manual humidifiers are a bit more work. Also, a good-quality brand requires less maintenance in the long run.

Safety In Design

Finally, a wine room humidifier that has a wetted pad design is a good choice. That is because this type of design is safer for the environment you are using it in as it does not send bacteria or dust particles into the air. Instead, the humidity is regulated through the emission of vapor.

In Conclusion

Wine requires attention to detail when left in storage. To preserve the quality of the product, the combination of temperature and humidity is vital. The reason for this is that wine bottles that are corked permit the right amount of oxygen into the bottle to keep the wine in good condition.

With improper wine storage humidity and temperature control, the amount of oxygen and moisture that passes through the cork can damage the wine. Wine cellars with humidity control are best for proper and effective wine storage.

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