If you're installing a personal wine cellar in your home, you may be asking yourself: what is a wine cellar conditioner and do I need one?
A wine cellar air conditioner is a cooling system designed to create the ideal conditions for preserving wine.
It monitors and controls the temperature and humidity in a wine cellar, using a refrigerant and an evaporator, which trade the warm air for cool air.
A stable temperature of 12–13 degrees is optimal for wine storage, while 50–70 per cent humidity is ideal for ageing wine. Without enough humidity, corks can crack and dry out, inviting oxygen into the bottle and oxidation to occur – turning the wine sour. On the flip side, if there is too much humidity in the cellar mould can form and contaminate the wine.
The ideal temperature for wine storage is 12–13 degrees.
Before selecting and installing a wine cellar conditioner, be sure to consider the location of the wine room, climate, insulation, and the size of your cellar. Standard air conditioners are not equipped to negate the temperatures and humidity that wines require.
And if your cellar is in the basement? Yes, you will still need a conditioner. The constant change in temperature – the extreme Australian summer and freezing winter – can be harmful to the wine.
Installing a conditioner allows you to build a custom cellar in almost any location in your house. Failing to include a wine cellar conditioner in any home cellar may result in precious wines, and years of investment in both time and money, being spoiled.
Image credit: Wine Australia.