What is the Best Lighting for Wine Cellars?

Rosehill Wine Cellar Wine Cellar Display

Wine cellars by design are cold and dark places. So much help exists online to aid consumers with the cooling part, the dark feels left out.  There are significantly less resources available to guide would-be wine cellar design wizards on the art and science of perfectly illuminating their state-of-the-art wine storage space. Perhaps that’s why this blog post you’re reading now is so popular? And why we have taken the time to improve it, and stuff it full of our knowledge on this important topic.

When wine cellar lighting is expertly done, nobody notices

Nobody notices good lighting in a wine cellar because when it’s done right, it’s the wine itself that gets noticed. Wine cellar designers deploy special lights that are low intensity and generate low amounts of heat. They are positioned to make beautiful pools of illumination that are safe for the wine, aesthetically pleasing and well positioned for ease-of-use by cellar managers. Wine cellar lighting should be inspiring to visitors and maximize the ambiance around your vintages.

To begin a discussion on the best wine cellar lighting options let’s first name and explain the worst light sources.

beautifully illuminated wine cellar, ceiling LED

Daylight is the very worst light source for a wine cellar. Full spectrum sunlight is the worst element for fine wine. All wines need to be protected from the sun’s heat and the ultraviolet rays inside normal everyday sunlight.  Remember that many types of light bulbs also emit UV rays that can spoil wine.

Fluorescent light tubes are ugly and they pump out significant amounts of ultraviolet light waves which makes them terrible choices for wine cellars.

Incandescent and halogen light bulbs are too hot to be used in a small spaces that store wine.

Unless professionally sealed, tungsten pot lights invariable leak cool air through the tops of the pots!

Because any change in temperature in considered a threat, all lights installed in your custom wine cellar must therefore be as cool as possible, and as mentioned earlier totally free of ultraviolet rays (or have protective coating).  Such protective coatings include neutral density gels, paints and screens that will remove UV from light sources including daylight from windows.

Essential attributes of proper wine cellar lighting

Wall sconces, combined with LED track lighting is one of the most commonly employed methods of illuminating large wine cellars.  Low voltage LED spotlights work well as linear fixtures on a continuous track rail which is electrically charged as compared to the need of routing electrical wiring to individual light positions. Light Emitting Diodes set in track light fixtures have numerous advantages over tungsten or mono-filament pot lights.  For one thing it’s handy to have directional beams, but more important is how cool they are how energy efficient the modern units are today.  The lamps require less maintenance because they have longer lifespans, and they are relatively inexpensive.  For these reasons, and because they are safest for wine collections, they are now the most commonly used lighting fixture in both residential and commercial wine cellars.

LED track lighting option for wine cellars

track lighting for wine cellarsLight Emitting Diodes or LED lights are the very best choice for wine cellars. LEDs do not emit UV light, and the amount of heat they emit is minimal. Unlike fluorescent, halogen, and incandescent bulbs, LED lights stay cool. They are really the only best choice for wine cellars, since they provide excellent lighting without adding heat.

Upfront, LED lights cost more but they’re actually more economical when you consider they have a lifespan twenty five times longer than the lifespan of incandescent bulbs. Ultimately, LED lighting is very cost-effective. Not only are frequent replacement costs eliminated but your electricity bills are lower with LED lights, as well. They use 75% less energy than other bulbs. Since LED lights emit minimal heat, they don’t cause the wine cooling system to work harder and drive up the energy bill.

Backlighting bottle-filled shelves in wine cellars

Cool LED lighting is ideal for backlighting and illuminating wine cellar archways, corners, arches, wine racks, and presentation shelving. The atmosphere created by LED lights in your wine cellar can include a variety of moods, including relaxing, romantic, or dramatic vibes.

backlight wine cellar

Accent lights work for safety and style in dimly lit cellar spaces.

Tiny sconces and LED runway lights can be used to highlight wine racks, shelves, bottles, or even the architecture of your cellar storage room.  These can be hidden in the background and dressed into racking to add another layer of light and pinpoint visually interesting areas of the wine storage space.

Strip lights and tape lights can run along shelves and offer just enough illumination to help wine collectors read labels.  Puck lights can be used to spotlight individual bottles in the racks.

Don’t Forget To Turn The Lights Off!

Dimmer switches can be used, to adjust brightness, and outlet timers or light timers (the kind you put in the living room to fool crooks into thinking you’re home) can also be installed and made to turn lights off automatically when they’ve accidentally been left on by the last visitor.

Once you know that LED lighting is an unbeatable choice for illuminating wine cellars, only one question remains. How do you want to shine the LED lights in your wine cellar on you wine collection? There are many different options. Contact the wine cellar construction experts at Rosehill Wine Cellars, serving all of southern Ontario. We specialize in all-things-wine-cellar, including the installation of gorgeous lighting. Our recommendation is always…you guessed it: LED lights.