What are the ideal wine cellar conditions for wine storage?


Wine is a delicate, living form of heritage that is sensitive to its surroundings and must be treated with care. The ideal wine storage conditions must be established in a wine cellar to preserve the wine and allow it to age without causing any damage to the wine—which could result in losing everything.

What are the ideal wine cellar conditions for wine storage?

If you want to make sure that your wine ages properly in your wine cellar, every detail counts. Your bottles need a calm, cool and humid environment with a certain level of ventilation. These are the ideal wine storage conditions that should be observed in a wine cellar:

  • a temperature of approximately 12°C,
  • a relative humidity of between 60% and 70%,
  • good air quality,
  • low light levels,
  • perfect stability.

What is the ideal temperature for storing wine in a wine cellar?

The ideal wine storage temperature for a wine cellar is 12°C, which provides the right conditions to store or age your wines. White wines appreciate an ambient temperature of between 10°C and 12°C, while red wines prefer a slightly higher temperature, from 12°C to 14°C. As such, a temperature of 12°C provides the right balance to meet both needs.

If the cellar is too warm, your wine will age too quickly and lose many of its aromas and flavors. If the environment is too cold, however, the cellar will not provide the conditions needed for the wine to develop properly. A cool and almost constant temperature of around 12°C is therefore ideal.

Above all, sudden drops or increases in temperature should be avoided at all costs, as such drastic changes can prove fatal for your wine. Slight, gradual temperature fluctuations of a few degrees can be left to take their course in sync with the natural rhythm of the seasons. A thermometer is therefore an essential piece of kit for a wine cellar.

What is the ideal humidity level for storing wine in a wine cellar?

It is essential to maintain a constant humidity level in the air (relative humidity) of between 60% and 70% in a wine cellar. At higher levels, excessive humidity can increase the risk of fungus proliferation and the development of mold on the corks in your wine bottles. On the other hand, if the environment is too dry, the watertight seal of the cork may be seriously threatened, accelerating the aging of the wine. A hygrometer will allow you to measure and check the humidity level in your wine cellar.

How much light is best for storing wine in a wine cellar?

Tannins are sensitive to light, especially daylight. In a wine cellar, the lower the light levels, the better. Bottles should be stored in the dark most of the time. If you pay them a visit, take care to wake them up gently, using a soft light, rather than direct or aggressive lighting.

What are the ideal air quality conditions for storing wine in a wine cellar?

Wine needs to breathe. A wine cellar should be very lightly ventilated, with an even distribution of air, which will also help maintain the humidity and temperature of the cellar at steady levels. Beware of drafts, which are harmful to wine. A minimum level of ventilation is necessary, however, to renew the air, avoid odors developing and limit the risk of fungus proliferation.

Air quality is also important in a wine cellar. In fact, wine breathes through the pores of the cork stopper and is sensitive to strong smells. It is therefore important to avoid poor quality air, which can directly affect the taste of the wine in a bottle and ruin the fruit of years of patience.

How important is stillness in a wine cellar?

A bottle of wine needs to rest in a calm, still environment to ensure the preservation and natural development of its aromas. Stability from shaking or vibrations is one of the primary qualities of a good wine cellar. Your storage space must protect the bottles as much as possible from any external vibration sources. Even the slightest movement can cause the wine stress, which is why a wine cellar is designed to keep each bottle perfectly stable and immobile for long periods of time.

How do you create the best wine storage conditions in your wine cellar?

To make sure your wine cellar provides the best wine storage conditions, it is important to make the right decisions from the moment it is designed and fitted out. Every aspect of this unique space must be thought out and equipped according to best wine cellar practices in order to provide the ideal environment for your wine bottles to age to maturity. The expert craftsmen at L’Atelier du Vin will help you successfully personalize and install a tailor-made wine cellar.

What depth and location are best for a wine cellar?

The deeper a wine cellar is installed, the more it is protected from variations in temperature and humidity and vibrations coming from ground level and above. In terms of location, you should insulate your wine cellar as much as possible from other spaces.

This means installing it as far as possible from the garage, kitchen, pantry, boiler, laundry room, or any other potential source of heat, strong odors, vibrations, or other disturbances that could be harmful to your precious bottles. If your wine cellar is close to a space that could affect it, good insulation is recommended.

What is the best kind of flooring to use in a wine cellar?

On the floor of a wine cellar, a thick layer of gravel or river sand helps to maintain the ideal humidity and to absorb a maximum of vibrations coming from external sources—unlike the often recommended rammed earth. Floor coverings should also be avoided.

What kind of ventilation system is best for a wine cellar?

In order for a wine cellar to breathe properly, a few openings on the wall and in the door should be provided, with an air inlet and an outlet. If possible, it is best not to position the ventilation grilles opposite each other, to avoid creating a draft. The cellar door can be sealed with foam.

In addition, food items and other odorous products should not be stored in the wine cellar or in its immediate vicinity, in order to preserve the air quality of the environment and avoid the presence of odors. If the air in the wine storage space is too dry, a container of water can be placed on the floor, wet towels can be hung up, or a humidifier can be used to increase the humidity level.

What kind of lighting is best for a wine cellar?

Wall lighting, either dimmed or low-light, is preferable for a wine cellar. In addition, a flashlight can be provided at the entrance to move around the space. When no one is in the wine cellar, the wine rests and mature better in the dark, which is why it is important to create total darkness. No windows or openings to the outside are recommended, as tannins are very sensitive to daylight.

What kind of fittings should be installed in a wine cellar?

When storing wine, it is important to store the bottles horizontally, on shelves with racks. A real wine cabinet, specially designed for storing and aging wine bottles, will be your best investment. Any fittings or furniture used to store wine should be well stabilized on the floor, or even fixed, to prevent falls.

L’Architecture Interieure du Vin’s specialized modules in thermo-lacquered steel and solid hardwood will help you optimize your storage surface, whatever the size of your cellar. Bottles can be stored individually or in bulk, with additional storage space for glasses, wine tasting and wine cellar accessories, as well as bottle stands and panels to organize wines by region and grape variety.

If you want to design a custom-made wine cellar and create the best conditions for long-term wine storage, L’Architecture Interieure du Vin’s expert craftsmen will help you install a safe and secure, tailor-made wine cellar that is perfectly suited to storing your bottled treasures.