Wine Cellar FAQs
Over our years in the industry, we’ve been asked many questions about wine cellars and wine storage. Below are some of the most common questions we are asked. Feel free to get in touch with us if your question isn’t answered below!
- Why do I need a wine cellar? A wine cellar is a necessity if you plan on collecting and aging wine. Wine is a dynamic drink and adapts to the environment, and the surroundings need to be controlled for favorable drinking conditions.
What environmental factors can wine cellars mitigate or control? The four most important factors you must control are temperature, humidity, light, and vibration.
The general wine storage temperature is 55 degrees Fahrenheit, with a range of approximately 5 degrees in either direction. The temperature must not vary; as fluctuations will disrupt the aging.
The relative humidity level should be kept at about 65%, but it can range anywhere from 60-80%. However, if your bottles are hermetically sealed, humidity doesn’t play a role.
UV light will make your wine age prematurely, as it breaks down components in the wine and could even cause it to smell off. Only light your cellar when you are using it; and use LED lights or low ambient sources.
Constantly shifting vibrations and movements will slow down and disrupt the aging process. It’s important to keep disturbing movements to a minimum for the best aging results.
- Can I have concrete walls in my wine cellar? Yes, if it’s a passive cellar that has no cooling system. However, if you have an active cooling system, then you’ll need vapor barriers and insulation, as concrete is a bad insulator and will suck out the cold air.
- How should I store my wine bottles? If it’s corked, store it on the side, making sure the wine is in contact with the cork. This allows air to not reach the wine, which can cause early aging because of oxidation.
- How long can I store my wines for? As a rule of thumb, whites are meant to drink relatively immediately, while reds can age. The amount of time for maturing depends on various factors, including complexity and the type of wine. The higher the tannin content (which comes from grape stems and skins), the longer you can store the red wine for—even up to centuries.
- Why are bottles stored horizontally? The cork stays moist from constant contact with the wine; this stops oxidization and evaporation, as no air can enter the bottle.
- Should I return a bottle to my wine cellar once opened? No, as oxidization begins the moment you’ve uncorked the bottle. Refrigeration can slow the process down but returning it to the cellar has no positive effect.
- How do I tell my wine hasn’t been stored properly? If the cork bulges over the top of the bottle (you can feel this under the capsule), then there’s a good chance that it’s prematurely aging. Another possible sign is if there’s excessive sediment in the bottle, or if the wine has evaporated through the cork. You can tell if this has happened since a wine bottle that’s been properly stored should be filled to around the halfway point between the shoulder and top of the bottle.
- I have a wine bottle with a screw cap. How should I store it? Since there are no pros to storing a screw-capped wine bottle horizontally, simply store it vertically. This saves you both space and time (as bottles stored horizontally for several years should be turned upright for up to 24 hours before drinking).
- Should I turn my wine occasionally, so the cork doesn’t dry out? No, not if they’re properly kept cool.
- Do I need to have my wine cellar actively cooled? Not necessarily, but for optimal results when storing and aging fine wines, an actively conditioned wine cellar helps you constantly regulate the temperature and humidity control. Unless your passive wine cellar can consistently maintain roughly the same temperature and humidity, consider getting a wine cooling system.
- What kind of wine cooling systems are there? There are three main categories that exist: through-the-wall design, split air handler, and a ductless split system. The first system is best for smaller cellars due to their limited capacity; they also do cause some noise, which is important when choosing where your wine cellar will be located. Split air handler systems are ideal for any size, but are a great option for commercial use, as there’s not much prominently visible equipment. A ductless split system is commonly used when ducting isn’t an option (for example, if the condenser must be installed outdoors.) Please speak to us for more information about these systems!
- Are there any woods I should avoid in my wine cellar? Stay away from woods like birch or oak, which can sustain mildew in a damp environment. opt for woods that are resistant to moisture and rot, but that also have the strength to hold your wine bottles. Some examples of hardwood include walnut, maple, and hickory.
- Do I need to keep my whites and champagnes in a separate wine cellar from my reds? Not at all! The storage conditions are similar; you simply need to chill your white wine or champagne before drinking it.
- Can I age any wine in my cellar? No, since many wines do not get better with age. Simply because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s valuable or still tastes amazing. Wines need to be “built” for aging, so to speak—so some research may be in order.
- I have wine bottles in different sizes. Will this be an issue? Absolutely not! You can store various bottle types and sizes on our wine racks. If you’re in need of a custom storage option, please let us know.
- What’s the best place to install my wine cellar? The options are vast! From your kitchen to dining room to basement, you have several choices. While there are some conditions that need to be met, we can mitigate these situations, allowing you to have a wine cellar installed virtually anywhere.
- What temperatures are best for serving wines? While the ideal temperature varies per wine (and there’s often a range of around 5-7 degrees), reds over 68 degrees are not as deep or complex and may have a somewhat unpleasant taste.
- Are there any kinds of wine I shouldn’t keep in my cellar? Not at all. All wines can be properly stored.
- Are there any issues with storing wines at a higher altitude? No. Testing has shown that altitude has little to no effect on your wines.
- What kind of services do you offer? We offer custom saunas, climate control systems, racking systems, cellar doors and wine cellar designs. No matter which of our solutions you choose, all our services are 100% customized to your needs, preferences, and budget.
- What areas do you service? We service the Denver Metro and Colorado Front Range areas.
If you have any unanswered questions, call (303) 668-6532!
Why Choose Us?
- Over 20 Years of Experience
- Unique, Customized Solutions
- Outstanding Customer Service
- Expansive Line of Manufacturers
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