How Temperature Affects Wine

We take expertise in wine cellar temperatures to a whole new degree.

shutterstock_138642290Maintaining the ideal temperature in your wine cellar is critical to the preservation of your collection. Temperature change is hard on a bottle of wine. If the temperature consistently fluctuates up or down several degrees, your wines will be compromised and may age prematurely. The reason for this deterioration in quality is due to contraction and expansion. As the temperature in a bottle rises, the wine inside expands more so than the glass, causing pressure in the bottle. This pressure will cause a small amount of the wine’s aroma to slowly escape through the cork. The reverse happens when the bottle is cooled back down, thus causing air to be sucked back in through the cork. The result is a wine’s good aroma is being exchanged with bad, damaging air. When this happens on a continual bases, there is usually a detectable change for the worse. Ideal temperature for wine storage is 55°F to 57°F (12°C to 14°C) with an average 60% relative humidity.

There are several important factors related to temperature to consider when choosing a cooling system.

dried out wine bottle cork

Low humidity will cause corks to dry out resulting in loss of liquid and possible degradation of the wine.

  • Quality should be a primary consideration when purchasing a wine cooling system.
“A cheap initial price will soon be forgotten if the wine cellar cooling system fails and stresses your wine.”
Michael Wetzel, President and CEO
Wine Guardian
  • Be sure the unit you are buying is rated for wine cellar use, not household use. Household air conditioners cool the air by, in part, removing water from the air stream. Wine cellar cooling systems also remove water from the air, but by design they remove much less, keeping in mind that the ideal humidity level should be around 60% relative humidity.
  • A wall-mounted thermostat with a range of plus or minus one degree is ideal.
  • Cellars subject to ambient temperatures below 55°F (13°C) should be protected by a heating coil. The best system is one where the heating is integrated into the cooling unit and works on the same thermostat.