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How to Go About Buying a Wine Cellar Cooler

Feb 25, 2008
If you plant on keeping you wines for a number of years, either as an investment or to drink later, the temperature of your cellar is crucial. The ideal temperature is about 55F or 13C. A temperature a little above or below is fine however ideally you want to keep the temperature at a constant level; it should vary too much from day to day. In terms of humidity, you aim is 70%. Some basements natural provide the best storage conditions for your wine however if this is not the case with yours then you'll want to invest in some cooling equipment.

Simply putting your bottles of wine in a regular fridge you would have in your kitchen just isn't going to work. Fridges are designed to keep food fresh, not for storing wine for any great length of time. A cold and dry atmosphere is perfect for vegetables and meats but useless for your vintage wine collection.

There are some pieces of equipment you can buy to quickly make food cold to prevent it going off. They work by bombarding the food with cold air so that it achieves the temperature you want. There is a built-in thermostat so that when the food gets too cold the unit switches off. This process continues like this. This is OK for food but for wine you should avoid this sort of refrigeration at all costs.

Regular refrigeration units not only are too cold but they remove too moisture. Because wines don't emit any moisture they are then in an environment which is wholly unsuitable. This can cause cork shrinkage which in turn allows air to get inside the bottle. You certainly don't want that to happen as your wine will become oxidized and undrinkable.

Another thing you'll notice about fridges in the home is that they vibrate. If wine undergoes vibration the wine will be destroyed. Make sure you store wine somewhere that's vibration-free.

You might think that using a air con unit could work for cooling your wines but this should be avoided too. It can dry your wine corks causing oxidization by removing the humidity from the air. Simply turning your air con unit on and off throughout the day is not a clever idea because it causes wild fluctuation in temperature.

It's for the reasons above that you should stay well away from refrigerators and air conditioning units. They are simply not suitable for maintaining the perfect balance of temperature and humidity. This is why you should by a unit specifically for wine cellars.

These units are specifically designed to maintain the perfect temperature which will allow your wines to age in perfection. Instead of the air suddenly becoming cold, a wine cellar cooling unit will do this gently and slowly. Rather than sucking moisture out of the air, these units will preserve the perfect humidity. However if you live somewhere very dry such as Spain or Arizona then you might need to supplement humidification with a humidifier.

For the ultimate wine cellar cooling system choose the split air system. I have to warn you though that they are very expensive and cost a lot more money than standard cooling systems. The work by installing the unit outside and circulating the air to and from your cellar and they are very quiet. You can even have extras such as alarm units, humidifiers and dehumidifiers.

If you are really serious about building your own wine cellar then it pays to research all the different models of cooling units. You might be able to find something affordable just by shopping around.
About the Author
April Kerr often writes articles for food and wine site which also has articles relating to building a wine cellar and food and wine pairing.
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