By Christ Ooper
We all know that wine needs to be cellared correctly so that it matures as the winemaker intended. The problem is that many cellars are built without the proper insulation, equipment or technical knowledge needed to do the job properly.
So, what are the biggest mistakes people make when building a cellar?
Mistake number 1 – Assuming underground cellars will be cool all year round
The mere mention of an underground wine cellar conjures up images of the wine ‘caves’ of Europe. These traditional cellars are fully subterranean and are often meters under the earth. This is not the case with most modern underground cellars.
Many people assume that underground cellars are naturally cool. In reality, the opposite is often true. In summer, and especially if the the cellar has a concrete ceiling, these spaces can become ‘hot boxes’ and the result is cooked wine. These cellars then become cooler in the winter months, and it is this variation in temperature that is detrimental to wine.
Mistake number 2 – Not using correct/any climate control equipment
Installing a conventional air conditioner in your cellar is a major mistake. Air conditioners won’t consistently keep the temperature low enough and they don’t even address humidity issues. Ideal cellaring temperature for all wine is 14 degrees, plus or minus one degree, whilst humidity needs to be between 65% and 75%. If air humidity is too low, this inevitably leads to corks drying out, letting in air and oxidising the wine. If air humidity is too high, you get label mould. Needless to say, storing wine in a cellar without any type of climate control equipment comes at a great risk.
The solution here is to install proper climate controlled equipment like a cellar conditioner that can maintain the low temperature and high humidity required to cellar wine correctly.
Mistake number 3 – Not insulating your cellar correctly
Too often cellars are poorly insulated, or simply aren’t insulated at all. A cellar must be properly insulated with the right type of material. This allows the cellar conditioner to function efficiently, therefore reducing the amount of energy used. Insulating is easy and inexpensive if installed at the beginning of construction, but can be very costly if it has to be corrected or added later.
Mistake number 4 – Poor choice of door
Another common mistake is when the cellar door is chosen simply for its aesthetic appeal. The cellar door needs to be technically correct and made of the proper material to provide an air tight seal and good insulation; otherwise all the good work is lost. In saying this, the door should also be in keeping with the total look of the cellar and it is quite tricky to get all this right.
Mistake number 5 – Poor Wine Racking
A lot of people spend a lot of money on racking that looks great but it doesn’t function properly, isn’t user friendly and doesn’t take a wine collector’s changing needs into consideration. As a result, people become quite frustrated with their cellar.
Wine racking needs to have the right mix of storage solutions that cater to different bottle and case sizes as well as current and future wine buying styles. There are a myriad of wine racks available at various price points but there is a lot more to it than initially meets the eye. Getting the balance right between the appearance of the racking, convenience, space optimisation and budget is one of the key challenges when faced with selecting wine racking and you need to deal with someone who carries a broad range so that all these issues can be addressed.
There are other important issues such as wine friendly lighting, appropriate flooring, adequate airflow and ventilation, flood prevention, and other technical aspects but we’ve covered the top 5 above. The solution here is to get professional advice on your wine cellar. If you engage a professional early on in the project, you’ll overcome a lot of problems and have the dream cellar you’ve always wanted.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Christ_Ooper