Does A Wine Cellar Need Ventilation?

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For many serious wine collectors, having a wine cellar at home protects their wine investment. If you are planning to build a wine cellar at home, you may have wondered if it needs ventilation. We've researched the information that you need to know and what other factors you might have to consider by having a wine cellar.

As wine is very delicate and sensitive, a wine cellar requires proper ventilation for long-term storage. Wine needs to age and breathe properly, so a home wine cellar requires good ventilation that evenly distributes the air in your cellar to help maintain temperature and humidity.

It may sound a little bit complicated having a wine cellar at home, but it is a very wise investment for serious collectors. Read more as we talk more about wine cellar ventilation and other conditions you may encounter.

Large Wine Cellar with birch colored storage and tile floor. Does A Wine Cellar Need Ventilation

Ideal Conditions of a Wine Cellar

Historically, wine cellars are underground storage areas built to keep wines at their optimum quality. Mostly built from stone to provide consistent temperature and little exposure to UV light, wine cellars have changed to do the same through newer, more technologically advanced methods. This includes wine cellars built at home for the serious wine collector, as well as those built for wineries.

Bottles with wine in a modern wine vault

Wine cellars have a very specific set of conditions that need to be maintained in order to store wines. To ensure a proper aging process, wine bottles should be in a cool, humid, and calm environment. A properly ventilated wine cellar should help maintain these ideal conditions:

  • low light levels,
  • a temperature of around 55°F to 60°F,
  • relative humidity at around 50% to 70%,
  • must be in an area away from major appliances; away from heat and vibrations that could rattle the wine bottles,
  • an area that has good air quality.

With these ideal conditions, your wine cellar should be the perfect place to store your precious wine collections. The low temperature is perfect for aging, and the carefully controlled humidity will prevent the alcohol from evaporating in the air.

Best Ways to Ventilate Wine Cellars

When most homeowners and serious wine collectors decide to build a wine cellar for their homes, the most ideal location would be the basement, or on a separate space outside the home, partly underground. This is mainly due to the fact that a wine cellar should maintain a certain temperature and humidity, and these locations often meet those expectations.

It should be noted, however, that you can build your wine cellar anywhere as long as the ideal conditions are maintained.

Choosing the best cooling unit for your wine cellar is imperative in ensuring these conditions. Because of this, one of the things that is important to consider is your ventilation area. For wine cellars that are located in the basement, a cooling system can place the exhaust to vent towards an unused room.

For other locations, the room that your wine cellar should be venting into must not reach a temperature of over 100°F. The room should provide ample ventilation for your cooling system. This is to ensure that the heat that will be generated will not affect the temperature and humidity of the wine cellar itself.

Wine cellar basement in upscale home

Kinds of Wine Cellar Cooling Systems

As it has been mentioned before, wine should be kept in a set of ideal conditions. In order to meet these needs, one of the things a wine cellar should have would be a cooling system. These systems are built to maintain temperature and/or relative humidity.

There are different kinds of Wine Cellar Cooling Systems available. These are:

  1. Self-contained (non-ducted) Systems - these systems are great for small cellars, but will require a well-ventilated room that is bigger than your wine cellar. This is because the system needs a place to vent and exhaust to fan out warm air.
  2. Ductless Split Cooling Systems - this system is perfect for wine cellars that are bigger in capacity. It is worth knowing though, that the system needs a different solution to maintain relative humidity.
  3. Ducted Wine Cellar Cooling Systems - this system can cool even the biggest wine cellar, and it is also one of the most expensive ones out there. It does not require ventilation rooms for warm air as it will circulate through the ducts.

How Do You Build a Good Wine Cellar?

Building a wine cellar at home might sound like a good idea, but it does pose a few challenges in order to have one. Because of the very specific needs that a wine cellar requires, here are a few tips and ideas to ponder on in order to create a good wine cellar.

  • If you want to have a bare concrete floor, make sure to use a concrete sealant. If you are installing flooring of any kind, make sure to seal it well with grout. This is to ensure that your surfaces are locked tight from any excess moisture that may seep in due to the porous materials used for the floor.
  • Make sure to install insulation for your wine cellar. This is a very important requirement as your cooling system will need all the insulation it needs to maintain the necessary conditions.
  • Pick the best cooling system that is appropriate for your space. This is one of your biggest investments when building your wine cellar. The cooling system will be the heart of your space as it is the biggest piece of equipmet that will help you store your wines for their best quality.
  • Make sure that your cellar doors are airtight. Having an airtight room will also ensure energy efficiency for your wine cellar, as well as maintaining the recommended temperature.

What Important Equipment Should You Have in Wine Cellars?

Basement with wine bottles storage isolated no people

There are a few simple tools and equipment you must have in order to ensure that a wine cellar will be the perfect place to store your wine. Some of the items are small, but they pack a serious punch when it comes to maintaining wine cellar conditions.

Wine Racks

Obviously, you will need this first and foremost as wine cellars were primarily built to be storage for wine. For many serious wine collectors, wine racks (and the correct kind) are important, depending on the kind of bottle you are keeping. Make sure to choose the appropriate wine racks for the wines that you will be storing.

Hygrometer

As it had been discussed earlier, humidity is very important for a wine cellar. A good hygrometer would be one that is as close to accurate as possible. With the recent technologies available nowadays, you may be able to find smart hygrometers that you can link to your mobile phone to ensure that the humidity is still perfect.

Thermometer

If you are checking the humidity, then you might as well take note of the temperature. Pick a good thermometer for your wine cellar as wine aging is temperature dependent.

Keep an eye on your wine cellar's temperature and huidity level from the ease of your smartphone. Check out Govee WiFi hygrometer on Amazon.

Ladders

For wine cellars that are on the bigger side, you may want to consider having rolling ladders to help you reach that vintage wine on the top rack. Not only is it purposeful, but it also adds to the fine touches of your wine cellar.

Finishing touches

For homeowners who have the luxury of having a bigger space that goes beyond just storing wine, a few finishing touches on your wine cellar would look great. You may want to add seating and tables, or some nice lighting to further enhance the space.

Group of wine bottles on wine rack. Does A Wine Cellar Need Ventilation

Final Thoughts

Wine cellars are one of the best places to store the beautiful, vintage wines you may have in your collection. Having one at home may be a wise investment if you are serious about collecting, and building one is pretty easy as long as the ideal conditions are met.

As long as the wine cellar you've built is well-ventilated and has the appropriate equipment necessary to maintain temperature, your wines will be stored perfectly.

If you are looking to learn more about wine cellars for your home, we have a few articles that may interest you like:

Do Cellars Have Windows [Including Wine Cellars]

Basement Vs. Cellar—What Are The Differences In The US?

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