Q&A / 

Wine Storage Systems

Wine Storage Systems
Tips on Wine Storage & Vapor Barriers

Wine consumption is growing. As the baby boomers age like a fine wine, they are recognizing that this time honored beverage deserves some serious attention. Consumed in moderation, it has proven health benefits and it can make one feel good at the same time. As for me, if I haven't eaten for 4 or 5 hours and have a glass or two of wine, I start to get very happy!

The Next Step

If you start to really get into wine tasting and collecting, then you need to treat the wines with the respect they deserve. Wine can spoil and degrade in quality if it is not pampered. The rules for wine storage are fairly simple: 55 - 58 degrees F and 55 -75% relative humidity, and darkness.

I think you can see why the old wine storage rooms were in the basements of castles or large European homes. These spaces create ideal wine storage conditions.

The trouble is, modern homes are built so that most basements are not cool and damp. You need to build an artificial room that simulates this atmosphere. This task is not hard if you are a serious do-it-yourselfer. If your skill level is beneath this, then you might want to have your wine storage room built professionally.

Humidity

Older wine and even many new ones use traditional cork stoppers. It is important for the cork to stay swollen to lock in the flavor and other fine qualities of the wine. Low humidity levels can shrink corks ever so slightly and cause a degradation of the wine. You can solve this problem by elevating the humidity within the wine storage room. This is accomplished any number of ways, but to do it right, you need humidification equipment that is sized properly and has excellent controls to maintain a constant level of humidity. Wine Cellar Innovations sells such equipment.

Vapor Barriers

The humidity created within the wine storage room wants to migrate to other parts of your house. Moisture levels this high can cause all sorts of problems and condensation if you are not careful.

You can stop the movement of this water vapor by installing a high performance vapor barrier on the warm side of the wine storage room. This means that the vapor barrier goes on the outside of the wall construction.

You can purchase these great vapor barriers at businesses that sell supplies to commercial concrete contractors. You will rarely find them at home centers or regular hardware stores. Two products that work well are:

Super Sampson
800-635-3456

Tu-Tuf
800-435-2621

Call these numbers to find a distributor near you.

Redwood

Consider using redwood for your wine storage system. Leave the redwood unfinished. Chemicals in urethane, stain and paint can travel through corks and ruin the flavor of wine!

Redwood will withstand the humid conditions within the wine storage room. It has natural wood preservatives within it.

Accessories

If you want a grand wine storage room, you can have it. Murals, custom tile, custom cabinetry, tables, wood carvings, etc. are all available. You can easily personalize your wine storage room and make it something you can really be proud of. Remember, drink in moderation!

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