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Why be concerned about humidity in a wine cellar?

Much of the concern over humidity has to do with wine corks. if the wine corks dry out, it can compromise the seal and prematurely age the wine by letting air into the bottle. Even if the seal remains unbroken, opening a bottle with a dried out cork makes it difficult to open the wine and you usually end up with cork in your wine. If the majority of your wines use really cork, then humidity should be monitored and controlled. Plastic, metal, glass and other closures aren’t impacted by humidity.

Cork is a natural product and will deteriorate with time. While the bottom of the cork is in contact with the wine, the top of the cork is exposed to the air and is impacted by the conditions of the air around it. If the air is too dry, the top of the cork will dry out, shrink, crack and let air to come into contact with the wine. The damage won’t happen immediately but over time, it will negatively impact the wine’s quality. High humidity levels will help keep the cork from drying out.

What is the ideal humidity level for a wine room?

Relative humidity levels should range between 50 and 70 percent. Anything below 50% will dry the cork out and risk the integrity of the wine.

How can you control humidity in a wine cellar?

Humidity and temperature in a wine room can be controlled by climate control systems. Climate control is a critical aspect of any wine cellar. Maintaining the correct temperature and humidity level in a cellar will preserve a wine collection until it has reached its optimum age for consumption. Companies offering climate control systems offer several options based on customer needs and the design of the wine cellar.

What are the different types of climate control options out there?

Climate control is an extremely important part of any wine cellar design. Since there are several options to choose from when it comes to wine room cooling systems, it’s important to understand the role a climate control system plays, what the functionalities are, and why someone would choose a cooled vs. passive wine cellar for their wine room. The ideal relative humidity in a cellar is 50 to 70 percent.

This high humidity helps keep moisture inside the wine bottle, rather than allowing it to eventually travel into the cork and ultimately evaporate. Temperatures too hot, too cold (or fluctuating greatly) are reasons for climate control, as well as too much, or a lack of, humidity. This is where climate control comes in, and how different options function.

A ducted system is completely self-contained and flexible, and are among the most versatile cooling systems on the market. Their design allows for easy installation and maintenance while providing optimal temperature and humidity control. A split system provides superb air distribution and temperature/humidity control for optimal conditioning. Perfect for small to mid-sized cellars, through the wall systems offer exceptional air flow and maintains optimal temperature and humidity.

For those simply seeking humidity without temperature control, humidifiers are available for ducted and ducted split systems as either integrated or freestanding units.

How can you choose which humidity control option is right for your wine cellar?

To get the best results for your wine cellar and keep the humidity level optimal, it’s best to contact a wine cellar professional to provide recommendations on the type of climate control system that’s right for you.

Humidity can be a friend or an enemy to a wine collection. Understanding wine cellar humidity and the importance of climate control will protect your wine collection for years to come.

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