The storage of wine in a cellar is always going to affect how it ages. If you are thinking of designing one, it would be a good idea to understand some of the factors that influence this aging, so that you can then design a cellar that will actually turn out to be useful. Simply designing a cellar without understanding in detail the way the wine is supposed to be stored might work, but rarely does so. You should therefore try to find out some of the standards that are usually proposed in the storage of wines. Some of the most important of these include:
The position in which the bottles should be stored
If you have been to a cellar before, you might have noticed that the wine bottles are stored on their sides, rather than the right way up. Most people think that this is only for aesthetic effect, or to save space. However, this is important to keep the wine in contact with the cork. Remember, cork is an absorbent substance that has the potential to lose moisture to the environment. When this happens, it tends to contract, and this in turn means that a lot of air will be let into the bottle of wine. With time, this will result in the conversion of the wine into vinegar.
For this reason, when you are building a cellar, you should make sure that the wine racks are designed in such a manner that they allow the storage of the bottles on their sides. Some of the other tips you should keep in mind to get this right include making sure that the label on the bottle faces up, so that you can easily identify each bottle of wine and to also make sure that it does not get damaged.
The humidity of the cellar
The humidity in which the wines are stored is important in determining the way the wine ages. When there is too little humidity in the air, the cork to the wine bottles will start getting dehydrated, and they will then let in a lot of air into the bottle. The reaction between the air and the wine will gradually turn the wine into vinegar.
What does this mean for your cellar design? It basically means that you should put in place a few plans to ensure that the humidity within the facility will be kept within a particular range, preferably 50% to 80%. This can be achieved by installing a wine cellar cooler that has a humidity measuring functionality, so that you can keep an eye on the humidity within the cellar. Some people might opt to use regular air conditioners, but these may not give the same results as a dedicated cellar cooler.
Ultraviolet radiation such as from the sun has the effect of destabilizing otherwise stable organic compounds in the wine. These include tannins that are responsible for contributing to the wine’s flavor and structure. As you can imagine, the degradation of such products will result in a wine that will have either a flat or unpleasant taste. This effect is usually more profound when you have wine stored in clear bottles which let in a lot of light.
How does this guide your cellar design? It basically means that when doing the design, you should aim to shut out any natural light from the outside. This means having to block the windows if there are any in the cellar. This also contributes to keeping the cellar cool, so it will help cut down on the cost of cooling.
The position of the cellar has a huge influence on the quality of the wine you keep stored in it. Some of the positions that are favored by many people include under the staircase, where it’s easier to maintain a stable temperature. Most authorities also advise that you should not store the wines next to an outside wall. This might result in overheating of the wines especially during the summer.
This then means that when you are thinking of installing a cellar, you should keep in mind that there are some areas where it would not be wise to install one. The best way to tell is by consulting a professional who has a lot of experience in cellar construction. They are likely to identify the best places to install one, and this will reduce the chances of ending up with damaged wine.
When all is said and done, the quality of the wine you store in the cellar will be mostly determined by the suitability of the cellar to accommodate the wine. The above are some of the things you might need to keep in mind in order to construct a cellar that will be worth it. The most important thing to remember is that when designing it, you should figure out what wine needs in order to age properly, and then use this as the basis for your decisions.