A great glass of wine depends on a few factors: vintage, grape type, where the grapes are from, the wine-making process and storage. While the first four aspects are crucial, some neglect the importance of a proper storage facility. Without it, you might find yourself with an expensive, discolored bottle of vinegar. As wine making and tasting rooms gain international popularity, taking humidity control in wine storage facilities seriously goes a long way toward enhancing and preserving your inventory.
Wine Storage Basics
Young wines that age the best tend to have more pronounced tannins, a naturally occurring polyphenol found in grapes that makes wine taste dry. Incidentally, nebbiolo and cabernet sauvignon have great aging potential because of the intensity of their tannins. White wines with higher acidity levels, such as Rieslings, may also age well, but not as well as fortified wines. Because of their higher sugar content and firm structure, some dessert wines and port age elegantly.
In general, wines sold in supermarkets do not age well, as winemakers design them for early consumption. It is best to consume them within two or three years because they will not improve with time.
Temperature and humidity control are the two most important factors when storing wine. Many environments that are comfortable for humans (around 70°F with relative humidity levels of 20 to 30 percent) are not good for wine storage.
The best conditions are out of sunlight with temperatures between 52°F and 58°F. The temperature within a storage area should rarely fluctuate, as even differences as little as 3°F can promote premature development or cause damage, particularly to the cork. Cork is a type of wood that generally comes from cork oak trees. Like other types of wood, cork expands and contracts with temperature changes.
When cork expands and contracts, it lets air in and out of the wine bottle, causing the liquid inside to also expand and contract. When temperatures are too cool, corked bottles of wine pull in oxygen and odors from the air, oxidizing and damaging the wine.
Temperatures that are too hot or too cool also cause wines to lose their lively flavors.
Good relative humidity levels for a wine storage facility range between 55 and 85 percent. Each facility should base its levels on regional relative humidity levels. A facility in southern Florida, for example, might benefit the most from relative humidity levels at 60 percent, while a facility in Nevada might benefit from conditions that are more humid.
When relative humidity levels are too low, corks will dry out. As a result, they may crumble into the bottle of wine or allow too much oxygen to enter the bottle. When humidity levels are too high, corks and bottle labels are vulnerable to mold growth.
Humidity Control in Wine Storage Facilities
Trusting that the temperatures in a wine cellar or air-conditioned facility are good enough for preserving wines puts you and your customers at risk for unpleasant surprises. The best way to preserve the qualities and flavors of your products is to implement climate control measures using monitoring capabilities. These solutions combine HVAC and humidity control technologies with insulation, thermostats and sensors to maintain a constant environment, despite the weather outside. They also allow you to store wine in convenient places, which is beneficial if you don’t have a cellar or basement. Whether you store wine for your business or operate a wine storage facility for others, the monitors and alerts that come with humidity control solutions keep you in control at all times.
An aged bottle of wine should delight and create joyful memories. Polygon specializes in creating custom temperature and humidity control solutions that help preserve your inventory. If you only need the solutions for parts of the year, Polygon’s cost-effective rental program allows you to use the equipment only when you need it. Contact Polygon today to learn more and schedule a consultation.