Selecting the proper cooling unit is the most important decision you will make when building a new wine cellar. You need to select the right cooling unit to ensure your wine collection is protected and stored to age properly. There are many things to consider when selecting the right cooling unit, but doing your research and calculations before you make the decision will give you peace of mind and save you a lot of headache in the long run. Keeping the right temperature and humidity in the wine cellar is important, but there are many other factors that need to be considered.
Through our almost 30 years of building Wine Cellars, we have found 7 critical elements to consider when selecting the right cooling unit for your Wine Cellar.
7 Critical Elements to Consider when Selecting a Cooling Unit for your Wine Cellar
Wine Cellar Temperature
What temperature are you planning to store your collection at? Proper cellaring temperatures can be a contentious debate among Sommeliers. Opinions on proper Wine Cellar temperature may vary, but with 25 years of hands on experience and practical knowledge building Wine Cellars, we have perfected the art. We recommend storing your wine collection at 58 degrees for optimal aging and cooling unit efficiency. But ultimately, the temperature you store your collection at is up to you. Whatever temperature you choose, the most important thing is that you keep it consistent. Temperature variations negatively affect Wine’s aging process and will spoil a good vintage. Your preferred Wine Cellar temperature will affect the size of Cooling unit required to protect your collection.
Humidity is an important factor that needs to be considered when selecting the right cooling unit for your Wine Cellar. Cooling units that are constantly running in a Wine Cellar can dry out the air and lower the humidity level, which will dry out your corks. Keeping the humidity of your wine cellar regulated, at least at 50%, is critical to preserving your collection. While humidity is necessary, too much humidity can cause mold and label peeling, which will ruin your collection. Depending on the ambient climate in your area, you may need to add or remove humidity from your Wine Cellar. Climates like Arizona will need humidity added to the Cellar, while climates like Florida may need humidity removed. Either way, humidity is a critical factor that needs to be considered when selecting the proper cooling unit for your Wine Cellar.
Do you know what is required to properly insulate your Wine Cellar? The insulation you use will make a huge impact on the workload your cooling unit has. A Wine Cellar requires specialized insulation, different than that in the rest of your home. A poorly insulated room will keep your cooling unit running more often, which can cause premature wear. The type and thickness of insulation you use for your Wine Cellar will make a big difference in the size of cooling unit you need.
Will the lighting in your Wine Cellar be on all the time or only when you are in it? Having the lights on constantly or only having them on when you’re in your Wine Cellar will have an effect on temperature, which will impact the amount of work your cooling unit needs to do. What type of lighting are you planning to use? LED lighting produces a fraction of the heat that traditional lighting options do. Selecting the right lighting is important to avoid unnecessarily heating your wine cellar and creating extra work for your cooling unit. Planning and selecting your lighting is an important decision to make before selecting the proper cooling unit to get the job done.
Door Uses per Day
How many times a day are you going to be entering your wine cellar? Will you be accessing your collection once a day or multiple times throughout the day? This is an important factor to consider when you’re selecting your cooling unit. If you’re only entering your Wine Cellar an average of less than once a day, your cooling unit won’t have to work as hard as it would if you were in a restaurant pulling multiple bottles at different times throughout the day. Thinking about how often you will be accessing your Wine Cellar is an important factor to consider when selecting the right cooling unit for your needs.
Number of Entrances
How many doors are you planning to have in your cellar? Is the door glass or solid wood? Are you planning to build a wine wall with multiple glass doors or a traditional wine cellar with one wooden door? The less openings you have, the better the air lock on your wine cellar will be. A wood door will give your Wine Cellar a tighter seal than glass, but with the right tolerances, glass can provide a great seal while allowing you to admire your collection from outside your Cellar. The number of entrances and type of door you choose will make an impact on the size of the cooling unit required to keep your wine cellar temperature regulated.
How often are you going to be removing and adding bottles from your collection? Frequently changing out the bottles in your collection will bring heat into your Wine Cellar and require your cooling unit to work to bring the newly added bottles to proper temperature. If the wine cellar is in your home, it might be an average of 5 new bottles a week. If you're building a Wine Cellar in a restaurant, it might be an average of 30 bottles per day. These bottle rotations will require very different cooling units, making it an important factor to consider when selecting the right cooling unit for your Wine Cellar.