How To Cool Your Wine Cellar
If you’re reading this, chances are you already have a wine cellar or are considering having one. You may simply have plenty of wine to store or you’re a wine enthusiast. However, it’s also possible that you’re the owner of a restaurant that serves wine. But, regardless of the situation, you need to learn how to maintain it.
A wine cellar is essentially a space in your property that stores wine, and it may be underground. While defining it is pretty simple, the same can’t be said for properly having one. In the past, wine cellars were often situated in underground caves, allowing the wine to age undisturbed. Now, modern wine cellars’ design seeks to replicate the same conditions—cool, humid, and dark.
With that said, cooling a wine cellar is essential for having a good wine cellar. Aside from this, it’s also vital for the proper aging and storage of your wine collection. This is because the temperature impacts the rate of maturation, while proper humidity keeps your corks in good shape. Additionally, it’s important to regulate the temperature and the humidity of your cellar because if it’s too moist, mold and fungal contamination may occur. Meanwhile, if it’s too dry, your corks will shrink and your wine loses its oxidation.
Along with this, to effectively imitate underground conditions, your wine cellar may be in your basement. Unfortunately, underground storage often comes with several struggles, such as poor insulation, damn air, fluctuating temperatures, poor odors, and poor structural integrity. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid storing your wine cellar underground as it’s quite effective for imitating the environment of underground caves. However, this does support the need to regulate the temperature of your wine cellar to properly protect your investment and collection of wines.
With that said, here’s how you can cool your wine cellar to better store and age your wine for long-term collection or serving in the near future:
Step 1: Pick A Cooling System
The number one method often used for cooling your wine cellar is a cooling system made specifically for wine cellars. You can just imagine that it’s like an air conditioner optimized especially for a wine cellar.
It’s important to note that in cooling your wine cellar, you should avoid using a standard air conditioner as it can be inconsistent in temperature regulation. It also causes vibrations that wine cellar air conditioners eliminate.
By using a wine cellar air conditioner, you can ensure the temperature of your wine room stays constant throughout the day, no matter what the outside temperature is. There are many different types available, including noisier through-the-wall units that are cheaper, or fully ducted cooling units which are quieter but more expensive.
However, it’s worth noting that there are multiple kinds of wine cellar cooling systems, and it’s important to know which is best for you. You may take noisier through-the-wall units as one of the cheaper options. Meanwhile, others include fully ducted cooling units, split units, and self-contained units for quieter ones, but they’re more expensive. To further explain, here’s a quick explanation for each one:
- Ducted: Ducted cooling systems essentially refer to cooling systems that are stored outside and regulate the cellar’s temperature through ventilation ducts. Their design allows them to be hidden, making your cellar look cleaner. Additionally, the ducted type is known to be the quietest kind of cellar cooling system.
- Split: Efficient and long-lasting, split cooling systems help maintain a consistent humidity and temperature levels in spaces wherein proper ventilation is often not feasible. These can be ceiling, rack, or floor mounted, and they can be stored in cabinets.
- Self-Contained: Self-contained cooling systems have both condensers and evaporates contained in a single appliance. This allows for a quick installation without the need of an HVAC professional, if you wish to do it yourself.
Step 2: Pick And Prepare A Space To Put Your Cooling System
Having chosen your cooling system, it’s important to prepare and dedicate a specific space for the type of cooling system you’ve chosen. For example, if you’ve chosen a ducted cooling system, chances are you’ll have a ventilation duct. From here, you’ll simply reserve a space outside the cellar for the actual cooling unit.
Then, if you’ve chosen the split or self-contained cooling system, you may prepare a spot on the ceiling or the floor where you can mount it. However, if you’d much rather have a rack for it, then you can construct a rack for the cooling system.
Step 3: Install The Unit
Finally, you’ll have to install the unit. It’d be helpful to consider hiring a professional to do it for you. However, for a system like the self-contained unit, you don’t necessarily have to. If this is what you’ve chosen, simply place it on the rack in the correct position, and mount it by screwing it to the wall, floor, or rack.
Meanwhile, if you’re using a split cooling system, the same can be done by mounting the unit to a wall or ceiling space. However, remember that its external condenser can be located up to 50 feet from your wine cellar. Note that you need an HVAC professional for this kind of cooling unit.
Finally, if you’ve chosen a ducted system, know that it can be done on your own. However, it’s still advisable to ask for help from a professional as this kind of system can cost money and you’ll want it done well. This system can be installed adjacent to your wine cellar and connected to the ventilation ducts of your cellar.
Wine storage for any reason isn’t simple. It must be done right to properly store and age your wine. Often, wine cellars are stored in the basement or in a similar environment to better imitate the way wine was stored in the past. Unfortunately, these conditions also come with their challenges, like poor insulation. As such, it’s important to properly regulate the humidity and, especially, the temperature of your wine cellar.
If it becomes too moist, fungal contamination and mold might develop. Meanwhile, if it’s too dry, your wines’ corks might shrink and lead to the oxidation of your wine. With that said, properly cooling your wine cellar can be done through various methods. Hopefully, the guide above has helped you learn how to cool your wine cellar for better wine storage and aging.